Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Monday, December 23, 2013

9th Mercosul Biennial in Artforum

The December "Best of 2013" issue of Artforum includes my review of the 9th Mercosul Biennial in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Chris Marker at MIT and Harvard

Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte
MIT List Visual Arts Center
October 18, 2013–January 5, 2014
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University 
October 18–December 22, 2013
Curated by João Ribas

Chris Marker at MIT List Visual Arts Center
With an unparalleled and uncompromising career that spanned nearly six decades, Chris Marker (1921–2012) stands as a unique chronicler of the second half of the 20th century. A writer, editor, photographer, filmmaker, and multimedia artist, Marker was born Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve in Neiully-sur-Seine, France, in 1921. Throughout his multifaceted life—from fighting with the French resistance to becoming an early adopter of digital technologies—Marker employed a variety of media in his investigation of the relationship between images, memory, and history. While perhaps best known for his radical 1962 sci-fi film La jetée, Marker worked as a writer and editor before turning to photography and film in the 1950s, and then to video and new media in later decades, producing over fifty films and multimedia works before his death in Paris in 2012. Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte, presents the first comprehensive exhibition of the renowned filmmaker and artist, surveying his pioneering work in writing, photography, film, video, and digital media.

Marker’s early photographic work was produced after joining the Parisian intellectual circles of the 1940s, and publishing poems, fictions, editorials, and film criticism. This ensuing vast photographic output is comprised of images taken throughout the world since the 1940s.  Marker defined these travels—from postwar China, to eventually, the virtual worlds of Second Life—as part of an obsessive curiosity to capture “life in the process of becoming history.” Turning to filmmaking in the 1950s, the resulting films, television programs, and video works produced over the next fifty years made him one of the most innovative and influential filmmakers in modern cinema history. Heralded as the birth of a new genre, Lettre de Sibérie (Letter From Siberia, 1958), one of Marker’s earliest films, evinces the nearly unclassifiable combination of travelogue, documentary, essay, historical analysis, and humor that would come to define Marker’s cinematic output. 
Marker’s interest in moving image production and political engagement led him to establish filmmaking collectives in the 1960s that sought to make films in a collaborative way and to support workers in producing their own films. As an astute critic of the relation between images and history, Marker would consistently turn to new technologies to expand forms of independent moving image production. By the early 1990s, Marker was working extensively in video—allowing him unprecedented abilities in the manipulation of images—and was an early adopter of digital technology. The introduction of digital media to create, store, and distribute images and texts in the following decades expanded the production of new kinds of independent filmmaking, as well as furthered his investigation of the shifting conditions of the image. 
While Marker’s work from the 1990s reflected on the historical role of cinema, he also gestured towards its future, anticipating ways in which networks are increasingly sites of both personal and collective memory mediated through interfaces. Tracing the shifting conditions of the image through the technological innovations of the 20th and 21st century, Marker produced work for digital and online platforms through the late 1990s and 2000s. Marker’s use of such media speak to his commitment to exploring how new media technologies impact the processes of recording and interpreting history, and how digital technology is effecting the production and dissemination of images.
Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte is organized by the MIT List Visual Arts Center.
The exhibition is presented at the MIT List and the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University. A concurrent film retrospective will be presented at the Harvard Film Archive (October 17–December 9).

Support for this exhibition has been generously provided by the Institute Française and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, The Dedalus Foundation, Icarus Films, Cultural Service of the French Consulate in Boston, TOKY, the Council for the Arts at MIT, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Office of the Associate Provost at MIT, the MIT List Visual Arts Center Advisory Committee, and the Friends of the List. Special thanks to Peter Blum Gallery for their generous support and assistance. 

Monday, September 09, 2013

Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present

I've contributed an essay on judgment for a new volume of essays, Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present, edited by Alexander Dumbadze and Suzanne Hudson. The book is organized around fourteen themes, "chosen to reflect the latest debates in contemporary art since 1989," and includes essays by Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Johanna Burton, Sven Lütticken, Katy Siegel, David Joselit, Ina Bloom, Michelle Kuo, Raqs Media Collective, and Jan Verwoert.
Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present (EHEP002671) cover image

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Image Ethics in Mousse

The current issue of Mousse includes an article I contributed on the ethics of images, based on a talk I gave recently at the MiArt Fair in Milan in April.  Here's the intro:

What does it mean to touch an image, not merely to look at it? What are the ethics of the images we choose to touch, of those we are allowed to see, and of the images we don't see but know in fact to exist?  Does the production, storage and circulation of images today imply a responsibility to, or to care for, them? Curator and writer Joao Ribas reflects on the task of attending to images that call out to us and the aesthetic effects they produce, instilling in us a need to store or share them. Arguing that contemporary images force us to move beyond basic aesthetic categories into the realm of the ethics of new affects, Ribas explores the demands images make today, as well as our current forms of iconoclasm and mediation. Do we need to develop ethically informed rather than legally compelled ways to deal with images in our digital condition? Or are we perhaps merely the parasitic host of images, which now replicate themselves through us, their deeper genetic purpose hidden?

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Cheyney Thompson publication now available.

Cheyney Thompson's first monograph, published in collaboration with the MIT List and Walter Koenig Books, is now out. It includes essays by Yve-Alain Bois, Simon Baier, Ann Lauterbach, and me, and a comprehensive selection of Thompson's work.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Art/Politics Talk at the New School



May 17 at The New School's Tishman Auditorium
Free and Open to the Public

2:30-4pm Call & Response III: The Political Aesthetic
The first decade of the 21st century has witnessed an explosion in the number of publications, conferences and exhibitions devoted to defining and assessing socially and politically engaged creative practices. Is “the political” as a driving force in art making here to stay as we grapple with its changed meaning in light of the 2011 global protests?
Simon Critchley, Professor of Philosophy, The New School for Social Research
Julie Mehretu, artist, New York
Joao Ribas, Curator, MIT List Center
Martha Rosler, artist, Vera List Center Advisory Committee member, New York
Moderated by David Joselit, Professor, Art History, Yale University.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Talk at CCS Bard


May 13, 2013 from 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
CCS Bard, Seminar Room 1

What is it that makes today’s solo exhibitions so different, so appealing? 

The solo exhibition is conspicuously overlooked in the voluminous
literature on curatorial practice and the historiography of exhibitions. 
This even though it plays a significant role in forming the conventions 
of exhibition making since the 18th century. What accounts for this 
repressed in curatorial discourse, as opposed to the group or thematic 
exhibition, or the events of biennials and international surveys? 
What issues, both practical and ideational, logistical and methodological, 
is the solo exhibition explicitly concerned with? How might a genealogy of the 
solo exhibition propose the relevance and scope of this typology today?

João Ribas (b. 1979, Braga, Portugal) is Curator at the MIT List Visual Arts 
Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was previously Curator at 
The Drawing Center, in New York. 

His recent exhibitions include 
In the Holocene, an exhibition on art and speculation spanning from 
the 19th to the 21st centuries, and exhibitions of the work of Amalia Pica, 
Joachim Koester, Akram Zaatari, Cheyney Thompson, The Otolith Group, 
Stan VanDerBeek, Otto Piene, Frances Stark, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Matt Mullican, among others. He has been a contributor to numerous publications including, Contemporary Art:
From 1989 to the Present (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013) and Realism Materialism Art (CCS Bard, forthcoming). His recent publications include Cheyney Thompson 
(Walter Koenig); Otto Piene: Lichtballett 
(MIT List Visual Arts Center, 2012) and an edited volume of the writings of Frances Stark (MIT, 2010). He is the winner of four consecutive 
AICA Exhibition Awards (2008–11) and of an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition 
Award (2010). 

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Amalia Pica catalog now available

This volume accompanies the first major solo museum exhibition in the United States of the work of Argentinean-born, London-based artist Amalia Pica (born 1978). Pica explores metaphor, communication and civic participation through drawings, sculptures, large-scale photographic prints, slide projections, live performances and installations. Using simple materials such as photocopies, lightbulbs, drinking glasses, beer bottles, bunting and cardboard, Pica creates work that is both formally beautiful and conceptually rigorous. Pica is particularly interested in the limits and failures of language and human communication, and the ways in which thought translates to action, idea to object. Her work is optimistic in its reflection of moments of shared experience, often incorporating signifiers of celebration and communal gatherings such as fiesta lights, flags and banners, and confetti. 

Amalia Pica is the fourth volume in MCA Chicago's MCA Monographs series and features essays by writer Ana Teixeira Pinto and writer and curator Tirdad Zolghadr as well as an interview with the artist and exhibition co-organizers MIT List Curator João Ribas and MCA Pamela Alper Curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm.

Foreword by Madeleine Grynsztejn, Paul Ha. Text by Ana Teixeira Pinto, Tirdad Zolghadr. Interview by João Ribas, Julie Rodrigues Widholm. Paperback, 112 pages, 8" x 10", Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and MIT List Visual Arts Center, 2013. 

The exhibition Amalia Pica is presented at the MCA Apr 27-Aug 11, 2013. Learn more.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

In the Holocene reviewed in Frieze

Issue cover
‘In the Holocene’, curated by João Ribas, presented a history of art’s involvement with scientific or mathematical concerns: an aim that seemed simple enough but which, in fact, opened up rich territory for thinking about how these disciplines function in complementary ways, producing knowledge but also revealing its gaps. The show not only examined how art can function as a form of inquiry into natural phenomena, but also how scientific methodology can be appropriated and transformed by an art practice – with a wonderful array of results. Many objects in this exhibition invoked scientific or mathematical principles, but arguably all participated in ordered knowledge-production of one kind or another. Read more...

Monday, April 01, 2013