Talk by Berlin-based curator and writer David Elliott.
Exhibitions are where artworks meet their publics. In Asia, with the general absence of systematic public collections and few academic art history departments, exhibitions are more than just sites of display and interaction. Exhibitions—and the curatorial strategies shaping them, institutional demands driving them, and art writing accompanying them—have become the primary sites of art historical construction.
Complementing the latest issue of Field Notes, 'Publics, Histories, Value: The Changing Stakes of Exhibitions' is a talk series featuring international and Hong Kong-based curators, educators, and artists responding to and enriching the contents of the e-journal.
Our second speaker, curator and writer David Elliott, discusses 'Global Art in an Age of Racism', examining the exhibitions and publications from the Museum of Modern Art Oxford beginning in the 1980s to the mid-1990s when Elliott was Director.
The close of the 1970s saw an end to the historic progression of avant-gardes with curators rapidly and uncritically adapting to the new climate of 1980s neo-liberalism. Disquieted by this fragmentation and its affect on contemporary art discourse, Elliott recounts stepping out of established 'western art' practices by comparing significant examples from this system with equally strong work from other cultures through an extended series of exhibitions.
David Elliott is a curator, writer, and professor of modern and contemporary art who has directed museums in Oxford, Stockholm, Tokyo, and Istanbul. He was Artistic Director of 'IV International Moscow Biennale of Young Art'; co-curator of 'PANDAMONIUM: New Media Art from Shanghai and Fragments of Empire', Berlin; associate curator of Hors Piste Film Festival, Tokyo; and curator of 'Art From Elsewhere. Art from British Regional Galleries', a touring exhibition of Hayward Gallery, London. Elliott is President of the Board of Triangle Art Network/Gasworks, London; Chairman of MOMENTUM, Berlin; and Visiting Professor in Curatorship, Chinese University in Hong Kong. Elliott publishes widely, specialising in Soviet and Russian avant-garde, and modern and contemporary Asian art. In 2008-10, he was Artistic Director of 17th Biennale of Sydney and in 2011-12 directed the inaugural International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Kiev, Ukraine.
The fourth issue of Field Notes, 'Publics, Histories, Value: The Changing Stakes of Exhibitions' takes as its point of departure, the 2013 symposium Sites of Construction: Exhibitions and the Making of Recent Art History in Asia, and carries the exploration forward to an expanded set of geographies, models, and ideas to emphasise alternative ways of seeing and approaching exhibitions, and their contribution to the writing of multiple histories of art today.