Longitudes

Video of Latitudes' lecture "Curating in the Web of Life" at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow


Curating in the Web of Lifeis in a 1-hour-long lecture presented on November 7, 2019, at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, in the context of their group exhibition ‘The Coming World: Ecology as the New Politics 2030–2100. It is in English and a Q+A follows. You can also watch it with Russian translation (voice-over). 

 Latitudes during the lecture ‘Curating in the Web of Life’. Photo: Anton Donikov. © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.

In the lecture, Latitudes discuss how Modern art and modernist art history largely assented to the ontological and epistemological lie which imagined humanity and the humanities making their own history by themselves, while hiding the fact that their productions, relations, and economy were always teeming with biophysical processes. The increasing violence by which the limits of the planet, its feedback loops and tipping points, are forcing themselves into world events has profound consequences for how we narrate (art) history and curate exhibitions in the web of life.


Max Andrews of Latitudes during the lecture ‘Curating in the Web of Life’. Photo: Anton Donikov. © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.
Mariana Cánepa Luna of Latitudes during the lecture ‘Curating in the Web of Life’. Photo: Anton Donikov. © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.
 
New disciplines are broaching the separation between human activities and Earth systems – environmental law, political ecology, ecological economics, and so on. Likewise, what is at issue when artists, curators, exhibitions, and museums venture into new formations and shared rather than adjacent perspectives? What is at stake in a curatorial ecology, an environmental art history, or in integrating socio-natural processes into an institution’s account of itself, and so on? Turning to a world-systems approach as well as the insights of micro-history, Max Andrews & Mariana Cánepa Luna presented a series of curatorial and artistic perspectives on such questions, drawing from “uncomfortable objects” and “dishonest research” [1] across their exhibitions “4.543 billion. The matter of matter” ( CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux 2017–18), ‘Hemauer Keller: United Alternative Energies’ (Kunsthal Aarhus, 2011), “Greenwashing. Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities” (Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, 2008) and related projects such as the residency programme “Geologic Time” (Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, 2017).

[1] “Uncomfortable objects” is a notion borrowed from artist Mariana Castillo Deball, and “dishonest research” from artist Mercedes Azpilicueta.


Latitudes during the lecture ‘Curating in the Web of Life’. Photo: Anton Donikov. © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art

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Report: Trip to Chicago and Detroit in pictures, 18–25 September 2019

Good morning Chicago!

As we shared in our recent newsletter, in mid-September we had the opportunity to visit Chicago and Detroit, thanks to an invitation from Stephanie Cristello, Artistic Director of EXPO Chicago, who we met last year during the 2018 Amsterdam Art Weekend. As participants of the inaugural collaboration between EXPO CHICAGO and Red Bull Arts Detroit Global Curatorial Initiativea smaller selection of participants had the opportunity to extend their trip to Detroit (21-23 September), in an effort to foster dialogue with the greater Midwest.


18 September 2019: Visiting the Chicago Cultural Center (photo above), the main venue of ‘And Other Such Stories’ the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial curated by Yesomi Umolu, Sepake Angiama and Paulo Tavares. Personal highlights: works by Forensic Architecture, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Theaster Gates, Vincent Meessen, performances by Jimmy Robert, Alexandra Pirici, and the powerful collaboration between the Settler-Colonial City Project and the American Indian Centre. In the afternoon, we visited the Art Institute Chicago and attended a performance by Samson Young at the Chicago Symphony Center.


(Above and below) Museum of Oil— The American Rooms by Territorial Agency on display in the Chicago Cultural Center's Exhibit Hall.
(Above) Work by Oscar Tuazon.
(Above) Work by Clemens von Wedemeyer. 

(Above and below) Room with works by Theaster Gates and Vincent Meessen.
(Above) Works by Wendelien van Oldenborgh (left) and Do Ho Suh (right).
(Above) Movimento Sem Teto do Centro (MSTC) fights on behalf of families experiencing homelessness.
One of the examples of the impactful collaboration between the Settler-Colonial City Project and the American Indian Centre.

The American Indian Centre also contributed with a Land Acknowledgement.
 Performance ‘Descendance du nu (Chicago)’ by Jimmy Robert.

 ‘Re-collection’, 2018–ongoing, a performance by Alexandra Pirici situated in the Grand Army of the Republic Rotunda of the Chicago Cultural Center, a memorial to Civil War veterans.
(Above and three below) ‘In a Cloud, in a Wall, in a Chair: Six Modernist in Mexico at Midcentury’ at the Art Institute Chicago, exploring the impact Mexico had on the lives and artistic practices of Clara Porset, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Anni Albers, Ruth Asawa, Cynthia Sargent, and Sheila Hicks. 
Also at the Art Institute Chicago we were surprised to see that this work by Andrés Jaque on Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona pavilion that recently entered the collection. Can't help to think such work should have been acquired by a Spanish collection, not to mention a Barcelona collecting institution?
A great exhibition with very few photographs by Sara Deraedt at Art Institute Chicago. Since 2008 the artist has been photographing vacuum cleaners as she encounters them in places where they are sold. 
The Flax project started in 2012 by Dutch artist Christien Meindertsma.
Before Samson Young's performance and Q&A at the Chicago Symphony Center.

19 September 2019: Morning session at the Graham Foundation. But first, stop at their beautiful bookstore and their current show by Tatiana Bilbao. In the afternoon, we visited EXPO CHICAGO until we got fair exhaustion and later caught Abraham Cruzvillegas' impressive solo show at The Arts Club of Chicago.

Marking the commencement of the 2019 Curatorial Exchange and Curatorial Forum was a keynote lecture by Artistic Director Zoe Butt from The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre in Ho Chi Minh City.
Mid-morning tour around EXPO CHICAGO.

One of the best stands was this presentation by Brazilian gallery Bergamin & Gomide, an art and architecture atlas of modernist and contemporary Brazil. Curated by Sol Camacho.
“In/Situ” section curated by Jacob Fabricius (artistic director of the Kunsthal Aarhus in Denmark) around EXPO CHICAGO.

We caught ourselves in this picture by Casa Bosques browsing at books in the Index Art Book Fair. 
(Above and below) Solo show ‘The Ballad of Etc.’ by Abraham Cruzvillegas at The Arts Club of Chicago.

20 September 2019: On our last day in Chicago, we joined closed-door presentations by the  2019 Curatorial Exchange participants, moderated by Art Institute Dittmer Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Hendrik Folkerts (Above). Later we attended a lunch at EXPO CHICAGO, and in the afternoon took off with a couple of colleagues, to enjoy the impressive wealth of exhibition-centres the University of Chicago campus has to offer: the Logan Center, The Renaissance Society, the SMART Museum, the Oriental Institute, and the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society.

Above: Assemble and Duval Timothy in collaboration with Demond Melancon and the Material Institute, New Orleans, an exhibition at the Logan Center, The University of Chicago.
 (Above and below) LaToya Ruby Frazer's "The Last Cruze" at The Renaissance Society also in The University of Chicago campus. 
 (Above and two below) Michael Rakowitz's work in one of the galleries of the Oriental Institute also in The University of Chicago campus.
(Above and below) Frederick C. Robie House, aka The Robie House, a landmark building by Frank Lloyd Wright on 5757 S Woodlawn Ave, in the University of Chicago campus.
(Above) Exhibition by Martha Rosler at the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society (also in The University of Chicago campus) centred primarily on her interest in flowers, gardens, and related “green” motifs. 
(Above and two below) "Samson Young: Silver Moon or Golden Star, which will you buy of me?" at the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago campus.

University of Chicago campus.
In the evening, we attended the opening of the solo exhibition by Vienna-based artist Sarah Ortmeyer at the project space Chicago Manual Style, curated by Stephanie Cristello, artistic director of Expo Chicago. Latitudes collaborated with Ortmeyer in the 2011 exhibition ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs...’ at Meessen de Clercq, Brussels.

One of the outdoors installations at the MBAD African Bead Museum, Detroit.

21 September 2019: Upon arriving in Detroit in the afternoon, our local host Scott Campbell took us to visit the MBAD African Bead Museum, 18 outdoor installations using iron, rock, wood and mirrors by visual storyteller Olayami Dabls on the corner of Grand River and West Grand Blvd, Detroit. (above and three below)



22 September 2019: (Above and 8 photos below) Morning tour by Laura Mott, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art and Design, and curator of the exhibition ‘Landlord Colors: On Art, Economy, and Materiality’ at the Cranbrook Art Museum. "Materiality, a large-scale exhibition and public engagement series that brings together artworks from five international art scenes that have experienced economic and societal upheaval: Italy (the 1960s-80s), Korea (1970s-80s), Cuba (1990s–present), Greece (2009-present), Detroit, USA (1967-present). The exhibition showcases the work of more than 60 artists from a wide variety of backgrounds to highlight shared themes of ingenuity, resourcefulness, and resistance highlighting seminal historic works and new work from contemporary artists such as Reynier Leyva Novo, Zoë Paul, Kostis Velonis, Matthew Angelo Harrison, and Scott Hocking."

Matthew Angelo Harrison, ‘Dark Povera Part 1’, 2017.
Two chairs by Olayami Dabls of the Dabls’ MBAD African Bead Museum.

Afternoon visiting Red Bull Arts Detroit studio and gallery space. We are taken around their current show ‘Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying’ by the Red Bull Arts Detroit Curatorial Fellow Taraneh Fazeli.
Anders Ruhwald’s installation occupies an entire apartment in Detroit’s Eastern Market neighbourhood. 
In the afternoon we had time to squeeze in a visit to The Heidelberg Projectin the McDougall-Hunt neighbourhood on Detroit's east side. (Above and 10 below) Since 1986 artist Tyree Guyton (1955) has progressively transformed vacant houses and lots on Heidelberg street into one large outdoor installation. Guyton's "grotesque materialism" project is one of the most visited sites in Detroit, attracting 200,000 visitors annually.



23 September 2019: Morning studio visit with artist Matthew Angelo Harrison (no photos), and pm appointment with Executive Director Elysia Borowy-Reeder and current
Ford Curatorial Fellows Jova Lynne and Tiziana Baldenebro of The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, which was in between shows. MOCAD is the keeper of Mike Kelley's ‘Mobile Homestead’"located on the grounds of the museum, it is a full-scale replica of the home in which Kelley grew up: a single-story, ranch-style house in the Detroit suburb of Westland. Kelley, who died in Los Angeles in 2012, sought to ensure that the Mobile Homestead remain relevant to the cultural interests and concerns of its local communities. In that spirit, the home was designed with a detachable facade, allowing it to be driven to neighbourhoods throughout the city, offering public services during its travels."



The official programme finished and we had time to visit the Michigan building on 220 Bagley Avenue (above and two below) which was designed for Detroit philanthropist and movie theatre tycoon John H. Kunsky. It opened in August 1926 with the film "You Never Know Women" with Florence Vidor and Lowell Sherman, and could seat over 4,000 people who enjoyed a programme of five shows daily. It hosted live performances by The Marx Brothers, Betty Grable and Bob Hope, and many others. The theatre was built on the site of the small garage where automobile industrialist Henry Ford built his first automobile, the quadricycle (the garage was later disassembled and moved to The Henry Ford Museum in the nearby suburb of Dearborn). It closed in 1976 after operating as a nightclub named The Michigan Palace. In 1977 the building's owners paid $525,000 to gut the theatre and build a three-level, 160-space parking deck inside it. The site of Ford Motor's birthplace replaced by a movie theatre, reclaimed by the automobile.


Evening walk to see Canada on the other side of the river.

24 September 2019: (Above and below) On our last day, we visited the Detroit Institute of Arts, home to Diego Rivera murals and an impressive 19th and 20th Century collection. The "Detroit Industry" murals (1932-1933) were conceived by Diego Rivera (1886-1957) as a tribute to the city's manufacturing base and labour force of the 1930s. Rivera completed it in 11 months and was paid a 20,000 U$ fee. Rivera's murals show the automobile manufacturing process, Coaltulicue (the Aztec goddess of creation and war), the production of the 1932 Ford V-8, personnel involved in the industry as well as managers and Henry Ford, giving all of them equal stature.


Our last expedition was to John K. King Used & Rare Books on 901 W Lafayette Blvd, holding over a million books in stock. No computer search, just browsing.


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Founded in 2005 by Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna, Latitudes is a curatorial office based in Barcelona, Spain, that works internationally across contemporary art practices.

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2005—2019