June 25, 2019, 6:30–8pm

Artists at Work: Heather Brammeier and Suzanne Dittenber

Heather Brammeier will present Carry Weight, Hold Light, an examination of how form and content “marry the difficult with the impossible,” in both her artwork and the work of others. Brammeier will discuss how curiosity and play in her studio lead to acquiring an intimacy with physical materials that is essential to manipulating space and light in her practice.

Suzanne Dittenber will present her research on books as an area of investigation in contemporary art. She will also discuss her latest project Formed, Informed which consists of cast sculptures of books, as well as recent paintings of these objects that introduce an aspect of circularity and self-reflection.

This program is supported, in part, by Big Picture Peoria; Bradley University; Hartfield Foundation; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF); and University of North Carolina Asheville.


Participating Residents

June 18, 2019, 6:30-8pm

Curatorial Commitment and Responsibility: A Curator’s Roundtable

Panelists will include ISCP’s current curators in residence Christina Cuthbertson, Srajana Kaikini and Bárbara Perea Legorreta, moderated by Kari Conte, Director of Programs and Exhibitions, ISCP.

The work of a curator entails balancing multiple commitments to artists, artworks, institutions, audiences and funders. In constant negotiation with stakeholders, curators must take many positions into account without compromising their own. Thus, not surprisingly, questions of ethics have risen to the forefront of curatorial practice.

From the politics of equal representation in exhibition making to issues of artistic censorship and the integrity of funding sources, this roundtable will explore some recent ethical debates about the responsibility of curators in the art ecosystem. The participants will draw upon a diverse range of experiences, with Maura Reilly’s recent book Curatorial Activism: Towards an Ethics of Curating as well as the 2019 Whitney Biennial as starting points.

Christina Cuthbertson is an independent curator and writer based in Lethbridge, Canada in Treaty 7 Territory. She was a former curator at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and was a curator-in-residence at the Banff International Curatorial Institute in 2018. Her work centers on notions of affect and embodiment, as they come to bear on relationships between institution, experience, and transference of knowledge. Her most recent work deals with the history and legacy of nuclear culture in the work of Canadian artist Mary Kavanagh. The exhibition, Mary Kavanagh: Daughters of Uranium investigates the nuclear, in terms of armament, resource extraction, energy, and medicine, from the perspectives of the sentient body and intergenerational trauma. Working within and beyond the boundaries of the art institution, her projects have taken on many forms including exhibitions, interdisciplinary collaborations, performances, workshops, sensory experiences, and artistic interventions.

Srajana Kaikini is a writer, researcher and curator. Her doctoral research, Arrangement of Objects. An Ontology of Contemporary Curatorial Practice, engages with an ontological study of contemporary curatorial practice through the philosophy of relations. She was a participant in de Appel Art Centre’s Curatorial Programme in 2012-13, is the recipient of 2013 FICA Research Fellowship and was Curator at KK Hebbar Gallery and Arts Centre in 2015-2019. Kaikini’s recent projects include Backstage of Biology, 2019, at the archives of the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, and Vectors of Kinship, 2016, at the 11th Shanghai Biennale.

Bárbara Perea Legorreta is an independent Mexico City-based curator and writer. Her practice focuses primarily on media and sound art and is grounded in the concept of exhibition making as a platform for critical thinking. Core aspects of her practice include transdisciplinarity and fostering dialogues between media art, contemporary practices and audiences. She is interested in listening practices and perceptual phenomena in relation to art. Bárbara Perea has curated exhibitions and festivals in Mexico, Europe, Canada and the United States, including at Plataforma Puebla 2006; Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City; and the Venice Biennale, among others. She is the curator of Entanglements: Before and After NAFTA, currently on view at ISCP, which is an exhibition that presents a critical and transhistorical analysis of economic exchange in North America through the lens of contemporary art practices.

This program is supported, in part, by Alberta Foundation for the Arts; Hartfield Foundation; Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation; Jane Farver Memorial Fund; Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).


June 4–September 6, 2019

Paperwork: Administrative Practice in Contemporary Art 

Opening Reception: Tuesday, June 4, 2019, 6–8pm
The exhibition will be closing at 3pm on Friday, August 30, 2019

In focusing on administrative systems, procedures and codes, Paperwork: Administrative Practice in Contemporary Art reflects on artists’ attention to the ways we are all immersed in bureaucracy in everyday life. Emphasizing notions of emancipation and playful resistance, as opposed to disempowerment, artists intervene into the frameworks of contracts, corporate practices, operation research and automation, among other tools of administrative management and production.

Conceptual art of the late 1960s and 1970s often produced an “aesthetics of administration,” a de-personified approach to looking at daily bureaucracy. The Conceptual artists’ turn towards information-gathering, as a dematerialized way of making art, fed into the rise of institutional critique, in which artists challenged the social, economic, and political systems of art institutions.

Artists in Paperwork include Jesse Chun, Sandra Erbacher, Tali Keren, Amalia Pica and Pilvi Takala, whose work interrogates the bureaucratization of this political and cultural moment, in ways that resonate loudly with Theodor Adorno’s assertion of a “totally administered world.” They insert themselves into real-life systems as artistic strategies, often as organizers or performers. Ranging from video to research-based and archival installations, the works in the exhibition together form a cogent overview of the bureaucratic procedures all around us, which are so pervasive they often go unnoticed.

Sandra Erbacher foregrounds a series of desks produced in the 1980s by Ensslen, a German company, given names such as Euroform, Euroboss and Euroflex, conveying optimism and cultural hegemony of the European project. She juxtaposes images of the “Eurodesks” with images and texts that depict the current reality of Europe in the throes of Brexit, the migrant crisis, and the strengthening of neoliberal market economies. Erbacher questions Europe’s hegemonic ideology and interrogates the idea of truth in the context of corporate and government administrations.

Also included in the exhibition are selections from Amalia Pica’s Joy in Paperwork (2016) series. Numbering more than 1,000 pieces, these works on A4 paper incorporate bureaucratic stamps from all over the world. Pica had difficulties travelling while in the process of securing a British passport, and Joy in Paperwork is informed by her own hurdles to obtain citizenship. Using repetitive gestures to mark the paper—sometimes forming recognizable shapes—Pica subverts the tools of bureaucracy to produce lighthearted works.

Jerusalem City Council is the site for Tali Keren’s New Jerusalem (2015), a “bureaucratic musical performance.” The artist was interested in the city’s twenty-first century municipal plan, which was never officially authorized but nonetheless implemented. A “united Jerusalem” is outlined in the plan, as the capital of the “Jewish-democratic” state. Keren commissioned a cantor to sing the plan at city hall, and this video is presented with a second video of text documentation of responses by key objectors to it. This performance gives a renewed platform to the plan, and creates a different medium by which to consider bureaucratic legal language.

Pilvi Takala has often intervened in work environments to reveal their power dynamics. In Stroker (2018), Takala reenacts the two weeks she spent posing as a wellness consultant in a London co-working space, where she was hired to literally provide touching services to employees to boost their mood and productivity. This personal gesture amid an otherwise bureaucratic environment confuses the workers and underscores the absurdities of trying to solve social issues by administrative means.

Through digital manipulation of various passports and immigration documents—largely drawn from her family archives—Jesse Chun appropriates and reinterprets the imagery and language of administration. In Landscape (2019), the watermarks of various passport pages are transformed into large-scale landscapes of unidentifiable lands. Pixelated and re-contextualized, and devoid of the national markers and traveler’s data, they are shown alongside Forms (2016), a series of works in which Chun’s personal collection of immigration forms are reimagined into erasure poetry, thereby subverting the power and function of bureaucratic language.

This exhibition is curated by Kari Conte, Director of Programs and Exhibitions.

Paperwork: Administrative Practice in Contemporary Art is supported, in part, by Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant; Greenwich Collection Ltd.; Hartfield Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF); and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Opening Reception: Jun 04, 2019, 6–8pm
Open Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12–6pm
Download Press Release (PDF)

Participating Residents