Activating the Archive: Dialectics of Isolation
Talk within the frame of the exhibition Making Something From Nothing. Highlights From the A.I.R. Gallery Archives
With Fiona McGovern and Janice Mitchell
In 1980, artists Ana Mendieta, Kazuko Miyamoto and Zarina organized the exhibition Dialectics of Isolation: An Exhibition of Third World Women Artists of the United States at A.I.R. Gallery in New York. In recent years, the exhibition has been the subject of some scholarly research and in 2018, a curatorial restaging was presented at A.I.R Gallery, yet it is still understudied. Dialectics of Isolation is an exhibition that—despite a shift in wording and discourse—still resonates with current exhibition practices and related debates, not just in the US, but also here. In their conversation, Janice Mitchell and Fiona McGovern will take the current exhibition at Stations as a starting point to take a closer look at the historical and societal circumstances of this curatorial endeavor, asking how can we talk about this exhibition from today's perspective? And based on what material? They will discuss some of the archival material on display at Stations, and bring in additional material, to discuss artistic and curatorial practice, the (lacking, or often delayed) recognition of the artists involved, and trace the (changing) art historical reception of Dialectics of Isolation.
Fiona McGovern is an art historian, writer, and curator. In her research, curatorial and educational practice she focusses on questions regarding (artistic) exhibition history and historiography, ethics of curating as well as interdisciplinary approaches within the arts informed by a queer-feminist perspective. Since 2018, she holds a junior professorship for curatorial practice and art mediation at the University of Hildesheim.
Janice Mitchell is a curator of contemporary art. Her research focus lies on contemporary art, digital culture, and the intersection of art, society, and politics. From July 2018 to October 2020, she was a Terra Foundation for American Art fellow at Museum Ludwig, where she curated the exhibition Mapping the Collection. She lived and worked in London for several years and is currently a PhD candidate at Central Saint Martins on contemporary institutional critique as critique of capitalism and neoliberalism.
Thanks to Garth Greenan Gallery, New York.