February 23, 2022

The Public Seminars

School of Visual Arts (SVA)

Left to right: Monica Narula & Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Terry Smith, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Maria Lind.

Presented by MA Curatorial Practice at School of Visual Arts.

The MA Curatorial Practice program at the School of Visual Arts is pleased to announce four special seminar sessions open to the world. The Public Seminars in the weeks ahead are the first in an ongoing series, bringing world-renowned artists, curators, and thinkers to a global audience for presentations and discussions. The seminars bring these leading voices to all, with the chance to attend online, listen to the speakers’ presentations, and then engage them directly in discussion during the 90 minutes of each seminar. The topics focus on artists and exhibition-making, while also extending into more wide-ranging subjects—a unique opportunity for a worldwide exchange of ideas. For each session, a reading will be available in advance for all those who register. All seminars are free to the public. Please click on the title of each seminar to register for it.

On February 24 at 12pm EST on Zoom, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta, founding members of the Delhi-based Raqs Media Collective, whose practice encompasses artistic production, curating, and publishing around the world, will present:

The Unknown as an Enchanted Limit 
Our thoughts will range across the terrain that stretches from the familiar to the estranged, where the unknown is an enchanted limit, asking for transgression, not as not an insult to the seeker of knowledge, but as an invitation. How can we engage with that invitation?

On March 9 at 12pm EST on Zoom, Terry Smith, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh and Professor in the Division of Philosophy, Art and Critical Theory at the European Graduate School, will present:

Iconomic Wars
In a famous essay, Walter Benjamin remarked that art’s history might be seen as a “working out” of an internal tension between “the artwork’s cult value and its exhibition value.” In 1935, film was the art form triggering this tension. Today, the question of value is all the more potent in every way, culturally, economically, politically, spiritually. In our multi-mediated image economy and with tensions of all kinds in society rising exponentially, the question of the iconomy is crucial. What does this mean for artists, curators, and all of us in making sense of the world and what is to be done?

On April 6 at 12pm EST on Zoom, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, the current director of Savvy Contemporary in Berlin and future director of Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, will present:

No Make Erreur
The 1986 pop song No make erreur, composed and performed by the Cameroonian musician Lapiro de Mbanga in 1986, was a dance floor sensation, and also offered biting criticism of the capitalist urge to exploit and appropriate. No doubt, the sensibility contributed to the singer’s imprisonment years later. The song, which is six minutes and 34 seconds long, seems today like a true and revealing anthem of the twentieth century, and opens a discussion about where our societies are today in their struggle but also in their joy—a sociopolitical Spannungsfeld, a field of voltage and strain.

On April 15 at 12pm EST on Zoom, Maria Lind, the Counsellor of Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of Sweden in Moscow and formerly director of the Testa konsthall, will present:

Art & Life in Critical Zones
Set in the Russian provincial capital of Izhevsk, Lind’s new exhibition, Art & Life in Critical Zones, homes in on artists whose practices break from the centuries-long idea that there is a split between nature and culture, signaling new ways to inhabit what French philosopher Bruno Latour calls "critical zones”—“the skin of the living earth” now at a moment of incredible fragility, calling out for extraordinary re-thinking of such things as land, landscape, territory, and homeland. 

The Public Seminars are organized by Steven Henry Madoff, Chair, MA Curatorial Practice, the School of Visual Arts, New York. To learn more about MA Curatorial Practice, now accepting applications for fall 2022, visit here for information.

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