From Thursday, March 10 to Sunday, March 13, Independent Curators International, the New Museum, and the Ph.D. Program in Art History at the CUNY Graduate Center collaborated to present an international conference, The Now Museum: Contemporary Art, Curating Histories, Alternative Models. The conference drew a diverse collection of international curators, students, art historians, scholars and artists, all interested in interrogating the central question: “What do museums of contemporary art stand for today?” MoCADA’s Curatorial Fellows were in attendance to explore related themes and think about the politics and emerging practices of developing innovative curatorial models specifically for a museum dedicated to contemporary art of the African Diaspora.
The third day of the conference was organized under the umbrella topic, Expanding Infrastructures. The first panel discussion, Platforms & Networks, chaired by Kate Fowle, Director of Independent Curators International, New York, facilitated dialogue on …read more
Lu Jie, Director and Chief Curator of the Long March Project in Beijing gave a talk which stood out as an excellent case study for examining emerging curatorial practices, conceiving new models for community involvement, and combating capitalistic practices of traditional museums. The curatorial mission of the 2004 project was to bring contemporary international and Chinese art to the rural and working classes of China to combat issues of access, focussing on The Great Survey of Paper-Cuttings in Yanchuan County …read more
Later that afternoon, Eungie Joo, Director and Curator of Education and Public Programs at the New Museum chaired the second panel of the day’s program, Bricks & Mortar. The session delved into questions of the politics of physical and imagined museum space. … Gabi Ngcobo brought a much needed local, grassroots perspective to the discussion. Ngcobo discussed the fact that South Africa is home to a number of large, historic, and well endowed museums and art institutions, including the South African National Gallery (est. 1930) and the Johannesburg Art Gallery (est. 1915). However, because these venues were built to aid apartheid and the colonial project, history is steeped in their very structure. … In contrast to these traditional institutions, Ngcobo introduced the audience to the Center for Historical Reenactments (CHR), established in 2010…read more
Like these spaces, MoCADA sees itself as an example of an emerging model, specifically dedicated to examining the history, arts, and cultures of the African Diaspora through its mission, programming, and multimedia curatorial model. The concept of the museum is not static, and its physicality, indivisible from its ideology, is also constantly in flux. As Ngcobo stated simply, “The ideal museum is currently under construction all over the world.” As MoCADA enters its second decade of operation, you can expect cutting-edge exhibitions and a new curatorial model, international partnerships that emphasize diaspora and movement, and don’t be surprised if you see the museum popping up in unlikely places in 2011.
Contributed by: Isissa Komada-John, Curatorial Fellow