|Rendering of the Fairfield International art school to open in a former Victorian primary school building in Suffolk. Photo: Fizzy Dawson Mayer.|
In the article, Spence makes an interesting point about the differences between the Gander and the Shawky approach: a key element of Shawky’s Independent Art Studio & Study Programme are the trips abroad "as the contemporary art scene is still limited in Egypt". Last year its participants worked as interns at the Sharjah Biennial and visited Documenta 13 in Germany, initiatives that helped them think “about the concept of the work rather than how they craft it. The discussions they have when they come back about what they have seen are really important", as Shawky explained.
At Gander's Fairfield International – read more about his plans in this Artforum '500 words' feature – there will be a sense of it being a retreat and its by the seaside, away from "all the art world distractions that don’t help an artist work". As Gander explains, “the two most valuable elements for artists are time and space with no need to earn money”. Here residents will be chosen according to both artistic excellence and financial needs, becoming "something between an art academy and a residency, entirely free to the  students who are also provided with a living stipend."
The article also highlights the common reasons for starting such projects: the failure of the public sector to provide a service [artistic education] and, secondly their sense that "artists who have enjoyed certain opportunities, have a duty to fill the gap".
This makes us think about which artistic-led educational model could be more applicable in a Spanish context – Shawky's "outwards" or Gander's "inwards"? A mixture of both? And in particular, which financial models could make it happen in a context with little philanthropic tradition or the luxury of a "sense of duty" to fill the very same gap Gander and Shawky talked about? Perhaps what we are really missing the most is an internal debate within the artistic community about if such models are desirable and if so, how can they be taken forward.
In summer 2011, we initiated Campus at the Espai Cultural Caja Madrid in Barcelona as a tuition-free, unaccredited, pilot art school. Four one-week working sessions were held during consecutive weeks, each under the guidance of international artists. This was a one-off temporary project (the Espai closed later in December 2012) which in part aimed to provoke such a debate in the context of the diminishing arts infrastructure of Barcelona and the upsurge in artists leaving the city to pursue careers abroad.
|Work space during week 1. Photo: Latitudes|
Having visited Glasgow and Dublin in recent months, two cities more-or-less comparable in size to Barcelona, and visited a wealth of artists, impressively well-equipped studio facilities, and numerous artist-run-spaces, one can clearly trace back the importance of generating a robust artistic community from a strong basis of residency-based models and art schools [Glasgow School of Art's Master in Fine Art being a particularly key example of this]. These feed directly back into the artistic capacity and ambition of the type of work being produced, as well as creating exchange, an influx of new blood, aweness of the work of international peers, and generating curatorial discourse.
Related reading on artist-run / self-organised art schools initiatives:
– In 2012, frieze featured 'New Schools' profiling artist-run art academies and education programmes The Silent University, The School of Global Art, The External Program, MASS Alexandria, SOMA in Mexico City and Islington Mill Art Academy.
– 2010 frieze also featured Piero Golia and Eric Wesley's The Mountain School of Art in Los Angeles.
– Most recently, David Batty of The Guardian [@David_Batty] wrote 'Alternative art schools: a threat to universities?' profiling the tuition-free OpenSchoolEast, which began last September in London, backed by c. £110,000 from the Barbican and Create London. In return for a year's free tuition and studio space, their 12 participants give one day a month of their time to community activities in the borough.
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Regretfully, we're not exactly off to a beach-and-palmtree holiday, just slowing down our inbox activity as well as our posts on this blog, Facebook and Twitter.
So happy holidays/felices vacaciones dear readers!
In 'Beyond Interface' Robin Dowden (Director of New Media Initiatives), Nate Solas (Senior New Media Developer) and Paul Schmelzer (Web Editor) of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, discuss the museum's new website, relaunched in December 2011 following a two-year conceptual reboot and complete redesign.
9 September 2012: Soon after publishing the first #OpenCurating interview, we participated in dOCUMENTA (13) series of readings based on their publications programme Readers' Circle: 100 Notes—100 Thoughts, for which we decided to read 'Lawrence Weiner IF IN FACT THERE IS A CONTEXT' (2011, Hatje Cantz). On the door steps of Fridericianum, we read Lawrence's book and played his voice reading some of the passages too. See our post on dOCUMENTA (13).
17 October 2012: Mariana Cánepa of Latitudes participates in the season of talks Cultural Professions: the Curator, at the Aula de Cultura CAM, in Murcia. An initiative of the curatorial collective 1er Escalón.
19–21 October 2012: Following on, we participated in a two-day meeting in Witte de With, Rotterdam, in preparation for Moderation(s), a year-long programme of residencies, performances, exhibitions, workshops and research initiated by Witte de With’s director Defne Ayas and Spring Workshop founder Mimi Brown, and presided over by artist, writer and curator Heman Chong.
6–9 November 2012: Trip to Munich, to see Haus der Kunst's 'Ends of the Earth – Land Art to 1974' exhibition and attend the opening of Haegue Yang's "Der Öffentlichkeit" commission.
28 November 2012: Third #OpenCurating interview online. 'Itinerarios transversales' is the interview with Sònia López and Anna Ramos of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). The new web of the museum, was launched at the beginning of 2012 and includes new features such as 'Recorridos' (Itineraries), a tool that allows visitors to create their own transversal itineraries selecting amongst the five thousand works that compose the MACBA Collection, besides videos, artist entries, podcasts, publications, amongst others. Read here (in Spanish) or here (in English).
5 December 2012: Fourth #OpenCurating interview up. 'Democratizando la sociedad informacional' analyses the practice of visual artist, art theorist and web activist Daniel G. Andújar. Though the use of irony, his work has questioned the use of new communicative technologies, the democratic and egalitarian promises these media prophesy, critisising their real yet hidden intentions to control users. Read here (in Spanish).
17 December 2013: Reached the equator with #OpenCurating. Five out of ten interviews are up and running. The fifth, 'books_expanded_field' is the interview with Badlands Unlimited, a New York-based publishing house whose motto is “books in an expanded field”. Its publications and editions in paper or digital forms (e-books for iPad or Kindle) acknowledge that “historical distinctions between books, files, and artworks are dissolving rapidly”. Read here (in English).
2 January 2013: Happy New Year and happy reading. Seventh #OpenCurating interview with Steven ten Thije, Research Curator at the Van Abbemuseum, in Eindhoven. In 'From One History to A Plurality of Histories', Latitudes conversed with the researcher from one the first public museums for contemporary art to be established in Europe. Under the directorship of Charles Esche since 2004, the museum has defined itself through “an experimental approach towards art’s role in society”, where “openness, hospitality and knowledge exchange are important”. Read here (in English).
7 January–11 February 2013: Curators-in-residency at Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, as part of the above mentioned 'Moderation(s)' programme. Our residency continued the artist-led tour format we initiated in Mexico City a few months earlier. Hong Kong-based artists Nadim Abbas, Yuk King Tan, Ho Sin Tung and Samson Young were invited to develop day-long itineraries, thus retelling the city and each participant’s artistic concerns through personal references and waypoints. More info and more photos of the four artist tours.
The residency included participating in the workshop "A Day at the Asia Art Archive" organised in collaboration with Spring Workshop and Witte de With, Rotterdam, on 31 January and concluded on February 2, with an Open Studios during which Latitudes and Heman Chong mantained a conversation about their experience in Hong Kong and their curatorial practice. [Related posts: Read the May 2013 interview between Christina Li and Latitudes here.]
During an interview and photo session for Ming Pao Weekly. Photo: Athena Wu.
19 February 2013: Public event of the #OpenCurating research at the Auditorium of MACBA, Barcelona. Latitudes in conversation with Yasmil Raymond, Curator of the Dia Art Foundation in New York. The conversation was later transcribed and published at the #7 of the series.
8–14 March 2013: Research trip in Dublin. Invited by Dublin City Council: The Arts Office, Latitudes visited art spaces, artists' studios and galleries in Dublin and Derry-Londonderry throughout the week. The diary included participating in the round table 'Within the public realm', alongside artist Sean Lynch and curator Aisling Prior at the Hugh Lane Dublin City Gallery [video of the talk here]; and a Curatorial talk at CCA Derry-Londonderry. During the week we were hosted by artists, curators and studio managers who took us around the Red Stables Studios; Temple Bar Gallery + Studios; Fire Station Artists' Studios; Green On Red Gallery; Kevin Kavanagh Gallery and the Project Arts Centre - Visual Arts.
18–22 April 2013: Attended the first International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art (IKT) congress, this year celebrated in Madrid. See more photos of the three-day event.
4 June 2013: In Madrid for an in conversation with New York-based artist Alejandro Cesarco on the occasion of his solo exhibition "La noche agranda su silencio”, Parra & Romero, Madrid.
As far as press coverage, Stephanie Cardon of Boston's Big Red & Shiny featured a profile in September 2012 titled 'Meanwhile in Barcelona: Latitudes and #OpenCurating'. In the Autumn issue of D'ARS, Italian writer Saul Marcadent mentioned the (out of print, unfortunately) publication "LAND, ART: A Cultural Ecology Handbook", Latitudes edited in 2006 in the context of other ecological-oriented projects. During our March visit to Dublin, we chatted with Anne Mullee about the (then ongoing) #OpenCurating research, the conversation was soon after published in the International section of the May-June 2013 issue of The Visual Artists' News Sheet. Also in May, writer and curator Christina Li, interviewed us for the Moderation(s) blog Witness to Moderation(s), an opportunity to look back at our January residency in Hong Kong.
In the past months, Max Andrews of Latitudes has published the following texts in frieze: 'Utopia is possible' (October 2012 issue); review of Julia Montilla's exhibition "El «cuadro» de la Calleja" at Espai 13, Fundació Miró; and forthcoming, an interview with Rotterdam-based artists Klaas van Gorkum and Iratxe Jaio also for frieze, as well as two texts on the 1979 documentary film 'The Secret Life of Plants' for the final issue of the Dutch journal Club Donny!
All photos: Latitudes (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption)
Invited by Dublin City Council: The Arts Office, Latitudes visited art spaces, artists' studios and galleries in Dublin and Derry-Londonderry throughout the week.
The schedule included visits to the Red Stables Studios; Temple Bar Gallery + Studios; Fire Station Artists' Studios; Green On Red Gallery; Kevin Kavanagh Gallery and Project Arts Centre - Visual Arts, as well as talks by Latitudes to students of the MA in Visual Arts Practices (MAVIS) (8 March, 3pm), and at the recently inaugurated CCA Derry~Londonderry (9 March, 7pm) as well as participation in the seminar "Within the Public Realm" at the Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane (12 March, 2–5pm), alongside curator Aisling Prior and the artist Sean Lynch.
9 March: After +4h bus ride north, we arrive at Centre for Contemporary Art in Derry–Londonderry for a talk that evening at 7pm.
View of CCA's galleries hosting the touring exhibition The Grand Domestic Revolution GOES ON (GDR), which in Derry-Londonderry "focuses on the contemporary working conditions of caregivers—primarily mothers and grandmothers—in the domestic sphere."
In the galleries, two of the London-based design collective Åbäke (Patrick Lacey, Benjamin Reichen, Kajsa Ståhl and Maki Suzuki), building a bed inspired by a 1970s design by Enzo Mari.
Sunday walk around the Bloody Sunday Memorial and the Bogside area of Derry-Londonderry.
Two of the murals around Bogside.
Ernesto Che Guevara Lynch mural in Derry-Londonderry's Bogside.
With Aileen and Johan at Kinnagoe Bay in Donegal, site of 1588 shipwreck of one of the Spanish Armada ships.
11 March: Back to our temporary home in Dublin's The Red Stables in St. Anne's Park.
A windswept North Bull Island looking towards the city.
12 March: Studio visits at Temple Bar Studios + Gallery in the heart of the city.
Setting up for the 2–5pm talk at The Hugh Lane Dublin City Gallery organised by MAVIS, The Hugh Lane and Dublin City Council.
After the seminar, artists Sean Lynch and Michele Horrigan took us to see the 'failed' Richard Serra nearby the Guiness factory.
Artist Maria Mc Kinney research on wheat weaving and straw craft techniques for her project 'Garlands'.
Karl Burke "wooden drawings" photos and renderings.
Crossing the Sean O'Casey bridge to begin a gallery tour including Green on Red Gallery, Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Project Arts Space and Temple Bar Studios + Gallery, with Dublin-based critic, curator and Senior Lecturer at the School of Irish, Celtic, Folklore & Linguistics, Caioimhin MacGiolla Leith.
Group show "Material Fact" at Green On Red Gallery included works by Silvia Bächli, Paul Doran, Dennis McNulty and Gerard Byrne (photographed), one of the more well-known Irish artists.
'Detached' group show at Project Arts Centre, guest curated by The Artists' Institute director and founder Anthony Huberman, recently appointed Director of CCA Wattis in San Francisco.
Alice Channer's "Amphibians" (left) and Sunah Choi's "Abdrucke (Imprints)", 2011-13 (wall)
Gathering plenty of material during studio visits, lunches, dinners and meetings.
14 March: Morning visit to the wondrous Natural History, a 1857 building displaying "animals from Ireland and overseas, also geological exhibits from a total collection of about 2 million scientific specimens".
Ground floor gallery dedicated to dedicated to "Irish animals, featuring giant deer skeletons and a variety of mammals, birds and fish".
The minimal education department are doing a great job at dynamising the nicknamed "Dead Zoo" or "Museum of Museums": The 5 year old giraffe has her own twitter account @SpotticusNH and they will soon host a "night at the museum" event where a few kids will be able to sleep (or try to) in the museum galleries.
The stunning upper gallery was "laid out in the 19th Century in a scientific arrangement showing animals by taxonomic group. This scheme demonstrated the diversity of animal life in an evolutionary sequence." Unfortunately the second and third floor balconies have been closed due to a safety review as they do not comply with current safety regulations, which impedes visitors from seeing, amongst many other things, the museum's unique collection of glass models manufactured in Dresden in the late 19th Century by the father-and-son team of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka.
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