2011 Alfred Z. Solomon Residency:
Art Criticism — Issues & Practice with Nicolás Guagnini

The 2011 Alfred Z. Solomon Residency engages long-standing as well as recent debates on the nature and practice of art criticism. Recent articles and texts suggest a “crisis” in the state of criticism, citing a critical “free for all” in which, especially in this digital age, an author’s credibility and a text’s standing are simply unknown. Thus it is an ideal time to bring noted critics and experts to campus, highlighting the complexities of art criticism and its potential as a literary and cultural practice.

Over the last fifty years, the demands and conditions of late capitalism have inexorably reshaped expectations surrounding the classical modernist artwork, especially with the emphasis in information generated by 1960s Conceptual art. The emergence of the artist critic represents a significant response to these changes. Artist writers rigorously and explicitly interrogated these terms, moving from an excavation of the white cube to a global critique of visual culture per se. For them, artworks and critique might trade places, merge, sometimes displace each other or — at the very least — offset each other. Taken together the efforts of artist critics challenged the presumed universality of the modernist subject, brought the specific identities and histories of artists and audiences increasingly to bear on contemporary art and rethought distribution and spectatorship with a strong emphasis in self-organization.

How has this affected artists’ relationship to the critical reception of their work? What has changed and what hasn’t in assimilation and legitimation processes? How do those changes operate within academic art historical discourse, institutional acceptance, and journalistic criticism? Within that context, Nicolás Guagnini will try to challenge the critical reception of his last exhibition in the September issue of Artforum.

Nicolás Guagnini is an accomplished artist, curator and critic. He has exhibited his work internationally, including in established museum and exhibition spaces like El Museo Del Barrio, New York; Sculpture Center, New York; Art in General, New York: Exit Art, New York; Site Santa Fe, New Mexico; MADC, the Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, San José, Costa Rica; Museum of Modern Art, Buenos Aires; and the Museum of Modern Art, Sao Paulo, Brazil. A co-founder of Orchard Gallery in New York, Nicolás has curated, most notably, an exhibit of video art at MOMA, New York (9 Screens, 2010). His writing has appeared in Artforum, Bomb Magazine, CAA Reviews, Modern Painters, October, Parkett, Cabinet and Time Out. Additionally Nicolás has published essays, comments and interviews in many exhibition catalogues. Nicolás also brings to the Residency an international perspective grounded in his biography as well as professional practice.

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