October 27, 2015

“Experience in and beyond the White Cube” symposium in conjunction with the exhibition Strange Pilgrims

The University of Texas at Austin

Charles Atlas, Institute for Turbulence Research (from Tornado Warning), 2008. Four-channel synchronized video projection, transparent screen, VMU, sound, dimensions variable, 6 minutes.*

Strange Pilgrims is an exhibition organized by The Contemporary Austin that spans multiple venues. Strange Pilgrims was curated by Heather Pesanti, Senior Curator at The Contemporary Austin.

The Visual Arts Center at The University of Texas at Austin hosts a symposium that brings together scholars, critics, faculty and students to discuss a variety of themes related to the multi-venue exhibition Strange Pilgrims. Esteemed speakers include Dorota Biczel, Kate Green, Andrea Lissoni, Heather Pesanti, Ann Reynolds, Michael Smith, Valerie Smith, Rachel Stuckey and Robin Kathleen Williams.

The symposium will be organized around the exhibition’s three thematic sections: “Environment & Place,” “Performance & Process,” and “Technology & Information.” This gathering provides a forum for viewers of the exhibition and scholars in the field to unpack and develop new ideas around the exhibiting and historicizing of time-based media and ephemeral art, and to discuss the redefinition of “experiential art” as work that is immersive, participatory, performative or kinetic.


Dorota Biczel is a PhD candidate in Art History at UT Austin. She serves as the Visual Art Center’s 2015–16 Curatorial Fellow and is an active member of the Center for Latin American Visual Studies. Her dissertation, funded in part by the Social Science Research Council, investigates artistic and architectural urban interventions and the construction of new publics in Lima, Peru during the late 1970s and 1980s.

Kate Green is a PhD candidate in Art History at UT Austin. She will defend her dissertation, titled “Encouraging Vito Acconci: Performing Conceptual Art c. 1970,” in spring 2016. Green received an MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and has also worked as a curator and educator at MoMA PS1, Dia Art Foundation and Artpace, among other museums.

Andrea Lissoni is Senior Curator for International Art (Film) at the Tate Modern in London. His research concerns the expansion of performance and moving image (experimental cinema, artist’s film and video) within the contemporary art field. He is currently implementing a program for film and live art for the Tanks at Tate Modern, which will be introduced in 2016.

Heather Pesanti is Senior Curator at The Contemporary Austin, where she curated Strange Pilgrims, as well as solo exhibitions of work by Marianne Vitale and Robert Therrien. In 2014, Pesanti was a visiting lecturer in the Viewpoint Series at The University of Texas at Austin. Before joining The Contemporary Austin, Pesanti was the Curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, where she organized Wish You Were Here: The Buffalo Avant-Garde in the 1970s.

Ann Reynolds is an associate professor at UT Austin. In her research and teaching, she focuses on 20th- and 21st-century art and visual culture in the United States and Europe. Her recent publications include essays on Joan Jonas for the 2015 Venice Biennale; the experience of remoteness in relation to Land Art (Centre Georges Pompidou, spring 2015); and Bob Fleischner, Jack Smith, and Ken Jacobs’ 1963 film Blonde Cobra (Criticism, spring 2014).

Michael Smith is a practicing artist and professor at UT Austin. Smith received a BA from Colorado College and attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York City. His works are in the permanent collections of the Walker Art Center; the Museum of Modern Art; Centre Georges Pompidou; and The Paley Center for Media, New York City.

Valerie Smith is currently teaching “Exhibition Histories, Europe and America, 1966 to the Present” at Barnard College, New York. She was Director of Visual Arts, Media, and Film at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin from 2008–12, initiating the ongoing project series, “Labor Berlin,” for foreign-born and Berlin-based artists. She has also curated the touring exhibition Juan Downey: The Invisible Architect (MIT, List Visual Arts Center).

Rachel Stuckey is an MFA candidate in Studio Art at UT Austin. Stuckey is a moving-image artist who works primarily with video and new media to make exploratory works on topics involving nature, technology and the occult. Stuckey programs for Experimental Response Cinema in Austin and runs the “Welcome to my Guest Room” Digital Residency Program at

Robin Kathleen Williams is a PhD candidate in Art History at UT Austin. She is currently writing a dissertation on Joan Jonas under the supervision of Ann Reynolds. Williams is the 2015–16 Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Latin American Art at the Blanton Museum of Art and was the 2013–14 Curatorial Fellow at the Visual Arts Center, where she curated the exhibition Andrew Lampert: Don’t Lose the Manual (2014).

Support for “Experience in and beyond the White Cube” comes from the Ford Foundation.


*Charles Atlas, Institute for Turbulence Research (from Tornado Warning), 2008. Four-channel synchronized video projection, transparent screen, VMU, sound, dimensions variable, 6 minutes. Installation view, Strange Pilgrims, organized by The Contemporary Austin, on view at the Visual Arts Center at The University of Texas at Austin, 2015. Artwork © Charles Atlas. Courtesy the artist; Luhring Augustine, New York; and Vilma Gold, London. Image © The Contemporary Austin. Courtesy The Contemporary Austin. Photo: Brian Fitzsimmons.


"Experience in and beyond the White Cube" symposium in conjunction with the exhibition Strange Pilgrims at The University of Texas at Austin

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