Mark your calendars and make sure you have Thursday nights off, because ASU School of Art recently announced its Visiting Artist/Scholar programming for Spring 2015. Just like last year, the lectures will take place at ASU's Grant Street Studios near downtown Phoenix. Each lecture will take place on Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m., and the lineup this year is not to be missed. Last year brought us lectures from Amanda Ross-Ho, Matias Viegener, and Sarah Thornton, but this time around ASU's lecture series has a stronger focus on craft in contemporary art.
January 22: Ricardo Dominguez
Ricardo Dominguez is a co-founder of The Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT) and currently holds a position as Associate Professor at University of California at San Diego. The Transborder Immigrant Tool, a recent project with EDT, was a part of Covert Operations at SMoCA. The project is a GPS-based application on repurposed cell phones that aids those crossing the border through providing poetry and guiding them to water stations. The project addresses concerns that are certainly prevalent here in Arizona and offers a solution that disrupts normative ways of approaching the issue.
January 29: Panel Discussion on Afghan War Rugs: The Modern Art of Central Asia
Kicking things off is a panel discussion with Annemarie Sawkins Ph.D. that will certainly touch on craft's relationship with high art. Sawkins is co-curator of "Afghan War Rugs: The Modern Art of Central Asia," a traveling exhibition that will be on view at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art from January 24 through April 19. The rugs in the collection take the traditional imagery of Afghan rugs and update them with contemporary imagery that is more pressing, such as war and politics. Claire C. Carter, the curator of "Covert Operations," and Erika Lynne Hanson, Assistant Professor of Fibers and Socially-Engaged Practice at ASU, will be contributing to the discussion, as well. br>
February 5: LJ Roberts
In keeping with the spirit of craft, L.J. Roberts makes work that explores queer and trans politics, activism, and community. Craft itself is in a marginalized position in the art world, so Roberts' use of it provides it with even more strength and resilience. The evidence of the artist's hand and the meticulous nature of craft creates a sense of urgency, a feeling that we should be listening. Since completing their MFA in Fine Arts and MA in Visual and Critical Studies at California College of the Arts, they have exhibited nationally and internationally and have presented their scholarly work that bridges craft and queer theory at conferences and in publications.
March 5: Allison Smith
Allison Smith, Professor and Chair of the Sculpture department at California College of the Arts, is another artist whose work embraces craft culture. She creates performative sculptures and public events, exploring history and national identity through reenactment. Her exhibitions often function as a living history museum. She creates sites in which the public can reimagine a collective American history. Through working in such a way, Smith is queering history and its artifacts. Like the other artists in the lecture series, craft not only functions in a decorative sense, but it's also charged with social and political content.
February 26: Pepón Osorio
Community engagement is also a critical theme throughout this lecture series. Pepón Osorio is an artist that creates large scale installations that incorporate sculpture and video, but his goal is to give back to the community. His work as a social worker informs his desire to give back. His installations tell universal stories, but many of them come from his personal experiences in the community. For Badge of Honor pictured above, Osorio had met a lot of young people in the Newark area whose fathers were incarcerated and wanted to bring that into the work. Through using narratives that he encounters, Osorio creates work that is politically engaged and emotionally compelling.
March 19: Emily Jacir
Emily Jacir is an interdisciplinary artist that investigates issues surrounding translation and resistance, questioning the notion of the archive. One of her recent works that she presented at dOCUMENTA (13), ex libris (which translates to "from books"), is a collection of 178 photographs taken of books. These books are regarded as abandoned property at the Jewish National Library in West Jerusalem, but restitution of these books has yet to take place. Jacir's work is an attempt to keep these things from slipping away into history. In a way, she is creating a counter-archive, one that exists in place of what should already be in place. Unlike the other lectures in this series, Jacir's will be held at ASU Art Museum and begin at 5:30 p.m.
March 26: Dinh Q. Lê
Dinh Q. Lê is a Vietnamese-American artist that creates work using video, photography, and animation. His work explores Vietnam and its people, contrasting with American perceptions of them. In some works, Lê explores how his actual memory of his native country may be conflated with popular culture. In the woven photograph pictured above, images from iconic American films that took place in Vietnam weave through the Paramount logo. His work questions the ways in which memory and culture are remembered and presented.
April 2: Anne Rorimer
Last but certainly not least, influential curator and author, Anne Rorimer. Rorimer has served as curator of contemporary art at Albright Knox Gallery in Buffalo, NY and the Art Institute of Chicago. She wrote New Art in the 60s and 70s: Redefining Reality (2001) and most recently wrote Michael Asher Kunsthalle Bern 1992 (2012). The latter is an in-depth exploration of Michael Asher's 1992 installation in which he moved all of the building's radiators into the entry-way gallery, rerouting them with steel pipes to keep the hot water moving. Asher was a conceptual artist that was one of the founding fathers of site-specific work.
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As you can probably see, these visiting artists and scholars will be hard to come by again. Make sure to check them out while they're in your own city. If you do happen to go - be prepared for Q+A at the end so that there can be plenty of discussion.
For more information on these events, visit ASU School of Art's website.
Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version to reflect a date change for Allison Smith's lecture, originally scheduled for February 19, a location change for Emily Jacir's, and the addition of a previously unconfirmed lecture with Ricardo Dominguez.