Hogeschool Rotterdam Willem de Kooning Academie

Public lecture with Azar Mahmoudian

Public lecture with Azar Mahmoudian

Date and time: Tuesday 15th of October 2019, 7pm
Location: Karel Doormanhof 45, 3012 GC Rotterdam

Azar Mahmoudian is an independent curator and educator based in Tehran.
Her recent projects include “When Legacies Become Debts” at The Mosaic Rooms, London (2019); multi-chaptered film program, “Sensible Grounds/Tectonics of Camaraderie, for Tensta Konsthall, MAAT, SAVVY Contemporary, and Fundació Antoni Tàpies, among others (2018-2020); “Staging a change” and “Shifting Panoramas” at TMOCA, Tehran, and DAZ, Berlin (2018).

About the lecture: As sites of experimentation under less inhibited circumstances, self-organised and small-scale art institutions host projects that take different sorts of risks in face of the aesthetic ecologies of contemporary art world. Yet they hardly engage in creating a self-sustained and independent network, which can take care of its own models and values.  Instead, most of them often deploy the same methods or instruments of credibility that the mainstream art world follows, specifically in regard to the neoliberal agendas of visibility, inclusivity and myths of accessibility.

So these initiatives only complicate the shape of social, political, and economic strata of contemporary art world, while leaving its overall power relations, associated economies and prevailing value systems intact. This make those who work for these initiatives feel that their efforts have fed the mainstream at the end; a logic of “gentrification” that small-scale art institutions often lapse into.

Following some case studies, this lecture suggests fundamental considerations in regard to the slippery notion of the “public” of/for art, and potential of small scale and self-organized art spaces in adopting strategies of insulation, subversive invisibility, and inversion of private and public domain, for the benefit of “the communal”, and “interpretive communities”.