Monday, July 27, 2009

Twenty Questions

from a Dance/Visual Art Exchange: Ohio, Missouri 6/2009*
What correspondence is there between dramaturgy and curation?
What are strategies of composition in the visual arts that can apply to performance?
What hallmarks distinguish effective work? What do “Big People” do (this refers to a Meredith Monk film we viewed pre-trip re: conceptual outrageousness)?
How do we provide liminal space – a decompression chamber to enter art-making mind (of not knowing, waiting, finding)?
How do we foster art as “everyday practice” (Ann Hamilton), a “practice of questions”?
How does revealing the underlying systems and concepts of an artwork through accompanying text or narration serve or detract in perceiving the work? What are optimal ways of presenting contextual information to the viewers of a work?
What is the museum’s role in cultivating artistic literacy in children and adults? How do they do it? What is a dance equivalent?
How does ”reading meaning” remain a fluid activity, not a “spoiler”?
How can criticism foster awareness and excellence?
What are liminal /interdisciplinary works (i.e. Forsythe “choreographing” viewers)? How do artists learn to make them?
How does the museum become a crucible for meaningful interactions with art for all socio-economic groups?
How does the experience of architectural space allow a viewer to attend more deeply to their perceptions of art works?
How can the making of a work slip between the collective and the individual (the choir and the soloist)?
How does an artist find the right question to function as the center of a particular developmental process?
How can arts presenting organizations effectively combine missions of showing worthy art and being agents of civic and social change?
How does the curator/artist “friendship” when cultivated over a longer timeframe result in more interesting or successful projects?
How does the act of listening become the material of the work (Hamilton)?
How do you make a conversation public?
How does the question of a work connect you to some community; how do you become a local artist?
Is it possible to reside in a space of open-mindedness, pre-thought, before a “for and against” mentality clouds the ability to see?
*Sponsored by Dance Advance, a band of twelve dance and visual artists, video makers, composers, curators and arts advocates visited the Columbus Museum of Art, Wexner Center, and Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center in Ohio, and the Contemporary Art Museum, Pulitzer Foundation, and Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art at Washington University in St. Louis. We spoke with directors and curators at several of these institutions gaining a sense of their methods and how they are thinking about their respective communities. The group was catalyzed into conversation by Mary Jane Jacobs as lead thinker.