In New York-based writer, curator and art historian Joshua Decter’s new book, Art Is a Problem: Selected Criticism, Essays, Interviews and Curatorial Projects (1986-2012), the author examines contemporary art in relation to its various ideological, public, discursive, and social contexts. The book encompasses seven chapters: Institutional Critique® and its Discontents; Aporia (art as politics, the politics of art); Everything is Social(Platforms, Participations, Publics, Constituencies, Networks, Spaces, Sites, Situations, Collaborations, Cooperations, Conflicts, Interventions…); Convoluted Cities; The (Un)De-definition of Art; What Do We Want from Exhibitions?; On the Curatorial Road. Decter examines art’s paradoxical condition: art problematizes, and is intrinsically a problem. From this standpoint, he analyzes art’s definitions, functions, ethical entanglements, societal aspirations, and cultural contradictions.
In this event Joshua Decter is joined in a discussion by the book’s editor, artist and writer John Miller, writer and curator Chelsea Haines, artist Paul Ramírez Jonas, and curator Ruba Katrib.
Copies of Art Is a Problem are available for purchase and signing at the event after audience Q&A.
Joshua Decter is a New York-based writer, curator, art historian, and theorist who has contributed to Artforum, Afterall, Texte zur Kunst, Flash Art, The Exhibitionist, among other international periodicals. He has curated exhibitions at institutions such as PS1 (now MoMA PS1), The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Apex Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, The Kunsthalle Vienna, and The Santa Monica Museum of Art. His exhibition projects have been reviewed in The New York Times, Artforum, The Village Voice, Art Monthly, The Los Angeles Times, Art News, Le Monde, and elsewhere. In addition to Art is a Problem, Decter is also the co-author of a forthcoming 2014 book, Exhibition as Social Intervention: ‘Culture in Action’ 1993, volume 3 of Afterall Books Exhibition Histories series. From 2007 to 2011, Decter was Director of the Master of Public Art Studies Program at the University of Southern California’s Roski School of Fine Arts in Los Angeles, where he founded the new graduate program, M.A. Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere. He has also taught at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, The School of Visual Arts in New York, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, New York University, UCLA, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and Bennington College. Decter has organized many international conferences, including: The Architecture of Display: new approaches to exhibition design at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, 2006; The Question of the City, Museumsquartier, Vienna Art Week, 2006; The Situational Drive: Complexities of Public Sphere Engagement, co-sponsored by inSite, Creative Time, and The Cooper Union, New York, 2007; and Participation and Friction: Rethinking Art and Architecture as Public Culture (Architecture, Design Art: Strategies for Survival & Art and Architecture in the Public Sphere of Cities) at USC in Los Angeles.
John Miller is an artist and writer based in New York and Berlin. His work is featured in the Hammer Museum's Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology. In 2015, After All Books will publish his Educational Complex, a study of Mike Kelley's eponymous piece, as part of its One Work series. Miller is a Professor of Professional Practice in Barnard College's Art History Department.
Chelsea Haines is a writer and curator based in New York, where she is a doctoral student in Art History at The Graduate Center, CUNY and a Presidential Research Fellow at the Center for the Humanities. She is Art Editor of the online culture magazine Guernica and Editor-at-Large of The Exhibitionist, a journal on exhibition making. She is currently working on a range of curatorial initiatives for the Vera List Center for Art & Politics at The New School. She was the Education & Public Programs Manager at Independent Curators International (ICI) from 2009-12, and has organized projects for institutions such as Prospect New Orleans, Portland State University and the Shanghai Biennial.
Paul Ramírez Jonas selected solo exhibitions include Pinacoteca do Estado, Sao Paulo, Brazil; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut; The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; a survey at Ikon Gallery (UK) and Cornerhouse (UK); Koenig & Clinton (NYC), Nara Roesler Gallery (Brazil); Alexander Gray (NYC); Roger Björkholmen (Sweden) and Postmasters Gallery (NYC). He has been included in group exhibitions at P.S.1 (NYC); The Whitechapel (UK); Irish Museum of Modern Art (Ireland); The New Museum (NYC); and Kunsthaus Zurich (Switzerland). He participated in the 1st Johannesburg Biennale; the 1st Seoul Biennial; the 6th Shanghai Biennial; the 28th Sao Paulo Biennial; the 53rd Venice Biennial and the 7th Bienal do Mercosul , Porto Alegre, Brazil. In 2010 his Key to the City project was presented by Creative Time in cooperation with the City of New York. He is currently an Associate Professor at Hunter College, CUNY.
Ruba Katrib is Curator at SculptureCenter in Long Island City, New York, and was previously Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami. Recent exhibitions include solo exhibitions with David Douard, Radamés “Juni” Figueroa, and Jumana Manna. Group exhibitions include A Disagreeable Object (2012), on the legacy of surrealism, the body, and technology in contemporary art, with Anicka Yi, Pamela Rosenkranz, Camille Henrot, Sarah Lucas, and others, and Better Homes (2013), which addressed domesticity in contemporary art with Anthea Hamilton, Josephine Pryde, Martha Rosler, Carissa Rodriguez, Neil Beloufa, and others. Katrib organized the first comprehensive solo museum exhibitions of Cory Arcangel (2010) and Claire Fontaine (2010). Her writing has appeared in several periodicals including Artforum, Kaleidoscope, cura., and Mousse Magazine. Recent publications include New Methods (MOCA, 2013), on independent artist initiatives throughout Latin America, and Inquiries Into Contemporary Sculpture – Where is Production? (co-editor) published by SculptureCenter and Black Dog Publishing London, 2013.
In its sixth year the program series An Art Book, initiated and organized by Arezoo Moseni, is a celebration of the essential importance and beauty of art books. The events showcase book presentations and discussions by world renowned artists, critics, curators, gallerists, historians and writers.