Michelle Kasprzak's views on contemporary art curating

Opportunity: Summer Seminars for Art Curators, Yerevan

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, March 2. 2011 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

Summer Seminars for Art Curators
Yerevan, Armenia
The Institutional and Ideological Operation of Transnational Art Event

The 1989 Fall of Berlin Wall did not only mark the collapse of the ideologically bipolar world order and the start of the triumphant rhetoric of global capitalism but also the leveling of contemporary art practices, representational mechanisms and institutional structures. The historical collapse of state socialism also designated the breakdown of an art system that relied on non-market driven consumption and circulation. The unofficial art practices heretofore evolving behind the Iron Curtain found a comfortable shelter in various transnational biennials, art festivals, fairs, collections and discursive events mushrooming since the 1990s.

The transnational art events are no longer exhibitions in a traditional sense of art representation, but these are global events that are also evolving in extra artistic domains that include discussions, educational programs, networking and so on. "Global" and mobile artists and curators, leaving the imprint of thousands of carbon traces, fly from Moscow to Venice, from Sao Paolo to Seoul and from Gyumri to Beirut in order to share the latest discursive vogue and the representational paradigm, the possible potential of radical political art as well as the latest curatorial stratagems and artistic debuts.

Then, what are those mechanisms, systems and ideologies of contemporary art representation that construct the global art event in the transnational framework? How does this framework impact certain local contexts? How is the aesthetical value being constructed and articulated through such events?

By proposing the above outlined framework, the 6th edition of the International Summer Seminars for Curators in Yerevan is initiating a series of seminars, lectures, discussions and public reading groups that aim at questioning the economic, political and ideological bases of constructing the global art event on one hand, and the participation of the contemporary art scene in Armenia in those events on the other hand.

Coinciding with the 54th Venice Biennial of 2011, where three Armenian curators are representing three artists, a series of events is aimed at addressing the role of global art events in reshaping Armenia’s cultural policy. We will refer to the history of Armenia's participation in the Biennial and its ideological and cultural-political implications. Hence, the most important issue that we would like to propose relates to the role of the curator, its purpose and function in relation both to the local scene and the ongoing international redefinitions of the curator within the framework of transnational art events.

The aim of the program is twofold: to discuss a timely issue in the international arena and at the same time address the experience of participation of the local context in transnational art events. Further, we would like to extend these questions to discuss issues related to the impact of these events on cultural policy and institutional politics in the field of contemporary art.

The program invites international and local curators, theorists, artists and cultural operators including those directly involved in the development of cultural policy to participate in the following events:

a. Lectures will be conducted by local and international theorists, who will present various aspects of economic, political, ideological and aesthetic analysis of transnational art events.

b. Seminar discussions intend to propose and discuss topics related to the general conceptual framework proposed by the organizers. By developing a clear framework of issues these discussions will touch upon both local and international institutional policies that are being developed in response to transnational art events. The participants are local artists, curators, critics, the participants of the graduate program of Art Criticism and Curatorial Studies as international participants of the Summer Seminars’ Program.

c. Reading sessions are dedicated to active reading and discussion of specific subject-related texts that will be conducted by Angela Harutyunyan. These sessions will be held in various public places in Yerevan and are to establish a direct link between the text and the natural-architectural environment. Readings will be literally localized. The participants include the students of the graduate program of Art Criticism and Curatorial Studies as international participants of the Summer Seminars’ Program.

To apply, please, send a CV, a Statement of Interest (approximately 1000 words) and a writing sample (a review, a curatorial statement or an art critical piece, approximately 1500-2000 words) to Angela Harutyunyan (angela.harutyunyan -at- and Taguhi Torosyan (tag.torosyan -at- by April 1st, 2011. AICA-Armenia does not provide grants to cover travel expenses.

However, limited grants to cover accommodation can be obtained on the basis of the merit of the application. We encourage you to apply for external funding sources. Participation is free of charge.

The program is supported by:
The Open Society Institute
Prince Claus Foundation
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