A LECTURE BY James Voorhies
In his new book Beyond Objecthood: The Exhibition as a Critical Form since 1968, art historian and curator James Voorhies traces the changing role of the spectator in art and exhibitions from Minimalism to Relational Art, and New Institutionalism to the present. The narrative is bracketed by American artist Robert Smithson’s seminal non-sites, which asked spectators to look, walk, view, read, and think about combinations of objects, images, and texts installed in a gallery, and the Swedish curator Maria Lind’s groundbreaking renovations of the exhibition form and the museum space into something more active, open, and democratic, inviting the public into new and unexpected encounters with works of art and institutions. Voorhies’s talk, You Just Have to Experience It, draws a line through these histories by looking at work by Thomas Hirschhorn, Carsten Höller, Anne Imhof, Maria Lind, Martha Rosler, Hito Steyerl, Apolonija Šušteršič, and Harald Szeemann at venues such as Documenta, Kunstverein München, Skulptur Projekte Münster, the New Museum, and the Venice Biennale to pose questions about the continued potential of the exhibition as a critical form – or medium – in a time when the differences between art and entertainment increasingly blur.
The talk will be immediately followed by a book signing at the Wexner Center Bookshop.
James Voorhies received his Ph.D. from the History of Art Department at the Ohio State University in 2012. He is currently Dean of Fine Arts and Associate Professor of Contemporary Art at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Prior to CCA, he served as the first John R. and Barbara Robinson Family Director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University where he taught art history and curatorial practice in Visual and Environmental Studies and taught art and public space at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. His recent publications include an edited volume titled What Ever Happened to New Institutionalism? (Sternberg Press, 2016); Martin Beck: An Organized System of Instructions (Sternberg Press, 2017); and Beyond Objecthood: The Exhibition as a Critical Form since 1968 (MIT Press, 2017). He is currently working on a book titled Binding Agents: Toward an Aesthetic of the Colonial in Contemporary Exhibition.