The Artist As... Initiator
With Tara McDowell
24 August 2016
In the fourth lecture in our year-long series The Artist As… co-presented with Curatorial Practice at Monash Art Design and Architecture, Associate Professor Tara McDowell will focus on the ‘artist as initiator’.
Lately artists have initiated, and even aimed to sustain, organisations that could be called, or at least loosely resemble, NGOs, bakeries, multi-national corporations, schools, cinemas, magazines, archives, museums, biennials, and activist collectives. This newly heightened space of artistic activity comes on the heels of institutional critique, relational aesthetics, and social practice, and has been variously described as institutional activism (Ekaterina Degot), infrastructural activism (Terry Smith) and civic imagination (Okwui Enwezor). In Australia it’s long been called the artist-run initiative, or ARI. Artist-run initiatives, whether home-grown or further afield, develop from a spectrum of conditions ranging from urgency to expediency to friendship. They appear in communities with the most advanced, well-resourced infrastructure on offer, and those lacking basic institutional support for artists and audiences alike. This lecture addresses this phenomenon, and articulates some of its most diverse and generative case studies in the field.
Tara McDowell is Associate Professor and Director of Curatorial Practice at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. She was a curator of the 2015 Tbilisi Triennial, Senior Editor of The Exhibitionist, and has written for publications including Artforum, art-agenda, Filip, Mousse, and un Magazine. McDowell has held curatorial appointments at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. She holds a PhD in the History of Art from the University of California, Berkeley.