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Arts & Culture

This is Not An Institutional Critique: Artpace’s IAIR 13.2

Photo: Photos by Bryan Rindfuss, License: N/A

Photos by Bryan Rindfuss

Pak Shueng Chuen, Traveler’s Notes: San Antonio 2013.5.28-2013.7.14, vinyl lettering

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photos by Bryan Rindfuss

Clarissa Tossin, Brasília, Cars, Pools and Other Modernities, mixed media


In 2007, the artist spent a year in New York as a resident of the International Studio and Curatorial Program. Aside from producing a significant series of anonymous works including Page 22: Half-Folded Library and Norwegian Wood, this experience reshaped the way he engages with the world while abroad. Removed from the familiar, his daily dérive (unplanned journey) evolved into what the Situationist International called dépaysement, a state in which disorientation is embraced—even prioritized. Traveler’s Notes: San Antonio 2013.5.28-2013.7.14 encourages this sensibility. Vinyl text documenting his observations collected on the streets of San Antonio runs across the walls and floor of the gallery, encouraging prescribed, jerky movement through the space and inevitable interaction with other viewers—a framework that successfully mimics the negotiation of unfamiliar territory in the real world.

The IAIR Program selects curators, not artists. Once the curator submits a list of names, it is up to the staff of Artpace to help artists realize their projects. Collapsed utopian aspirations (Tossin), industrial objects absolved from customary function (Paglen) and an artist set adrift in a strange landscape by choice (Pak): Hanru’s selections maintain a certain poetic harmony without pedestrian repetition or overlap. This is the gift that a good curator brings to a conversation between artists and art objects, even when the work produced is, ultimately, beyond their control.

Author’s Note: As part of his residency, Pak is also in the process of producing a series of interventions for the Current. His first piece, Believers and Sacred Objects, appeared in Issue 13_25 (June 19-25); the second, Holy Dust Worship Club/Holy Back Worship Club, appeared the following week (June 26- July 2) in Issue 13_26; the third, an excerpt of Traveler’s Notes appeared after that (July 3-9) in Issue 13_27. The final installment will run later this month.

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