International curators take a stand
For the Curators’ Picks series, VIENNA ART WEEK has invited six international curators to Vienna whose work focuses on new technologies and digital innovations. This is not a coincidence. After all, the art week’s motto this year is »Transforming Technology.« Hardly any other development has revolutionized artistic processes to the degree manifest in the automation and digitalization of recent years. What new options do we see? Are new technologies a blessing or a curse? Questions like these are paramount to the invited curators’ work.
»The lively Viennese art scene will enable many collaborations with the Israeli art scene, which, too, is undergoing changes and renewal. The field of art – especially that of photography – has had to redefine itself in recent years, and in this process I see the possibility of dialogue and deepening between the two places.«
Raz Samira has worked for the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (TAMA) since 2002 (as curator of modern art from 2014 to 2017, and as curator of photography since 2017). She has realized nine exhibitions at TAMA and over 50 shows on diverse subjects as an independent curator in close cooperation with Tel Aviv’s contemporary art scene. She publishes regularly in journals and catalogues, edits books, and organizes large-scale multi-disciplinary art events at TAMA.
»What I like most about Vienna is the mélange of an extremely strong art-historical background and a very active and fierce young scene. The institutions are outstanding and the way they support artists is admirable. In my mind, Viennese art will always be embodied by the figure of the late Franz West, the epitome of freedom and elegance.«
Julie Boukobza is an independent curator and art critic based in Paris. She writes regularly for »artpress,« »l’Express,« »Numéro« and »Double Magazine.« Recent projects include the group show »FADE IN« at the Belgrade Museum of Contemporary Art (with Simon Castets), »Pure Fiction« at the Marian Goodman Gallery, and a Peter Shire solo show at the New Galerie (both in Paris). She has run the 89plus residency program at Google Cultural Institute since 2013 and collaborates with its initiators Hans Ulrich Obrist and Simon Castets in realizing exhibition projects for 89plus, most recently at Musée d’Art Moderne, Monnaie de Paris and Foundation Cartier.
»I am very excited to be participating in VIENNA ART WEEK this year. Particularly the opportunity to visit Metalab, a critically important and early hacker space which has been responsible for activities from early net.art to shaping the foundations of 3D printing. I know Vienna as the place that birthed Viennese Actionism and as home to some of the most important artists of the last decades, including Ubermorgen.«
Ben Vickers is a curator, explorer, technologist and luddite. He is CTO at the Serpentine Galleries in London and initiator of the open-source monastic order »unMonastery.«
»With its many museums, artists, art schools, galleries, strong collector base, comparatively affordable cost of living, and proximity to so many other cultural capitals in the east, west, north and south, Vienna’s art scene looks really sustainable and strong to me. I always tell artists who live there that they have an amazing working environment they should not take for granted.«
Susan Hapgood is a curator and Executive Director of the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York. After starting out at the Guggenheim Museum and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York she was founding director of the Mumbai Art Room in India and senior advisor for Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. Hapgood’s exhibitions include »A Fantastic Legacy: Early Bombay Photography« and »Energy Plus« (Shanghai Biennale 2012). Regular publications on contemporary art.
Taylor Le Melle
»The Vienna art scene appears to be vibrant and well-supported, which allows for an impressive mix of Austria-based and international artists to have amazing exhibition opportunities year-round. The physical proximity of the many organizations in MuseumsQuartier Wien holds great potential for interdisciplinary exchange.«
Taylor Le Melle is a curator, writer and researcher. Previous shows curated by Taylor include venues like the McKenna Museum of Art (New Orleans), the Chisenhale Dance Space, Arcadia Missa and Assembly Point (all in London). Taylor is now assistant curator of the Serpentine Galleries’ Public Programs series of interdisciplinary film, music, performance and dance (London). She has a long-standing collaboration with artist Zadie Xa, for whom she has written scripts for a film and four performances. She also runs »PSS Press« (London) with editor Rowan Powell.
»With its rich art infrastructure – from artist-run spaces through commercial galleries to well- established public institutions – Vienna has a plethora of options to choose from. But on a personal level I have always been drawn to its fantastic heritage of performative arts, experimental music and cinema. It is precisely this spirit of the avant-garde that draws me to Vienna and its vibrant cultural offerings.«
Natalia Sielewicz is a curator at the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art. Her curatorial accomplishments in 2017 include »Hoolifemmes,« a show using performativity as a tool of empowerment and resistance against the Ministry of Interior, and »Intimacy as Text,« which investigates the effect and poetics of the confession in literature and visual arts. In 2016 and 2015 she curated »Private Settings. Art after the Internet,« one of the first surveys worldwide to address the impact of new communication technologies and data spheres on contemporary art and identity politics.