News

Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College presents Deviance Credits

April 7, 2014

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY, March 2014 The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) presents thirteen exhibitions and projects curated by second-year students in its graduate program in curatorial studies and contemporary art.  Brought together in one exhibition, each gallery presents innovative approaches to contemporary art and exhibition making with over 35 artists many of whom have created works specifically for the context of the Hessel Museum.  

The concept of deviance credits, developed by Ira Shor as part of a strategy for empowering educators, argues for “one foot firmly planted in the institution so that the other foot can deviate from the norm.” It proposes an essential hinge between a full investment in an institution and an opening of space for challenging or critical practices. The thesis projects organized by the CCS Bard class of 2014 are wide-ranging in their investments, but linked by a similar kind of negotiation with notions of institution in support of individual and collective commitments.

Deviance Credits will be on view from April 13 – May 25, 2014, with the opening reception taking place on Sunday, April 13th from 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Student-curated exhibitions and projects at CCS Bard are made possible with support from the Rebecca and Martin Eisenberg Student Exhibition Fund; the Mitzi and Warren Eisenberg Family Foundation; the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Charitable Foundation; the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation; the Board of Governors of the Center for Curatorial Studies; and by the Center’s Patrons, Supporters, and Friends.

The CCS Bard Galleries and Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College are open Thursday through Sunday from 11:00a.m. to 6:00 p.m. All CCS Bard exhibitions and public programs are free and open to the public. Limited free seating is available on a chartered bus from  New York City for the April 13 opening. Reservations are required; call +1 845-758-7598 or email ccs@bard.edu.

About the Center for Curatorial Studies
The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) was founded in 1990 as an exhibition and research center for the study of late twentieth-century and contemporary art and culture and to explore experimental approaches to the presentation of these topics and their impact on our world. Since 1994, the Center for Curatorial Studies and its graduate program have provided one of the world’s most forward thinking teaching and learning environments for the research and practice of contemporary art and curatorship. Broadly interdisciplinary, CCS Bard encourages students, faculty and researchers to question the critical and political dimension of art, its mediation and its social significance. CCS Bard cultivates innovative thinking, radical research and new ways to challenge our understanding of the social and civic values of the visual arts. CCS Bard provides an intensive educational program alongside its public events, exhibitions, and publications, which collectively explore the critical potential of the institutions and practices of exhibition-making. It is uniquely positioned within the larger Center’s tripartite resources, which include the internationally renowned CCS Bard Library and Archives and the Hessel Museum of Art, with its rich permanent collection. 

General information on the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College can be found on its website at: www.bard.edu/ccs.

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MEDIA CONTACTS:        

For further information, images or to arrange interviews, please contact:

BARD COLLEGE CONTACT:
Mark Primoff
Director of Communications
Tel: +1 845.758.7412      
Email: primoff@bard.edu                   

 

CCS BARD CONTACT:                                                       
Ramona Rosenberg                                                              
External Affairs Manager                                                                      
Tel: +1 (845) 758-7574                                                      
Email: rrosenberg@bard.edu 

 

Deviance Credits

April 13 – May 25, 2014

Hessel Musuem of Art and CCS Bard Galleries, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson

CCS BARD GRADUATE STUDENT CURATORIAL STATEMENTS: 

Turn on the bright lights
Artists: Kajsa Dahlberg, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, David Lamelas, Jason Mena, and Trevor Paglen
Curated by Carla Acevedo-Yates

Depending on how bright it is, a light in the dark can either help us see or completely blind us. And if darkness is conventionally understood to obscure vision, it also makes manifest spaces that cannot otherwise be represented. Drawing on these contradictions in the intricacies of seeing and not seeing, Turn on the bright lights examines how artists use abstraction as a conceptual device to materialize that which remains elusive, indeterminate, and invisible. The exhibition has two parts, emphasizing first an embodied experience of forms, where sculpture, photography, video, and painting speak to the complexities of seeing counter-spaces. It then leads to an increasingly dematerialized environment in which the perceptual limits of meaning are themselves rendered opaque, difficult, and abstract.

Abstraction in the visual arts has often been understood through the lens of the historical avant-garde and high modernism, whose utopian ideals of universality and humanism were intertwined with the totalizing ambitions of the social and political projects of Western modernity. By contrast, the artists in this exhibition deploy abstractions—such as indeterminate geographies, image negation, and the monochrome—as a formal strategy for advancing a nuanced understanding of power relations, a strategy of localized resistance.

The Third Idiom
Camel Collective, the TEACHABLE FILE, and Wendy Tronrud
Curated by Lindsey Berfond

*

Rule 1: Find a place you trust, and then, try trusting it for a while.

Rule 2 [general duties as a student]:

Pull everything out of your teacher.

Pull everything out of your fellow students.

Rule 3  [general duties as a teacher]:

Pull everything out of your students.

Rule 4:  Consider everything an experiment.

Rule 5:  Be Self-Disciplined.

This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

Rule 6: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make.

Rule 7: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something.

It’s the people who do all the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.

Rule 8:  Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.

Rule 9:  Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.

Rule 10: “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that?

By leaving plenty of room for x quantities.” John Cage

 

Corita Kent, Rules and Hints for Students and Teachers
Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules, 1967-68

*

Ira Shor uses the phrase “The Third Idiom” to describe a problem-posing education, in which a distinct third discourse dissolves the hierarchy between students and teachers. It’s a zone of transformation.

Proposition 1: Take critical pedagogy as a starting point.

Fluid channels of interference, intervention, and communication enable students, pupils, teachers, educational researchers, and artists to recalibrate established educational codes. A curriculum of resistance is nonetheless a curriculum.

Proposition 2: Make space in the museum for educators to experiment.

Camel Collective’s The Second World Congress of Free Artists is an installation, a facilitating stage, a collection of contingent scripts, a series distributed performances, a parody of art and pedagogy under neoliberalism. It’s a vision of what can be otherwise.

Proposition 3: Remain somewhere between an experience

and an object of study.

the TEACHABLE FILE is a catalog of experimental education initiatives and alternative art schools:

Proposition 4: Construct a resource for teaching

that is also a student of its users.

A gallery space is occupied as a site of experimentation and inquiry in education ideologies.

*

  

Managing Object Expectations
Artists: Nairy Baghramian, Zilla Leutenegger, Seth Price, Michael St. John, Chris Thorson, and Rosemarie Trockel
Curated by Sabrina Blaichman

Managing Object Expectations proposes an intersection of artistic craft and the influence of everyday objects. The artists represented have chosen to create everyday objects rather than nominate them from non-artistic fields of production. By employing strategies of re-contextualization or unexpected uses of form and material, the works open spaces for new thought processes and realities.  

The exhibition was inspired by the postwar reproduction of Marcel Duchamp’s readymades. In the 1960s a complete set of Duchamp’s readymades from the early twentieth century were reproduced under the management of the Italian gallerist, Arturo Schwartz and the direction of the artist himself. These facsimile reproductions were made by skilled craftsmen and subsequently masqueraded as industrial mass-produced objects in the exhibition and display of Duchamp’s work. 

While dominant histories of art have overlooked the handmade reiteration of the readymades, Managing Object Expectations explores the dichotomy between the artistic and productive labor they reveal within the context of more recent art practices. Works that engage questions of artistic labor, mass production and stereotypes of the hand crafted have been selected to mediate a re-reading of the readymade – in an attempt to recover the obscured relevance of both manual and conceptual skill in the history, reception and future of these objects.

Where The Streets Have No Name

Artists: Claudio Bueno, VALIE EXPORT, Milton Machado, and Teresa Margolles
Curated by Thiago Carrapatoso

“(…) The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past”
(Italo Calvino)

“As this wave from memories flows in, the city soaks it up like a sponge and expands. A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira’s past. The city, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.”
(IC)

The Nomad acts through permanent deterritorialisation.
The Nomad acts through permanent reterritorialisation.
The Nomad acts through permanent transgressions.
The Nomad acts through permanent incorporations.
The Nomad acts through negation and excess.
The Nomad acts through variation, expansion, conquest, capture and offshoots.”
(Milton Machado)

“The parallel between landscape and the mind, and between architecture and the mind, is mediated by the body because, on the one hand, the parallel has its origin in the external opposition between mind and body, and also because the body bears the stamp of other factors, just as the landscape does.”
(VALIE EXPORT)1

Where The Streets Have No Name proposes a utopian understanding of what would happen in a city without a mechanism of control.

 

1 Excerpts from: Italo Calvino. “Cities & Memory 3,” Invisible Cities. Harvest Book, 1974. pp. 10-11; Milton Machado. History of The Future. Cosac Naify, 2013. p. 50; Roswitha Mueller. Valie Export – fragments of the imagination. Indiana University Press. 1994. p. 104. 

Popcorn, Pepsi, Petabytes
Artists: Lynn Hershman Leeson, Aleksandra Domanović, Michele Abeles, with a soundtrack by Ugnius Gelguda & Maria Minerva
Curated by Neringa Černiauskaitė

Popcorn, Pepsi, Petabytes attempts to articulate and visualize the prevailing augmented reality. It brings together artists of different generations and disparate historical socio-political backgrounds to present partial yet urgent approaches and engagements with the new configuration of reality. These artists operate in the context of accelerated development of information technologies, where the irreversible process of the world’s digitization merges the “real” and the “virtual” as never before. The relationship between image and object, body and space, material and digital has been permanently transformed.

The show focuses on the feminist articulation of augmented reality, emphasizing its potential appreciable in the early and contemporary visions of women artists. It draws a trajectory from the multiplication of the physical body and identity in the 70’s, to the serial robotic body, finally to the flattening effect of the bodies and things experienced through the surfaces of the ubiquitous screens. Popcorn, Pepsi, Petabytes reveals the resistance to embalm time, and shows the participation of times from the past to the future in each other. In the selected works by Lynn Hershman Leeson, Aleksandra Domanović, and Michele Abeles the new configuration of reality is embraced as a transformative, and  liberating potential.

This exhibition can be seen as a snapshot. It captures and thus artificially freezes the transitional moment of today, it has intentionally fixed and limited angle; it is ready to be released back into circulation with other images for a potential accumulation, appropriation, or transformation.

 “NO NARRATIVE PRECEDED US”
A collaboration between Malene Dam, Bridget de Gersigny, and Ted Kerr

Malene – This is a starting-off point. I would love for you both to add your own ideas for readings and questions regarding artistic, curatorial, and political commitments linked to ideas around temporality.

Bridget – Do you wanna meet at a cool/open/quietish place in Bklyn or at your house? 

Ted – Is it okay to admit I am nervous? It has been a long time since I have been held accountable in this way. I was moved by questions you both asked today: How do we find things queerly? How can we understand our practice as a curatorial practice? Which leads me to ask: Even when I am “selfishly” learning, am I also learning with and for others? And how does this relate to accountability?

Bridget – So, I loved the idea, Malene, of the nature of the reading group providing both a challenge and possibly a route to redefine a curatorial methodology. I also liked what you said about cultural movements:  ”As much as a culture can move us forward it can also move us back.” This feels very ‘temporal,’ which I’m still figuring out. What happens when we are no longer outsiders, but exist somewhere between the fringe and the centre?

Malene – Something to keep in mind: what questions are staying with us, which are left behind, and are some resolved?

Bridget – Reading these emails on the phone, thinking about underground time, hands and proximity. This silly mail will only send when I reunite with the network.

“NO NARRATIVE PRECEDED US” is a continuation of the process described above. It borrows its title from Hilton Als’s White Girls.

The Development
Curated by Jocelyn Edens

The Development proposes to build an infrastructure for more adaptive, collaborative, and local models of arts-led economic development in the Hudson Valley.

CCS Bard is situated at the center of a corridor of arts districts along the Hudson River. This area has become increasingly composed of cities actively attracting artists and creative businesses. During the last decade, the economic base of urban sites within the largely rural Hudson Valley has shifted from manufacturing to cultural industries. The Development begins from one, hardly radical, proposition: the cultivation of arts districts often directly relates to social issues of displacement, class disparities, and cultural hierarchies. This project aims to assess the impact and direction of arts-led regeneration in the Hudson Valley.

The Development is comprised of three parts: an audio guide of the Hudson Valley available as a download from the Apple Store and Google Play; a video installation sited at CCS Bard by the artist collaborative eteam; and a community screening. Together, these components will make legible the socio-cultural landscape of cities in the Hudson Valley. The primary goal of The Development is to provide a platform for mapping sites, documenting stories, creating communal knowledge of a place, and ultimately advocating for a more sensitive approach to development.

Dark Velocity1
Curated by Victoria Ivanova

By accelerating networked capital, Dark Velocity1 mobilizes contemporary art’s essential processes of valuation and distribution not as external predatory forces that invade art’s autonomy but as resources for actively negotiating agency rather than merely reflecting upon it.

1 Courtesy of Gean Moreno

We owe each other everything
Artists include Malin Arnell, Kerry Downey, Jen Rosenblit, Joanna Seitz, and Constantina Zavitsanos
Organized by Andrew Kachel

We owe each other everything is an exhibition and research platform organized around concepts of queer labor. The project is situated within a broad alliance of radical projects in theory, art, and activism, borrowing its title from a passage in Stefano Harney and Fred Moten’s The Undercommons (2013). Projects of queer labor share a common aim: to unsettle repressive organizations of labor and sociality. As paradigms of creative economy seem increasingly at odds with interests of art workers, queer labor proposes alternate conceptions of work. To borrow again from The Undercommons, it is a labor “as necessary as it is unwelcome.”

During the course of the project, Malin Arnell will stage a performative work that inquires into the inevitability of labor entanglements. Her participation in the project continues an existing line of research, and is negotiated on terms that recognize and capitalize on precarious working conditions for artists. Kerry Downey and Joanna Seitz’s video installation To Do List (2012-2013) engages performance in a collaborative process of research and experiment—proposing a rethinking of how bodies move and interact with space and material, and the performative possibilities of work. Constantina Zavitsanos works with affect, economy, and personal histories, and seeks to resignify reproductive labor through artistic production. Zavitsanos will show a new sound and video piece.

A program of talks and workshops will be planned in collaboration with the artists in the exhibition, further developing the possible meanings, strategies, and effects of queer labor.

Is It Really Working?
A Physical Symposium on Materiality and Queer Practices/Strategies

Curated by Clara López Menéndez

Scene B

Some lives discuss forms of infectious responsibilities in rooms of preparation, for a professional existence in a neoliberal culture-life. They converge in a physical symposium between April 10 – April 14, 2013.

– Who? Who is talking about work?

– Look around you. Who is working right now? Who is not? If there are those who are not working, what exactly are they, or we, doing right now?

– Are you working?

– No… I don’t know.

– Should artists fight to get their activities defined as work to be able to justify a demand for economical security, a sense of community, pride and recognition, or should we define what we do as something else?                                                   

­– Is it still possible to deal with NY on a level of “local culture”, or is NY’s self-image too dependent on its international ties?

– A central paradox of any transformative criticism: its dreams are founded on a history of suffering, precariousness and violence.

– What would be the points of refusal to agree on in order to achieve a post-capitalist reality?

– For those alive to the fragility of power, there are many opportunities to turn situations of domination to advantages.

– Art is not outside politics. Politics is its production, its distribution, and its reception. Queer labor is the affective necessary work of queer desire. A vision of the indeterminacy of value.

– How to use that?

– We are all using ourselves as material in collaboration.

– We must make the intelligible appear against its emptiness and deny its necessity; truly challenge the question: what can be played?1

1This dialogue consists of textual excerpts from the following sources: YES! Association/Föreningen JA! [Act 5: Die Zyklische Gesellschaftsreise], Guerrilla Art Action Group [Action 46], Heather Love [Feeling Backward], Hito Steyerl [Politics of Art: Contemporary Art and the Transition to Post-Democracy], Meg  Wesling [Queer Value] and Michael Foucault [Friendship as a Way of Life].

HomeLand
Artist: Gian Maria Tosatti
Curated by Cloé Perrone

HomeLand is a commissioned project by artist Gian Maria Tosatti. The exhibition interrogates the functionality of institutions. Taking as a starting point 1950’s McCarthyism, the work explores the violent contradictions of American identity and society. It analyses the discrepancies of a country where privacy violations and nonobservance of human rights continue to be primary political issues.

The site is temporarily repurposed. Turned into a useless, uninhabited office, a deficient public sphere. As both overseer and overseen, the viewers is uniquely positioned to examine the thematic of freedom and surveillance. By modifying the previous perception and signification of the site, HomeLand aims to challenge the notion of our roles within institutions.

Tosatti, who mainly works with abandoned spaces, expands his practice with this project by manipulating the Hessel Museum of Art gallery itself. The neutrality of the half functioning office transports the viewers into another dimension, not quite identifiable. In the project, space materializes as a medium of confrontation between site and viewer. The installation operates as part of the public sphere, a space where subjects confront themselves and each other. Expanding upon—and perhaps ultimately leaving behind—the paradigm of institutional critique, HomeLand questions the role of institutions today and their relationship to individual subjects. 

And Now a Word from Our Sponsors
Artist: Matthew Barney
Curated by Nicola Ricciardi

What if we walked into an exhibition and looked at an art object keeping in mind not only the claim of the artist, but also the significance of the ties and nodes of its constitutive network of power and money? The modes of production of an artwork and the forces driving its placement in an exhibition, museum, or collection are often highly inter-connected; still, all the curators interviewed for this project have agreed that the presumably autonomous meaning of the work has to be detached from the economic and power dynamics behind its production and placement. These dynamics should arguably be kept behind closed doors, becoming hearsay, if not gossip. Curatorial practice plays an important role in keeping these two dimensions apart. But who benefits the most from this separation? Is it the work, the artist, or the institution? Is it the general public or, at the end of the day, is it neo-liberalism? And is it true that the detachment of capital from meaning has served art well? The project investigates these questions and testes a different mode of curatorial framing by examining the socio-economic ties underpinning Matthew Barney’s Cremaster 1: Red Lounge Manual, a set of three gelatin silver prints made in 1995 to finance the production of the second feature of The Cremaster Cycle (1994–2002).

TOM BURR. SCREEN
Curated by Javier Sánchez

Partial views of an abandoned drive-in. Winter pines and white poplars in the distance. Burrville. Deserted secondary roads. Eroded signs under grey, sagging clouds. Close-up. Broken limbs on waste ground. Deranged. Blue lights in labyrinthine corridors. White lights. Rusty orange-hued theater seatings. Smoked mirrors. Haunted spaces. Empty screens.                  

A fragmentary array of movie theater architectural tropes, cult films stills, performative environmental settings, and photographs of cinema personas, the exhibition focuses in cinema’s social space as a privileged subject in Tom Burrs’ sculptural model.

A fractured display of brooding narratives, it gathers a series of artworks ranging from the mid-1990s to the current day. Through a grouping of bulletin boards, folding screens, and stenciled texts, the exhibition presents different takes and detours of his expanded and duplicitous notion of sculpture. 

A collection of gloomy scenarios, Screen delves into both the historical and the dreamy or imaginary sides of cinematic architecture and atmospheres.