Caring for Audience: How Does One Curate Access to the Arts? A Two-Part Roundtable Discussion Led by Curator Amanda Cachia

Caring for Audience: How Does One Curate Access to the Arts? 
A Two-Part Roundtable Discussion Led by Curator Amanda Cachia

Saturday, July 23, 2016, 4 to 8pm

4-5:30pm: From the Artists' Perspective
w/ Jason DaSilva, Carmen Papalia, and Sunaura Taylor

6:30-8pm: From the Curators' Perspective
w/ Lia Gangitano, Thomas J. Lax, and Sara Reisman

Sweet Gongs Vibrating , San Diego Art Institute, 2016, curated by Amanda Cachia.

Sweet Gongs Vibrating, San Diego Art Institute, 2016, curated by Amanda Cachia.

Why is it important for curators to think about disability aesthetics? In a two-part round-table discussion, moderator,  curator, and PhD candidate Amanda Cachia along with From the Artists' Perspective panelists Jason DaSilva, Carmen Papalia, Sunaura Taylor, and From the Curators' Perspective panelists Lia Gangitano, Thomas J. Lax, and Sara Reisman discussed the dynamics surrounding curatorial access in museums and galleries, with respect to policy, audience needs/interests, artist-curator relationships, and everyday physical and material concerns.


Amanda Cachia is currently completing her PhD in Art History, Theory & Criticism at the University of California, San Diego. Her dissertation focuses on contemporary art and the choreopolitics of space as informed by the disabled body. Cachia completed her second Masters degree in Visual & Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco in 2012, and received her first Masters in Creative Curating from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2001. Cachia held the position Director/Curator of the Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada from 2007-2010, and has curated approximately 40 exhibitions over the last fifteen years in various cities across the USA, England, Australia, and Canada. Her critical writing has been published in numerous exhibition catalogues and art journals including CAA ReviewsCanadian ArtArt Monthly Australia and On Curating, and peer-reviewed academic journals such as Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, Journal of Visual Art Practice, Museums and Social Issues, and The Senses and Society. Cachia has served as a Visiting Critic for the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in NYC, and as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works grant and Canada Council for the Arts. She also serves on the College Art Association's (CAA) Committee on Diversity Practices (2014-2017). In 2014, she was the recipient of the Irving K. Zola Award for Emerging Scholars in Disability Studies issued by the Society for Disability Studies (SDS).

From the Artists' Perspective Biographies

Jason DaSilva has been a prolific artist and filmmaker for more than 15 years. He has directed four short films (Olivia's PuzzleA Song for DanielTwins of Mankala, and First Steps) and two feature-length documentary films Lest We Forget and and When I Walk). Olivia's Puzzle premiered at the 2003 Sundance Festival and many of his films won awards. Three of his films have had national broadcasts on PBS, HBO, and CBC. He also produced Shocking and Awful, a film installation on the anti-Iraq War movement that was included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. Each one of these works advanced DaSilva's objective to give a voice to those on the periphery of society. In 2006, he earned his MFA in Applied Media Arts from Emily Carr University.  He recently produced and directed an Op-Doc (opinion documentary) for The New York Times called The Long Wait, published in January 2013. DaSilva's latest film, When I Walk, was an Official Selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and won Best Canadian Feature at HotDocs 2013. The film was the season opener for the PBS/POV 2014 season, and received an encore presentation in August 2015. When I Walk went on to win "Best Outstanding Informational Program - Long Form" at the 36th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards in New York City in 2015. DaSilva currently lives in Long Island City, Queens, New York where he works full time on the promotion of AXSMap and new film projects.

Canadian artist Carmen Papalia makes participatory, socially engaged projects on the topic of access as it relates to public space, the art institution and visual culture. In early 2015, Papalia served as Artist-in-Residence at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK and at the Model Contemporary Art Centre, Sligo, Ireland, where he assumed the role of Access Coordinator, making site specific interventions in response to the long history of disabling practices at each institution. He recently finished a project in collaboration with Sara Hendran and students from the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering to develop an acoustic mobility device. Papalia's work has been featured as part of exhibitions and engagements at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Craft and Folk Art Museum, CUE Art Foundation, Grand Central Art Center, Portland Art Museum, and Vancouver Art Gallery, among others.

Sunaura Taylor is an artist, writer and activist. Taylor's artworks have been exhibited at venues across the country, including the CUE Art Foundation, Smithsonian Institution, and Berkeley Art Museum. She is the recipient of numerous awards including a Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant and an Animals and Culture Grant. Her written work has been printed in various edited collections as well as in publications such as Monthly ReviewYes! MagazineAmerican Quarterlyand Qui Parle. Taylor worked with philosopher Judith Butler on Astra Taylor's film Examined Life (Zeitgeist 2008). Taylor holds an MFA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley. Her book Beasts of Burden, which explores the intersections of animal ethics and disability studies will be available Spring 2017 from The New Press. She is currently a PhD student in American Studies in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU.

From the Curators' Perspective Biographies 

In 2001, Lia Gangitano founded PARTICIPANT INC, a not-for-profit art space, presenting exhibitions by Virgil Marti, Charles Atlas, Kathe Burkhart, Michel Auder, Renée Green, and Greer Lankton, among others. As curator of Thread Waxing Space, NY, her exhibitions, screenings, and performances included Spectacular Optical (1998), Luther Price: Imitation of Life (1999), Børre Sæthre: Module for Mood (2000) and Sigalit Landau (2001). She is editor of Dead Flowers (2010) and the forthcoming anthology, The Alternative to What? Thread Waxing Space and the '90s. As associate curator, she co-curated Dress Codes (1993) and Boston School (1995) for The ICA, Boston, and edited New Histories (with Steven Nelson, 1997) and Boston School (1995). She has contributed to publications including Renée GreenEndless Dreams and Time-based StreamsLovett/CodagnoneWhitney Biennial 2006-Day for Night, and 2012 Whitney Biennial on Charles Atlas. As curatorial advisor, her exhibitions at MoMA PS1 included Lutz BacherMy Secret Life (2009). She currently teaches at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, NYU, and SVA. She is a Board Member of Primary Information and Dirty Looks; Advisory Board Member of the Outpost Cuts and Burns Residency Program and John Kelly Performance; and recipient of a Skowhegan Governors' Award for Outstanding Service to Artists and the inaugural White Columns/Shoot the Lobster Award. Thomas J. Lax was appointed Associate Curator of Media and Performance Art at the Museum of Modern Art in 2014. For the previous seven years, he worked at The Studio Museum in Harlem, where he organized over a dozen exhibitions as well as numerous screenings, performances and public programs. Lax is a faculty member at the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts; on the Advisory Committee Vera List Center for Arts and Politics; on the Arts Advisory Committee of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; a member of the Catalyst Circle at The Laundromat Project; and on the Advisory Board of Recess. He received his BA from Brown University in Africana Studies and Art/Semiotics, and an MA in Modern Art from Columbia University. In 2015, Lax was awarded the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement.

Sara Reisman is the Artistic Director of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, which is focused on supporting organizations whose activities bring art and social justice together through grant making to organizations and programming at The 8th Floor, where Reisman has curated several group exhibitions including Mobility and Its Discontents, Between History and the Body, When Artists Speak Truth..., and the current exhibition In the Power of Your Care. From 2008 until 2014, Reisman was the Director of New York City's Percent for Art program, which commissions permanent public artworks for newly constructed and renovated city-owned public spaces. Reisman managed more than 100 commissions including projects by Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Mary Mattingly, Tattfoo Tan, and Ohad Meromi, amongst others for civic sites like libraries, public schools, correctional facilities, streetscapes, and parks. Recent curatorial projects include solo exhibitions by artists Christopher K. Ho, Leslie Johnson, and Claudia Joskowicz at Forever & Today, Inc., I Serve Art for the Richard and Dolly Maass Gallery at SUNY Purchase, Condensations of the Social at Smack Mellon, and The Center of Everywhere at Queens Museum. She was the 2011 Critic-in-Residence at Art Omi, an international visual artist residency in upstate New York, and a 2013 Marica Vilcek Curatorial Fellow, awarded by the Foundation for a Civil Society.