Panels | Jul 2015
Residence Hopping: A Curatorial Affair
Residence Hopping: A Curatorial Affair
MACP, School of Visual Arts
132 West 21st Street, 10th Floor
New York, NY
April 13, 2015
A panel discussion organized by MA Curatorial Practice, School of Visual Arts in collaboration with Residency Unlimited.
Hosted at CP Projects Space of the MA Curatorial Practice program, a panel discussion on the state of curatorial affairs in artist residencies with Claudia Cannizzaro of Art Omi, Sean J Patrick Carney of BHQFU, Agnieszka Kurant artist, and Laurel Ptak of Triangle Arts Residency. Moderated by Bosko Boskovic of Residency Unlimited and Jovana Stokic Deputy Chair of MA Curatorial Practice.
Jovana Stokic: Welcome everybody, for coming to see the Project Space for Masters curatorial studies here at SVA. And, I would like to make a personal introduction in our collaboration with Residency Unlimited and with my colleague Boshko Boskovic. We started this programs of exchange with our Masters curatorial studies with residencies, with artists, and with ours students of curatorial practice. And we’re very pleased to open the discussion, to have this platform to open up a discussion on how to further not only curatorial [pause] agenda, but to further the issues about exchange and artistic production—how does, you know, our meetings here, our encounters, gives us some kind of productive inventories for these changes. And Boshko and I have, you know, have these... with our Chair here, Steve and the director of residency Nathalie, and Rose, we have this set in motion a series of encounters with students and with artists. And we thought how to open this to public and to ask question, as you can see in our whimsical title about “Residency Hopping.” But really we want to toss the question on how to really further the issues on curatorial agenda and artistic production in order to make these exchanges more meaningful. So this is where we start, and we are very lucky to have all these lovely panelists, which we would introduce. But I want to introduce Boshko, and we will start from there.
Boshko Boskovic: Well, I’m very pleased to be here, thanks to [pause]... I’m very pleased to be here tonight, and I’d like to thank Alvin and Steven for inviting us and being part of this panel, which basically came out from our dialogue of what… with the SVA curatorial program, and the aim is to basically ask questions on what are the possibilities of curatorial exchange and engagement within a residency context. And just to give you a little bit of background: I’m the program director at Residency Unlimited, which is an international residency program for artists and curators in Carroll gardens. We’ve been existent and this is our sixth year. And, we basically offer curators a venue to do research and programs, and to work with our artists in residence. We feel that having artists and curators under the same roof is basically a natural fit and could be mutually beneficial. And the way we often work with curators when they create programs, they work directly with our artists in residence. And a lot of times, I feel that… our artists don’t have the luxury of testing work before public audience—whether it’s a gallery show or museums, sometimes there is an open studio—but we create these many exhibition events, they are very short-term in duration, where they can get public feedback, they can get feedbacks from a curator when they have been working on a piece for—let’s say, for two months. What has been really nice over the years is to see this transition of the work that began in our space, but then later on you see it in an exhibition, or in another program over the years. And it kind of—it was a seed in our space, but then it evolves over time, so I think that is the kind of the example of a value where an artist residence program and a curator sort of dialogue can be very fruitful. That is the sort of an intro, but now we will introduce the panelists, so we will start from here.
Jovana: Now, just introducing the first panelist, which we will read their bios, just to see how distinguished and cool they are. And there are individuals here, and we’re being very biased—we only invited people that we admire, and we would like to hear or be friends with. I want to start with Claudia. Claudia Cannizarro... is a person that I’ve met professionally, and I have great admiration for your residency Art Omi. That I have not visited yet. But I am looking forward to very much to this summer. And I wanted you to talk about—you as an artist, your vision for the residency and how you may... from it [sic.].
Claudia: So, just very briefly, my name is Claudia Cannizarro. I’m probably a visual artist, so I came to New York, almost 20 years ago. And then my professional career developed into the arts administration over the cultural management. So I run...
Okay. So, I run Art Omi—Art Omi is an international visual artist residency programs at the International Arts Center. We are a very large organization in upstate New York, two and a half hours away from the city. I am the program director for the visual arts residency program, I’ve been the director for 7 years. Among all the other things, we founded the residency program in my native Sicily, and that is completely different in nature. Akrai, because what we do is that we invite artists from all over the world, any professional artists can apply, and it’s very competitive to get in. We get on an average of 1,000 applications every year, for only 30 slots. And long with the 30 artists residence, we also invite a critic in residence. We call it critic in residence but most of the times they are actually curators. Sometimes the lines are being blurred between being a critic and being a curator, sometimes also have art historians.
On the contrary, the critics, they don’t apply—they are invited, and they might be interesting for you. Why we do that? We do that because it’s a very complicated position for them to be in a residency with 30 other artists from 25 different countries. We don’t really... limit the age or career, so we invite artists based on the quality of their work. They could be very young, they could be very established and could be emerging, as long as their work is good and they are invited. So the variety of artists that we have in Art Omi can go from wood carver to cartinage to new media and performance artists from 25 years old—and there is no limit—sometimes it could even be 19 next time, over 70 or 80.
So basically, for the critic to be in residency, it was such a broad variety of art practices, and characters, and different backgrounds and decisions and careers. It was… it was quite a task. ‘Cause without persistence, as Boshko would say, “it is more important for artists to be in a exchange with people in the artworld,” and not just working in a studio, isolated, and creating work and then all of the sudden showing it out of the blue, out of the context. What we do in mind is to make sure that art is art, inventing and exchange with interesting critics and curators. And we always invite all the professionals and critics to the programs, so it’s not only the critic in residence for the 30. So 30 other critics, curators, and professionals come in to view in a month. So it’s a very intense program from the perspective of professional development.
So, why do we invited the critics? Because we need to make sure that the person we invite is onto the task. It’s not easy to... deal with these kind of environment when you’re in an environment—you know, up in a beautifully isolated countryside, dissecting over the freedom of New York City. So we keep the freedom in one place, and the critic could be completely bombarded by the people asking for advice, opinions, connections, or confrontations sometimes. What’s interesting in that context is to see what the artist expects from the curator, and what the curator expects from the artist, and the plus… the pros and cons. And most of the time, neither the curator nor the artist really knows the outcomes or fruits of their exchange while they’re in residency, because most of the times the fruits will develop many months later, or years later. We get notification from people, you know, like where a person met a person at Art Omi… and when they met there are times for very pleasant confrontation, or maybe a very... difficult studio visit. And all of the sudden, six months later, or a year later, they will get in touch with each other and work on a project. So it’s very interesting to see what can develop out of this exchange that we proposed.
With other things in mind, once again, we have this beautiful place, it looks very idyllic—it is very idyllic—and relaxed. But the freedom is very... strong and very intense. There is a great chance for the artist, because they might end up having 15 to 20 studio visits in a month, which on a regular basis, other artists would have in a year—if they’re lucky. And, with very interesting people, interesting enough that curators and critics want to come out to Art Omi. Most of the time we have a waiting list, sometimes we even have gallerists. And everybody wants to reach the gallery leader because they are leaders. Sometimes we have waiting lists, because we don’t enough slots to invite everybody to come out, at least in Art Omi it is. Because leaders and critics know—they know very interesting artists that come to mind, and sometimes they’re completely unknown. And, they want to spot them for the first time [laugh]. They want to be the... scouting people.
What is interesting, once again, is that what is important for us is to create opportunity for the artists, and it’s not just about creating work that they can do in their studios, not just about showing more work that they can do in any other settings or non for profit. It’s about giving them space for exchange. From different perspective and from different countries.
And, we’ve been doing this for 23 years, and that’s what we do there at Art Omi. We have many different problems, this is just one of the problems that we have. There are some present thoughts on—you know, we’ve been thinking in the board about, “why don’t we open now and invite the critics to apply?” So to make it equal—because sometimes it feels very unfair for the artists that they have to apply and the critics are invited. We have not balanced that. So there’s an obligation and question in the organization about, whether it would be more beneficial if critics and curators were allowed to apply? And what kind of residence would you use? And because that is often out of the tradition of the arts—and of course, there is also the space issue. So, how do we would go about that.
What I like about Art Omi, is that even though we are an institutionalized organization, with a large—large projects and essential part with many programs, even with educational parts around museum grounds for young adults and for children. We always question. We like traditions but we are open to change. And because the artworld is also changing, and because the curatorial projects are also changing greatly, we are open to their change. At the beginning, we mostly have critics, then in the end the critics wrote about art—not necessarily curators—and then curators took hold there, and we end up getting more curators. So, it’s interesting to see how things are changing. So, it’s not even that Art Omi would continue in the sense that one critic invited and an artist can apply. And this we like, because we feel the exhibition is fluid. Definitely fluid. And, so this is just an intro.
Boshko: Our next panelist is Sean Patrick Carney, and he’s a concrete comedian and writer based in Brooklyn. He’s also a member of the Bruce High Quality Foundation University. And they have started a residency program over the summer last year, so this will be the second duration of their program.
Sean P. Carney: Check, check. Is it gonna be okay? Okay. Yea, so my name is Sean. I’m an artist—if you come from that background. I’ve also worked a lot in different school programs as an art administrator and a faculty member. And then I have a fair share residencies myself, at BAM center. I teach a residency at Virginia Commonwealth University, High Desert Test Sites, which is a program I’m a resident that runs at Joshua Tree. And also, I did a BHD residency last summer before I began working there.
So, just for a little context about what we do: the BHQFU, the Bruce High Quality Foundation Residency comes from an anonymous art collection named The Bruce High Quality Foundation. These are a couple of images of their early works. The one on the left is a small replica of Christo’s Gates—from a Central Park project chasing… a project that was realized after Robert Smithson’s death of a small slice of Central Park floating down the river. So that’s him chasing the Robert Smithson. On the right, there is the on going public sculpture tackle—where someone dresses up like a football player and tackles a public sculpture. So. In 2009, the studio decided to start BHQFU, which was sort of an art and cool educational experiment, radically inclusive that was entirely free of charge. And in 2011, they did a tour around the United States supported by Creative Time called Teach America. I got to see them speak at Portland, Oregon. During their time there, and started a school in Portland afterwards that was free, so sort of a nice, full circle as I moved to New York a while ago. Began as a student. And, then became a resident there. So that’s sort of a slice of the type of people that make up the community.
We acquired physical facility on 34 Avenue A, in 2013. Classes began there, and we’re still there on 3rd and A. We run classes there in the fall and the spring, but in the summertime we do a residency program. We recently got a nonprofit status, so that’s pretty exciting on our end. So this is a big trip from last summer. These were all the residents there, so this is an open call. It was free to apply, and it was to get the school—which is about 1,500 square foot loft in east village to use as a studio. There were the five of us, and just a couple of friends, and people that work there are in the photo as well. But, so for 3 months, we were essentially given the entire facility with really no directive, or expectation of what we were going to do over there. And it was sort of pitched to us as a build-your-own residency program. So over the course of 3 months, we utilized the space for public programs, we invited people in for studio visits. We have lectures, performances, and all types of things like that. Now, at the end, we ended up doing a public exhibition… oh, and there are nice critiques on the left on the performance nights.
We did some open studios. Those are some drawings on the right that I was making. I made a really bad decision where I put a thing on facebook that said, “if you tell me your favorite comedian I will try to draw them from memory.” And I got 256 comments on the post, So... I’m still working on them [laugh]. But in the end of residency, we did an exhibition at 6 Flowers, which is a small artist-run project space in the lower east side. That’s a picture of one of Andre’s pieces. And so, we will do our residency again this summer. We just got a new space on 6, 431 E 6, between 1st & A, which is actually William Whiteman’s old studio, so it kind of has a cool history to it. And that’s called the Public Thug, the Bruce High Quality Foundation University gallery, so we’re trying to attach as many letters as we can.
This summer, for the program this summer, we got such a huge amount of applicants, and we limited to the five bureaus, in order to support emerging artists that we thought we could help around here in New York. Maybe we are already a bit situated, but wanted to build their network, to get to know a lot of people, so we limited to local applicants, we still got several hundreds of them, had a really hard time to really get it down to the group that we wanted to get. We narrowed them down to 15, and made them all interview each other in front of us [laugh]. Which is sort of a fun way to see whether a residence will work together, which is to put them in a circle and ask them to interview each other. So they did that, and we still couldn’t pick. They were all really great by the time when we got to the 15. So, we decided that we will pick 8. And so, between The Thug, which is about another 1,200 to 1,300 square feet, and it’s basically heading in East Village. We will just give them both of those spaces, and let them kind of figure out what they want to do with the two of them. We’re also including a small stipend this year that is relatively mounted but is still pretty decent, which will give them about 5 grand to do programming over the course of the summer.
And, as we transition out of that residency space, The Thug will be a live-work residency which is zone for that and it’s convenient. So, we’re able—we’re starting a thing called the Visiting Artist Residency Program beginning in September, and that is an open call, a rolling deadline for artists kind of working from anywhere. And the idea is that, there may be a further line along the career, the ones that are supporting the emerging artists, so that we can give them a place to live in new york for 3-6 weeks. They can do a body of work and they can have an exhibition space to show in.
If you ever want to stop by, we’re having a show right now for the photos residencies that has an underground museum that just opened, which is like a mining space at Los Angeles, it’s a nonprofit. So David is a great artist—he did a selection from that as well. And then next, starting in May, we have a Guerilla Girls’ broad bands exhibition that is going to happen, so we’re really excited for those to kind of set the tone before we give it over to our residence. So yea, that’s kind of what we do. Thanks.
Jovana: Agnieszka Kurant. Again, there is a reason why Agnieszka is here. Not as a professional residency... but another personal connection of mine. Agnieszka was a resident in the residency that I had the opportunity to work as a curator, actually as an in-house curator, in location 1, for those of you who know about it. So Agnieszka was a resident… years ago, when we met—we met during a studio visit. And I was impressed by her work, because I never buy work in person, and that, you know, led me to invite her here. In the meantime, Agnieszka graduated from a residency in order to be an artist who don’t need to go to residency. So I wanted to talk about that—about how residency as a place, as a site, can be utilized to graduate from it, or not. Or like, what does it mean for you and your personal development as an artist. And I also wanted to thank Agnieszka, especially for being here because she was generous enough when she had her show—when I said graduated from a residency, she had a solo show in a commercial gallery in Chelsea. So, can you ever be more gratuitous than that [sic.]. And she opened the last season spectacularly with a successful show in Tanya Bonakdar Gallery. Generously, she gave an one hour tour to our artists, so I’m happy that she is back in our space. So Agnieszka, please.
Agnieszka Kurant: Thank you very much for inviting me. I.. I’m very happy to be here. I guess my role is a little bit different than the three speakers, because I’m supposed to talk a little bit about my practice and my experience as being a resident and being in several other residency programs as well, and how that informs my practice as well. So maybe... first, I would like to say a little bit about my work, so you can understand better what kind of—how I can possibly benefit from residencies, and to which direction it has developed. So I’m just going to talk very briefly about selection of projects.
So, this is one of the projects from Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, and it is a series of collaborations they are doing with the entomologists from Harvard University and the University of Florida. And the scientists are enabling me to work with collective, intelligent swarms of termites—termites that build termite mounds. I am using this as colony of termites, a millions of termites specimen to build sculptures that are in a way outsourced to another species, as one would outsource—I mean—as often in a contemporary economy, labor is outsourced to their nation. So the termites build these series of sculptures that are consisting of particles of gold, of crystals, and colored sands.
And, so they are kind of emergent—emergent forms that emerged out of millions of micro-actions by these termites... my recent works related to—I’m interested in these collective intelligence of this project that is called “The End of Signature,” which is based on morphing together, on accountable amount of signatures into one collective signatures. And this is a quick, sneak peak of a project—this is a project of a commission that I am currently working on for the Guggenheim Museum that opens on June 5th, at the museum, and this is actually a test that we did two weeks ago. So going with this collective signature, that is consisting of morphing hundreds, thousands of, signatures of—in this case, the visitors of the Guggenheim Museum that are all morphed into one, ever which means signature, before it appeared in other places. This is for example a new track, this was a community that a couple thousand people living in this... projects and U-tracks… and this is like a collective signature of all these people.
And, this is another element of the show… well, at Tanya Bonakdar the show is also going to be at the Guggenheim Museum, which is an Autopen machine—a machine that was created for Thomas Jefferson to replicate unaccountable amount of identical hand-written signatures. And I’m interested in this side of phenomenal handwritings that are using more and more electronic devices… we’re tapping on our iPads and iPhones and our handwritings very soon—are going to become anachronistic and obsolete. And I’m interested in how this signature, understood this way, coincides with some form of… our sense of authorship: understood as a singular authorship. Because now in the times of Wikipedia, but also other emerging platforms such as the Mechanical Turk, where there are millions of people contributing, micro-tasks that hopefully in the future will develop into something more interesting that will have creative application. So this is an Automaton machine that replicates this collective signature on unaccountable of… blank pages.
Two words about, really quickly, about two more projects that I was also presenting at Tanya Bonakdar. This piece... is also going to be presented at the Guggenheim, outside the rotunda, also in the exhibition that opens on June 6th—a piece called the Phantom Library. And it’s a piece that related to my interests in… in different sources of phantoms, how the capitalistic production, especially a different phenomena that appeared in… cognitive capital—cognitive capital which I mean the capital as the base of knowledge and not of the labor and the factory. So this project was based on a very long time research into fictional books that were mentioned in existing books by different writers, and I produced these books as I acquired ICE bands [sic], numbers, and barcodes for them. And subsequently producing them as physical objects, where the... the information about each single book, the plot, the author, whatever we learn from this given book from the source book.
In this case, for example, this is a book described by Elsa Huxley. it’s a fictional book, and the collection includes fictional books invented by Boarheads, Roberto Belaño, Philip Katik… hundreds of writers, currently it’s over 150 books. And this is a complementary project called the Mountains of Phantom Islands, which also kind of traces the different phantom phenomena, but in this case it was based on a research into various phantom territories that appeared throughout the history of cartography, on various important, political world maps. So, I researched different kinds of maps and I also collaborated with a lot of professional cartographers and researchers, pretty much all over the world, and I found 30 of these phantom islands. And, although they don’t know that existed in reality, they were featured on these important maps, and very often this non-existent entities are led to real financial transaction, or to political conflicts, or almost to wars between countries. So obviously... those virtualities and phantoms produced by the capitalist... economy. And, this is a project that kind of started when I was doing a residency at the Stockholm.
And yes, so just a few words about... this film that’s called Cut Aways, that I did a collaboration with this very important American film editor, Walter Murch, who edited among other things, most of the films were on Francis Coppola. So I invited Walter Murch to work with me, on—and yet another very long time, research. In this case, looking for an entire characters that were cutout, deleted, for various American feature films. So they were present in the script, they were—they shot the footage with the directors, and then they were cut out during the process of the final cut. So, I chose—I found about 200 very interesting characters. I chose 3 of them, and then I invited the 3 actors, who… were originally playing these characters. In this case, Charlotte Rampling, who played a hitchhiker character in the Vanishing Point (1971). And Abe Vigoda, who was a cutout character from Francis Coppola’s film The Conversation (1974). And Dick Miller, also visible here, this picture, who was cutout from Pulp Fiction (1994). So I invited the 3 actors to be in my film, and continue to impersonate these cutout characters. So this was an encounter with the three copyrights, and three surplus characters and narrators that started to live their own lives.
So, as you can see, my practice is very diverse but also very research-based. And I collaborated with various professionals from various fields. And, very often times with scientists, and also with philosophers. Part of my practice is related to my interest in philosophy and theory, and I’m also active as a writer, and… for example, 3 years ago I organized a conference on philosophy and aesthetics conference in Warsaw, about the concept of surplus values, and the exploitation of the general intellect in the creative industries. And… the book that has been following this conference by Jessica Mao, is called Joy Forever. And, Jessica came up with May Flag publishers.
So my practice is very related to collaborations, and meetings, and encounters. And a lot of it stems from the nature of the residencies that I’ve completed. The first residency that I did that was meaningful for me was Palais de Tokyo in Paris. I was invited by Palais de Tokyo in 2004 to do a residency there, but it was a very particular residency. And I was talking about this with Boshko how, at this certain point it was almost like a traumatic experience, because we were 8 people—8 artists and 1 critic invited to work together and collaborate. And at the same time, we were already very formed individuals and had very independent practice. We were in a way, of course, to compromise [sic]. And it worked for some people but it didn’t work for the others, and it has created a lot of tensions. But it was very interesting because I think it was also a very interesting test for realizing young artists, how that... negotiation, and compromise, and dialogue are very important elements for an artist’s practice. It’s not only about the work, but also how you basically carve your practice with—from the dialogues, with that and the people.
Well, then I came to New York for the ISCP residency, in 2005. And it was also very interesting, because I came as a curator. I was mostly… my practice came from the curatorial background, and I think that was particularly interesting for Jovana when we met. Because when I was at Palais de Tokyo, I was there mostly as a curator, but I was always interested in kind of conceptual curating, and I used curating as an art form, as a practice. And I think there are still sometimes traces of this curatorial background in a lot of my projects.
So, when I came here for the ISCP residency, I was a curator. And one day there was an open studio, and I basically—well, I met one of the people who came to my studio was when I was even there… a French and New York gallerists [sic]. And he seemed… and as a result of this residency and this open studio, I was invited to to do my first solo exhibition at Devon Lombard Gallery—but as an artist, but showing showing whatever I was doing as a curator. So it was very kind of transformatory, and very strange situation, but very interesting, obviously.
And, so in a way, you know, I arrived as a curator, and left as an artist. and it was only in 2015, so only 10 years ago. I didn’t have any experience in Fine Arts practice before. I never studied any art as well. And, well then, I did a couple of other residencies, but I just wanted to say a couple of words about the residencies that I’m about to start and I’m preparing for currently. Which is, a residency—a type of residency that corresponds more to my practice and to where I am now with what I’m doing. So I’m currently preparing my residency at MIT, in Boston. And, it’s a very different kind of residency because it’s for artist that… like they usually have their independent practice already and showing at many institutions. And the question becomes not so much about how much the artist can get out of this. I mean yes, this too, but also about how can the artists reciprocate to the university, to this community, and to the scientists. Because obviously, the MIT has an incredible resources of all these amazing people working from different fields.
So, since my practice is very often based on collaboration, so now for example, my role is not only to... benefit from this residency, but also to contribute something—and to involve the scientists into this interesting and meaningful dialogues. For example at this stage, which I am right now, is to find a scientist at MIT, or a group of scientists whom I might be able to develop the most meaningful dialogue that will also benefit that community. And how I could also involve some teaching, so that the community of that students can also be involved. And obviously for me, it’s an incredible opportunity because… yes, it allows me to establish dialogues, and a framework of… of this university, which is very different from a situation if I just approach these people over email, because it creates a very different introduction and structure.
Boshko: Our last panelist is Laurel Ptak. She is the director and curator of Triangle Arts Association, which is a 33-year-old artist-founded residency program in New York. And Laurel has been there for about a year. And she has a very exciting and challenging task of, sort of, putting that into chapter into that institution. And she is also co-founder of a working group Rethinking Residencies, which is around eleven residency programs in New York City that has been working together for about a year, and then we thinking about residency, having critical dialogues, and collaborating with each other.
Laurel Ptak: Thank you. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone from the SVA curatorial practice programs for organizing this last night. It was really a pleasure to get to talk about curating and residency, since my background sort of stands both of those things. But I’m going to follow up on the last presentation, because I started out as an artist. My graduate training was in photography, and I moved to New York City, and I got a job as a photo editor: a photobook editor at Aperture Foundation. And during this time, I was was kind of trying to still figure out how to be a person who lives in New York City, how to earn a living by working in an art institution but wanted some relationship to my kind of, I don’t know, creative practice in some way. So I, then—a few years later, founded a blog, which sort of needs me posting some of my artistic research in a very public fashion. From that people started calling me a curator, and I started adopting that term, so I kind of have the inverse to your story here [laugh]. But I think that, in many ways, I feel those kind of dual-roles having an artistic background and having worked as a curator for many years, and you know, for being someone who’s running in the residency program these days, I think being able to see both sides of the equation, and to think about what it means to run—basically, a workspace for artists from those different perspectives have served me very well.
So, Triangle is a 33 year old artist residency program, and it was in fact we had a distinguished founder, and it was founded by one of our legendary modernist sculptors Anthony Carroll. So Carroll had this fantastic idea: he got access to this amazing, gaming farm in upstate New York in Pine Plains that has been abandoned. This was in 1982. And he had this vision of like, bringing artists out from their isolation in the studio, to be able to work together, and have dialogue, and to bring curators and critics into the mix—people that they could have around to sort of help them to know their practice and talk about ideas with. So, Carroll he’s—came from London, but has sort of been living, working and showing and teaching in U.S. and Canada. So this makes a huge C on the map: the UK, Canada, and the United States make the huge triangle that is shaped on the map and that is what we’re named for.
So, he invited 30 artists to come together for this, like, one optic experiment, and it really was a reaction to have this sort of amazing working space. There are all these barns that are dilapidated, and empty, and endless fields. And all these artists come together, and they agree by the end that this has been the most amazing and life-changing experience of their artistic life, and they really wanted this to continue. So they sort of insisted that it become an institution and have it continue. And it did. And it happened once a year, in upstate New York for many years. By the second year, they have already started to invite artists to join them from Africa, from Europe, and over the years the program only became more and more internationalized. So, I think it’s very interesting because in 2009, I think Carroll had this almost idea of a globalized art world that didn’t really exist yet, but that, by now, many decades later we know very well. I think he was really early to kind of think about what it means on the terms of what an artist wants from a kind of international community.
We still continue this program: we’re doing it again this summer. It has jumped around different locations over the years, different parts of upstate new york. We’ve moved to World Trade Center briefly, until that was not—no longer possible as a place to work. And then, it has been posted in Dumbo, Brooklyn for the last several editions. And so this year, we are returning to upstate New York for the first time in many years. We are gonna be working at this amazing venue called Salmon Artworks, which is about 4 hours away from New York City. And part of my exhaustion, if you can tell, what we have a jury for choosing the artists today, which is such pleasurable but hard work [laugh]. So we have now kind of finalized our list of artists that will be joining us in our program. It’s not public yet, so can’t tell you with too many details except that it’s a really amazing group of people from many different places around the world, and I am so looking forward to my first Triangle workshop this summer.
In addition to this program, which is our founding program, and a very beloved program by many of our alumni. We also have a year-round residency that we run at Dumbo. And we started that in 2002, and that is... something for me, has sort of been the core of what I have been working on, reformulating, reinitiating, rethinking, since I started out as an executive director over a year ago now. We hosted up to about 30 international and United-States-based visual arts artists collectively in a year, and we also—in the process of organizing more public and educational programs. But the whole center—the concept of the Triangle Center that really came from Carroll’s vision, is that we are an institution that is build on dialogue, experimentation, and the creation of community around art, which I think for me are all really essential things.
But I noticed over the years that many residency programs have moved to the models in which artists come and execute work on specific projects, where there is a sort of a specific imperative and time the work should entail. And we have this—because we have a much older... I guess, history, and it’s coming out of the maybe, you know, modernist legacy of artmaking, where we really hold on and are attentive to this idea that time at Triangle where you do your residency program and our workshop program is really an unbounding time for you to decide for yourself, how you would use that with no expectation from the institution. Which I stand behind, because I think those are becoming rarer and rarer experiences.
I think I’m really… I’ve been thinking about what makes this institution special. I meet alumni who, from all different phases of Triangle history, and so often they say to me: “Triangle are the association that changed my life.” And I worked in many art institutions over the years, and very rarely have I heard numerous artists telling me that the institution have changed their lives [water pouring sounds]. So I’m very interested in this comment that I hear repeated often. I really love that I’m part of this institution that has such a special place in artists’ lives and practice—practices. And it’s maybe—it really made me reflect a lot on kind of what are the fates of artist-run, or very artist-centered, or artist-founded institutions. ‘Cause I think in New York these are all sort of a little bit of dying, or changing... so I’m really interested in this question of what it means to care for institutions with this kind of history, and legacy, and to think about the ways that, you know, like funding structures that changed the way we think about institutions. And, whether or not artists should be running them.
But when I went to the interview for this job, I remember really thinking to myself—I was like, walking into a place that had been preserved, like from another era and from a culture in New York that I’ve only heard stories of, and it’s kind of a legendary wave at the time when I’ve moved here. So, I think that’s really interesting to me to think about what makes an artist feel or empowered in a space, what—in contexts, and in a program, how do I do something very different—but a very different style, approach, from other artist residency programs around me. And yea, what are the strategies versus damming? Really beloved—like artist-centered institution—has been a lot on my mind, and now I’m also the person responsible for writing grants, and realizing that, you know, real writers want real measurements, metrics, and ways to understand the value of what you do. And I keep telling them, “it’s time for dialogue, for experimentation,” and trying to kind of come to terms to how to maybe educate our funders about the value of these kind of institutions, of these kind of spaces that don’t put imperatives on what the artists produce during their time there.
And, I guess, I come from a curatorial background: I studied curatorial studies at Bard College, and I really care a lot about curating as a discipline, and I think I spent—my first year at Triangle really trying to rethink many things about the organization. Anthony Carroll, who is our beloved founder of Triangle, passed away a few years ago now. And in that time, you know, the institution has a bit of that crisis of, you know, no longer having this someone whose vision is leading the way. And I feel that my board members, who have sort of largely been made up of artists, are people who have been part of Triangle for many decades, in fact, have been on our board for a really long time, and kind of care about preserving that history. It’s been really interesting to work with a group of people like that, but also kind of praying… I don’t know, there’s this amazing dimension to what they do. They care so much about this space and this project, but at the same time they have been very generous, and kind of allowing for a new era of this organization to emerge.
So a lot of my work in the last year has just been trying to get to know an institution like this with such depth… and of such a rich history, I guess I would say, and trying to think about, you know, it’s done things really well for many years, and I’m not interested really in changing those things as much as I am thinking of what are the other layers that one can build on top of the things that already does… to perhaps make it into something that pays attention to, you know, the contemporary context of how art happens in New York City. And I mean it’s not 1982 anymore. So I think, it needs a little bit of rethinking, and also being handed with institutions that has always only been run by artists, I have to say, there was a lot of infrastructural work that needed to be done [laugh]. So in the last year of my life, I’ve been doing—working very hard at doing very boring things. Getting very basic procedures in place so I can be an assumably functioning institution in ways that, you know, that any other institutions that I’ve ever worked with that would sort of have these systems in place, and I kind of am amazed by the still-standing, or was still-standing without this...
But having that chance to kind of reinvent something and start from scratch in some ways has made me really invest so deeply into the institution, and that has been really interesting for me. And I think— I mentioned that kind of this building on infrastructure, because I think it is just now when I’m able to ask myself as a curator, how can I work inside an institution like this in a more complex way. I mean, as someone who has really love making exhibitions, really loves programming, educational programs. These are all the things that I want to bring to the work that we do, but I think I want to do it in the way that makes sense in an artist residency context, because I don’t think, you know, what I’ve come to think as really special and meaningful for me about this context, is that it is mostly private, in fact. You know, when you make exhibitions, there’s always this sense of there’s a public flair that’s immediate, there is always people paying attention. But I feel what my job is in this residency program is to kind of protect the artists from that outside, giving them sort of the time and space to really just focus and concentrate. I mean we do have a few public occasions, but we get to choose them, and they’re a few far and between.
So I think just, starting now, to ask some of the questions of what can it mean to be a curator, in an expanded sense, in a space like this. We didn’t really have one notable experiment when thinking about this. An artist named Tamar Atun, who’s here in the audience tonight, we invited her to do our kind of one first sort of exhibition experiment. And this was really interesting—her practice was primarily as a sculptor, but she has been working with a group of both performers and movers in a project she called The Tamar Atun Moving Company. And so, she—I was really interested in the way that on one hand she was an artist with a very studio-based practice, but on the other hand, there’s another project of hers was about opening up her objects to performance, into dance, into public in a really interesting way. So she allowed us very generously to invite her to our very experimental program, that was sort of the hybrid between an exhibition space and a studio space, and kind of experimenting with that collectively together. So that was a project that we worked on with her in the fall called Performing Studio. And, I think, the way that I’d like to try—I don’t know— reimagine the program that we’re doing in spite sort of starting out quietly, and fluidly, and testing things out, and I think we still have a lot to learn.
We tried to do a curatorial residency at one point this year to think about what does it mean to host curators in addition to artists, and it’s a program that I think we’re still thinking about, and really fine-tuning this question. It was really interesting to me as a curator who has done residency programs, it was really interesting to watch other curators… kind of trying to make sense what that could mean in our environment. It quickly dawned on me that curators and artists need very different kind of things from those programs, so rethinking and refining those things… and I think that’s really all I need to say to introduce my institution. And just thought that I was exceptionally excited about this invitation because I thought some of the questions that you guys have posed as part of an invitation to talk about what is the relationship between residency programs and curating, we were really fascinating to be, so I’m really looking forward to delving into those a little bit more with all of you.
Jovana: Thank you Laurel. [pause] So, we share this enthusiasm about these particular examples. But I would not be here if we were not to have an agenda except critical insights and to ask the questions how really meaningfully—and that’s the question that I am grappling with. And I really, Laurel, appreciate what you said about making our—this empowerment within residency, especially when we have to address the elephant in the room, it’s like this extreme promotionally reason and expectations when you’re in New York, or in a residency such as Art Omi, you know. What about, like the front against, or you know, going along with this notion of promotion of you being, you know.. able to be contacted within Lombard, there is nothing wrong on the contrary, but one of these meaningful exchanges really doing to empower artists, in concrete examples, so I think that if we want to, you know, only from curatorial artististic as a kind of binaries, address the issues of agency, power, and responsibility, and this was my kind of hope that we would tackle with, and I think.... [microphone] please.
Claudia: Thanks a lot. As I said, that you know, we talk about residency and professional development like they always go together, which is not true, because residency is a very broad term. Let’s say museums, you know, addresses—
Claudia: —museums with different audiences. Residency doesn’t mean necessarily the artists are there because they want to become famous and in order to have a show. There are residency that are more project-based; there are residency with a bunch of phases; there are residency where you work with the local community; there are residency where you finish your own project any time and be isolated; and there are residency also with professional development that is very announced, like Art Omi. There was a lot of question about it. In terms of Art Omi, a lot of artists do apply because they want to get the chance to announce their career. However when they leave, they realize the most important aspect of the residency is not so much the connections, you know, the curators and the museum people, but is with the other artists: they learn a lot from their own peers. And also they realize they had their life-time experience of being in an environment where they meet artist from the other side of the world, sometimes countries they didn’t even know they existed, working on very different projects. So, I just want to make the distinctions about, you know, residencies and professional development not always going along because it was interesting in Agnieszka’s—she was very, well—maybe she is not going to Art Omi because it is not of her interest, but there are all the residencies that are good for people, they are, you know, established. Depending on what you are looking for, depending on what I want to find different residency, and we are all very different in recognition, in approach, and in outcome. So that is something important to say, and that is what I wanted to mention.
Host: Thank you so much. Anybody else?
Boshko: Maybe I can ask a question… about what does a curatorial direction mean within a residency context? It can be working directly with a curator but also when you are just shaping the work of an artist having like dialogue. As an administrator, as a curator, I think there are different levels where the work can be… the artists can be guide with through their residency. Yes, it can be professional development where you meet galleries’ curators, but I think there are more subtle... curatorial directions, for the lack of a better work, where you basically spend time with an artist and talk to them, for instance, “what is the body of work that you are creating for this coming six months?” What are the materials, production support that can be like testing work “are you going to print your photograph on this type of paper or that type of paper?”, having people around who kind of guide the residence, and it is kind of like, curatorial work between, you know, information work. So just sort of, maybe talk about that on these subtle levels of how artist can be, how they can be helped during the residency without being curatorial, putting on a show or a program, if there is anyone who can maybe elaborate on that?
Laurel: Yeah. We have been… I mean, I have to say, it is so much pleasure to just be around people and work and ideas, and that really marks such a different temporality and way of thinking about engaging with artists than when I was like curating exhibition out of Kunsthalle, for instance. And I think that, I also teach, I teach artists, I teach at Parsons. So I feel like sometimes my role in the residency program is kind of like a hybrid between how I feel inside of classroom and how I feel as a curator, an executive director. And it is very different for us, we work on a really small scale, I didn’t mention this. But in our residency program, we have only five studio spaces, so sometimes those spaces are communalized, so we have more than five artists. But it is always like we have such one-to-one direct relationship with our artists, and we notice quickly how different that is with different people and different practices. And one thing that I love about working on such an intimate scale and having our office literally adjacent to the studios, so one thing that is really great about that is you really get to hear every artist what you feel like they need and, you know, some artist really just want to be entirely left alone for three months, and some of them want to talk to you about what they are working on, what they are thinking about everyday. So I think the ability to be really contextual and resourceful are forms of curatorial thinking that I put to work at my job a lot.
Sean: I think that sort of the micro-curatorial—or however you put it—make a bit more sense in terms of kind of my experience and what we do as well, in that, we don’t necessarily have curators or residences or anything like that. But a lot of the times what spending our time doing on the other end is kind of supporting the people who are there. But there is also the process of deciding the group of people that you want to put together to work, especially in, like in our situation, they don’t have a discreet studio, it’s a big huge loft. And it’s sort of like figure this out together, and see how you are going to work. So it is very much—almost the way another curator, but I imagine one I think of placing work in an exhibition same as you would place body and personality in a space, so people interact with one another. So I think that, that makes it a little clearer for me now why we are, you know, included in this sort of curatorial matter. But yeah, we think of it as, related so much because we call ourselves a school that is really to do with pedagogy, so this is sort of like the summer class while the making happens, and there is the fun part of our school, which is basically working next to other people and talking about work, I think. But yeah, it is kind of curatorial, too.
Boshko: Well, I think what was really interesting what you mentioned was that you interviewed all the people among themselves, and that kind of shaped who is going to be together and how they are going to work together and kind of canceled out a little bit with your first experience where you said that the first group of people did not necessarily work together that well because their priorities were different, and you eliminated that with the interview that you had—if you want to maybe talk a little about it? Because I think the example you told me when we spoke was very good where in the interview—
Sean: Oh sure.
Boshko: —you kind of leave it out who would or who wouldn’t.
Sean: Sure. I wasn’t in, uhm… I was willing to posture sort of the one of the things through this group. The interview we have done was find out kind of who is going be a good fit—not necessarily who is a better artist or anything like that. We actually had one individual whose work was incredibly strong, really fantastic person that we were very keen at talk to and bringing into the residency through the kind of group interview format. They were sort of—we asked them to ask other potential residences questions and things like that, and very much of it was center-ground: “I have these ideas, for all of these programs that I want to put together, would you be willing to participate in them?” And while we certainly wouldn’t be prosaic, we can certainly gage that from other people, there wasn’t a lot of interested in sort or working on these particular projects that we are describing. So while it was kind of a bummer we ended sort of decide that “oh, maybe that person is not a good fit because what they want to do this maybe just wasn’t the right space for them, and they will probably go on and do very interesting things”. But in this particular context, it’s sort of like “oh, who is going to use it as, who is going to to serve the most in where we’re working in, other ways we did say about that there are so many different types of residencies, and we weren’t very specific... this thing is like a group of the eight artists who are supporting over the summer are all from different various places, but they are based in new york, but they would be all qualified for merging in so it happens that most of them are quite a bit younger. But that is sort of more along the lines of like their career trajectories we were looking at, but it is an insanely diverse groups of artists, too, which was really exciting. So that was a, it’s wonderful those type of things works themselves out from an administrative standpoint to something, but, you know.
Jovana: Ok. Now it is the time to open the… pardon?... mics... please join the conversation; we are eager to answer the questions. And don’t really put this, you know, don’t show an exchange in the dialogue that way in practice so it’s not us talking about ourselves and agreeing and nodding. Because I think that, you know, from we heard here is like the.... constructive examples, called “those ones really make things happen” transparently in order with funding, within the four members who make things happened, to experiment, to be what Laurel was saying, to make an exhibition that is experimental because we can’t look a lot of full-fledged exhibition. What can you do with that, in terms of engaging public, on the other hand like to further to pedagogical element of private work with artists. So we agree on that, but what are the questions so that... please. Yes please... there is a mic.
Audience: Yes. I am interested to know... the question is one question for each of the residency agency programs from now on. What is the selection process? How long is the residency for? Like, selection process has to come. I am curious to know when you are selecting, how, and when you are selecting the artists and end up when this is going to be, what is the gap between the timeline in between?
Claudia: It is less than a year. For Art Omi, the open call is free to artists from all over the world. We run in November. The jurors start in December and last three months. We have different peers, some online some together in—in our offices. We always invite several jurors. The critical residence also—always also juror. It is a very large panel this year because we have nine hundred and nine applications from eighty-three countries worldwide; we have twenty-five jurors, not sitting together in the same time, but twenty-five jurors throughout the three-month process. So the artists are invited in February. We invite 30 artists, and then you know, there is a lot of possible cancellations because artists can’t get visa, and numbers of things that might happen along the way. And the artists come for a month in June and July—yes, four weeks in June and July, in upstate New York. And it is once in the lifetime, they did not apply again. And it’s really like a concept where… they went on for being… for announcing professional development for the artists to culminate at residency, as well is that, Art Omi, is a place of community with for those four weeks. And I’ve actually become friends with one of the artists here in the room, and she can testify that we are a community. We are a community. What about your numbers?
Laurel: So I have only been through one round of open call so far, which I completed today the jury process of the workshop, and a few weeks back we finalized all the decisions for the residency program for the next year. I feel like there is still... I think I am still learning and understanding how to do these things and the best way to serve the organizations. We always, one thing that we do with our jury is, we always include artists who have been through our programs, so they can help guide us we always want more numbers, we always involve in x amount of numbers in, and we have a kind of many in seven programs because we work really with artists from all over the world, and I found this to be really complex because, you know, I don’t know too much about, you know, what happens in Europe art school, in Pakistan, or what contemporary art is, you know, what is happening in South Africa right now or places, you know, or many artists apply from these countries. So I think I’m struggling to understand how to picture with a really wide international knowledge and breath. One thing I thought hard about is how to make an application process that wouldn’t be too hard for artists to fill out because I actually think artists have to nowadays put so much labor into this kind of thing, so we actually try to have a really simple and streamline process and thought of care about that, and artists are always free to apply. We always take artists through open calls for all of our programs, although the residency program sometimes we have to work with international partners from specific parts of the world to bring artists here and those are—there are also ruptures and calls that run in separately in partnership with those organizations.
Guest: So the selection is really an internal process. You said that the board members that artists will… for, and that one person from the outside—
Laurel: That is the formula the institute has used for many years, and I think that I am someone who likes to—I really like to test thing and try to really pay attention to how can we, I always ask, how we can do things better. But I did say, I do have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised that it was a smooth process, and I think, you know, after thirty years of doing it and seeing what they come up with a formula that seems to work very well at the end.
Boshko: Our process is very similar because we work with artists from all over the world. So, the partner in the organizations do the open calls in the hosting countries, and we get the candidates and we have a selection committee that chooses the finalists, and it is usually six months to a year in advance before the artists come to the residency.
Sean: So we announced our summer residency program on February 1st with a deadline to apply of May—or March 1st, rather. So it was a one-month window for people to apply. I appreciate about the streamline application process because being on the other end of that sometimes it gets very muddy, and it takes a lot of busy work. And, so we ask for 5 work samples, be it still images, links to images, web pages, projects, 250 word description what they thought they might get into during their residency, and 250 word max statement about why they may work. We review within 3 days after the deadline, did the interviews the following week and then notified people of about a week later after interview with our decision. So we are much smaller in scope because it’s people who are already living here. In this program is much easier because we can say, you know, a week and a half into march, june 1st, we got this residency for you. They were probably going to be around since they live here, so it is a little… We can be a little bit more flexible with that. But the review process is relatively similar to a lot of them. I think we had 250 applicants or so? And there is a selection committee made of 7 people in Bruce, whom I don’t know, and they review all the applications and make decisions.
Jovana: Thank you. That was an excellent answer. Anybody else, questions? Please… yes please.
Audience: Hi, so… of the residency program. I am just interested in… Sorry…I am just interested in, you know, as an artist who live in residency program, there is a huge range of what’s on... in terms of financial support and what’s asked of the artists in terms of application fees and then sometimes sometimes there is a fee, sometimes is a huge fee, sometimes there is what seems like a new piece of fee. So—I don’t know—I am just interested in what comments on… at least on your experience?
Jovana: Who are you supposed to ask? Do you have a particular person? Or are you asking everybody?
Audience: Uhm just in general. because you know..
Claudia: Yeah. I am saying I didn’t understand everything, because I was having a hard time hearing. Because I thinking everybody wants to know why for certain applications do you pay for the money you apply for, but can you—rephrase some of your question?
Audience: Yeah. Just, how to think about that, and how to evaluate that, and where do those fees come from? And basically how to tell, when that is an appropriate fee, when was it being provided to you as appropriate but when you are entering into these sort of induced situation?
Claudia: OK. The first thing to think as an artist is why do you want to go to this residency. We do that, you know, those of times that I was working on two different residency at the same time I was getting applications from the same artists for both residency, exactly the same one. Which it meant that I am going to apply, I am going to apply for everything. I am just going to send the same package to all the residency. Well, suggestion: don’t do that. because so many of us are on many different panels, you know, we will be running a program in June, and running another program, and so on and so forth. So first of all, make sure you know why you are applying to the residency, and then see what you are going to get out of that. Sometimes the fee is necessary that we don’t charge fees—none of us. But sure, there is a lot of cost, at least in the cost of running an online application, especially if it is online, because we pay a fee in order to provide you with a platform where you can actually apply. so if it is a small invitation artist fund, without much of a budget, it could be okay for them to charge 10 to 15 dollars. Just to mention, many years ago, you would’ve need to print slides, going to the post office and mail it out. It is going to cost you time and money. You know, slides was like a dollar to make a copy of a slide, and you were supposed to send 15 slides, so it would cost you at least 15 dollars to send an application. And you do it, fine. And now it’s online it is supposed to be for free. It’s ok sometimes, but sometimes it’s also ok to pay. There is some applications that are very expensive. I would stay away from those that are offering gallery show, or competition for getting a booth in that art fair. So you really need to be… look for the… why you apply. That would be my suggestion.
Boshko: We don’t charge a fee for the application process, but I kind of agree with Claudia that you really need to do your homework and see, really, what the residency program is about, what they are offering you. Perhaps, maybe talking to past residence who have attended the program. I think the artists are always the best ambassadors. They will tell you… how their experience was so… that’s my advice.
Jovana: The gentleman on second floor.
Audience: Thank you. Thank you for sharing. My question is for the curators up here. What do you—what would you take away as your best experience from curating your first show, and what do you wish you would’ve, like, not happen at all. I asked this because I’ve lost the chance to curate my first show, and I don’t come from a traditional arts background. I’m one of those downtown people who just almost goes to galleries and get some persons of the things and meets people. But over the course of the years, I have been looking for natural and Faust and fractual este [sic]. I have happened to process what I’ve came to know and kind of just checking people like you to get along for the first piece of the series. But as I embarked on this, just curious—or interested in what takeaways have you curated your first show, the best take away and “oh my God, I wish that did not happen at all.” Just curious.
Laurel: I mean, I had the most unconventional start to being a curator. I started a blog but from a... following from there I was invited to curating things. My first few invitations came from commercial galleries, and I quickly learned that that was not the system for me. I did not appreciate the way that they buy in large, treated the artists as provision way of things, and really reflected on the differences between what non-profit culture provides to artists versus what commercial culture provides to them. I think of course artists still need to make a living, so I support their need to do that, but I quickly realized that if I go on to be a curator and the way that made more senses to me to work in some other kind of spaces. The first space show I did that had a budget with publicity, and was really kind of a funny, quirky show that I did at a community art center in New Jersey, and I still remember it as like one of my all time favorite curatorial experiences. It was based on an open call, you had to kind of submit sort of photographed answers—answer insane question. And, I don’t know—I think my best advice is—yeah I don’t know if you saw reflexives about your process. There are so many different kinds of ways to curate an exhibition, so many context, so many kind of artists, I think it is hard for me to give you any sort of advice without, you know, too much disciplines. But I think to really learning how to trust your own intuition is important, really caring about what you do, and really making sure that you understand the part of your role as a curator, and also kind of think carefully about how you can invest for artist and career and the art—the ways to continue to make work and the things they do. But I think—yeah. You should just figure out what make sense for you and go for it.
Audience: What about the other part?
Laurel: Oh, what was the second part of the question?
Audience: Like, what part do you wished to black out from your memory
Laurel: Oh. It is probably so black out that … I will find it later.
Jovana: Okay, that was a … does anyone else want to share? Do you have any other question? Yes please, second row.
Audience: Two…. two questions. First one, I am a little bit unclear about which programs run all-year around? It seems like some runs year around, and others, just like, for a couple months, or some for a couple weeks… anybody can answer that. And the hard question is, funding. I am just curious if any of you are willing to talk about how your organization is funded, and how you survive?
Boshko: I can start. Our residency is 10 months. We run from February until November, and basically the residency starts anywhere from 3 to 6 months. They start in February, May, and September. They are longer, they are kind of bridged. We—our budget is not that big, most of our funding comes from international sources, because I would say 95% of our residents come from overseas. We also do get local funding, but proportionally to our budget is very tiny, like NYSCA from cultural affairs, some corporate funding that we get. And this—does this answer your question?
Claudia: Art Omi is only one month long in June and July for four weeks. We are large organization, we sometimes sponsor seven programs. We also have a special part. we have a very large campus, so we have a large budget. We were actually started—we’re related… (Laurel: I do notice! [laugh] ) The Art Omi founder was actually a board member at Triangulars, and he likes it so much that they decided to start to create their own teppich, in the South we call it. So our funding is mixed. We have—we’re very lucky to have our founder still around and around our campus. But also we apply for government grants, for private grants, we look for for international partners, so it is a mix of different things. We do fundraisers, both in the city and upstate. It’s a number of combination of things.
Sean: Uhm.. hello? Our, so our program for emerging artists is just three months. It’s June to August. Getting to September is for visiting artists, one of which would be to live and work in the space. That would be all-year around. So it would be a rolling deadline for people to apply. And, much of the same, our funding is a mix of blend between private donations, fundraising and grant writing.
Laurel: We are anti-programs. We do a two-weekend workshop that happen at usually about every two years, and then we also have a year-around residency program in DUMBO, in Brooklyn. And you know, like everyone else, it is a mix of funding resources. I will say that, I found artists residency programs to be more challenging to find grant support for the exhibition work I’ve done, or publishing books. Which is interesting to know, and I think that something we should really think about is organization because I do really think we need to figure out how to protect that resource for artists more and more. And one interesting aspect of my organization—because it is, you know, thirty-three years old because so many artists had such a unique experience there, we find that a ton of our alumni support us, and we do fundraisers. And there is something really beautiful about the way from people who benefit from your program and want to give back to it. And that’s my favorite one—one of my favorite bit about funding.
Jovana: One last question. Yes, please. The lady in the first row. The mic...
Audience: Does anybody here have experience with… transferred artists, and that most of them are—how to guidance, the way how the residency is used. Like, they don’t know—like Agnieszka, is maybe one of these rare artists who knows exactly what to expect and how to use residency in the best way. Most of them: they really don’t know. Sometimes they are lost, sometimes it’s for the production, some it’s about meeting people, art professionals. And I’m interested because I see globally—ever growing globally—and I see many of artists—not like here, like from artists coming from backgrounds—real artists to start to open residency all over the world... like countries that are under development, like Thailand, like Phillipines. I have artist friend who rented a little flat in Brooklyn from Philippines; she is constructing residency. And the relying of this type of residency is completely different than the residencies we are talking about here. At the same time, the number of collectors to the opening of residency is, well, very big. And the dynamics to those residencies are again different, and then we would like to know—bringing everybody here—about to toss the dynamics of into the way of seeing a residency problem in different way than the one we were talking tonight.
Sean: We are an artist-run residency at ours, so that is all I can say to you about that.
Audience: And about the collectors?
Sean: I don’t know anything about collectors myself [laugh]. I am being honest. We really don’t know about that in our residency, but that’s all, we are a small residency...
Audience: This is not. I was talking only not about from New York. And this is the same problem in Europe. If you inform yourself a little bit more, then you will see different type of function.
Sean: I would actually like to learn about that. So maybe I could—
Audience: Yeah, right? [laugh]
Sean: Because I don’t know...
Jovana: Just to... jumping to continuing the event that is, you know. We actually ask specific question to look into different perspectives with our guests within the context, the atmosphere in new york, so this is kind of our first sentence that I ask you to contribute so you know, this is not a panel opening to all things that are happening. And in terms of you know, collectors, and I apologize that it isn’t something that we could address, but we want to be as specific enough, right? In order to be critical and to talk about things we are involved with is… as I am in education and you’re in an artist-run residency in specific kind of non-profit sector. So we are not, you know, we can just say “yes, we know exist,” but I don’t know you would find something that is...
Laurel: Well, I did just want to say that, you know, I don’t think that the these artist-run programs are anything new. One of the really difficult friends with the Triangle stories that I mentioned, is that when artists are from all different places around the world and came living in these programs, they’re often at home and start their Triangles of their own. So we are also part of a network of more than 30 sister organizations from around the world. Many of places that is—where they happened have very little art structure before our Triangle emerged. So we have been trying to think about how to distribute resources globally for, you know, several decades now. And I think that artist-run spaces have a really different character than other kinds of things, and I don’t really know much about collector-run residencies, but I would ask questions about—you know, there are conflicts and interest in that bottle. I think it’s a case-by-case basis, and that is not to say that collectors couldn’t nurture interesting relationships with artists as it’s worth working interestingly. But—and I don’t know—but for me, I like to try to draw some clear lines and ask those kind of questions. I would also like to hear more from you after the talk about these things that you are referring to because I don’t know too much about that happening in other places.
Audience: Thank you.
Agnieszka: I think that… the reason why artists are sometimes digging up this task of opening their own residencies, and then like is the fact that—I think that the major problem that occurs was artists residencies is that a lot of artists, they don’t—they don’t exactly know what to expect. I know which you were pointing to, and they are expecting something wrong from them and they don’t know also how to what to make the best of what is actually happening at the residency. Like, I have so many artists coming to new york for various residencies, and they just didn’t—they were expecting that everything will be organized for them, and that is not always the case. Artists kind of have to also actively participate and prepare themselves very often for this residencies, you know, is like, and... what I was saying earlier about how I am preparing myself for the residency, at the MIT, is that I finally realized it’s just like that it is very easy to just go hop somewhere and not take advantage of it properly. And there are so many people, who has especially come to New York, and they are expecting that everything is going to be served to them, and they are going to immediately be introduced to the best—curators and galleries, and…. and a lot of these is also like the hard work of an artists to… try to at least like... meet some people, and nothing is going to be organized for them. And I see a lot of like—because there are a lot of artists from Poland who come to different residencies in new york. Most of them are very disappointed because they are just like thinking “Oh. So, I am going to arrive as an unknown artists; I am going to leave with like major solo shows ever.” And this is a very common attitude. Even among very good artists. There is nothing to do with like…it is… basically there is kind of this misunderstanding. I think that I’m sometimes very sorry for the curators and directors of residency, who have to then deal with this problem, how to explain to the artists that this is not what a residency can offer, but it’s also—there should be some work that should be coming from the artists. Unfortunately, they use residency only as a way to relocate to another country, and to…yeah. It is like a major problem. Yeah, I mean, this is like my experience being in talking to a lot of artists, it is that people just use residency to get a free stay in a different country. They are not really interested in involve—getting involved with the community of artists. Yeah, it’s a common problem. I always feel very sorry for the directors of residency that have to deal with it because some artists can really pretend that they are, and then in reality they aren’t.
Jovana: Any response from the audience? Yes, please. Lady in the first row.
Audience: Okay, thank you… I don’t think there is too much we can do about human expectation. And I think that keeping in a direct sense of art and have problem with adjusting to things... We all have that. It’s important to acknowledge that what we are doing right here, as a human being around the world, and you find yourself attracted to something that you don’t know. And here is a residency is an opportunity—looks like an opportunity to grow. You never know what is going to force you to grow because growth has so much process. So, I think that keeping a sense of humor about human nature is an important factor in all of this.
Jovana: I really want to add something to this speaker because this is something—because it’s kind of like getting out of the comfort zone, is maybe the—you know, one of the biggest challenges for residency and for pedagogical institution. But I see that Tommy is looking at me, and you know, I cannot know what you say—and what you want to say...
Audience: Yeah, I’m just curious because you were talking about before about a curator being in a residency, and the difficulty for a curator. How a curator can really define a group exhibition of—a group of artists who in there have nothing to do in common to be in the place, except they just came there residency to work with both of you? No curator, in another context in the residency would choose them to be in the show. So when, do you visit them in the end of residency—
Claudia: No. Critics in a residency—they are not to curate a show. They’re there to exchange—a meaningful exchange with the artists. And, they’re absolutely directly in conformance with the final outcome. We also encourage the artists to experiment and not be afraid of failure. They still understood even though something like a bunch of people attending an open studio is not like a gallery show. So we usually talk to the artists about being open to this immediate—this is an open studio, people are gonna tend to see what you worked on during the residency. And sometimes artists do go to the critic and ask for advice on what to show and what not to show. But it’s really not about that show. And there is another primary reason which we make a critic in residence with the artist. The idea is to create an exchange, and not curating a show. Now the next question.
Boshko: Just to transfer to your question—we do it exactly that… the opposite way. We tell curators with which artists to work with, and yet it’s true: these artists might’ve never been in an exhibition together. And we kind of do it the other way around. But the most important part is that they work together for about three months, so it’s more of a dialogue of putting these people together, and coming with solutions and outcomes. And it’s just for one or two days, so it’s not—you are not talking about like an exhibition in a white-cubed gallery and have the pressure of having it for four weeks and the press is gonna come. So a lot of times, these outcomes come to whatever done it’s exactly who these dialogues—it’s not that the curator who sees these just once and then there is a show. They kind of talk for about two to two and a half months, and there are all these problems, and they come up with solutions, and usually it’s things that we wouldn’t expect. And I think there is a value to that.
Jovana: Shall we say goodbye? I want to thank everybody for coming and follow what they’re doing here at SVA and Residency Unlimited. Thank you very much.
Transcript by Audrey Tseng