Farrell: In many of the responses people have indeed referred to their institutions as hybrids… I don’t think I missed the point at all. And when you say “we”, who are you speaking for? I agree that institutions can wear many hats, but ultimately the most successful institutions seem to be the ones with clearly defined mission, vision and value statements and programming that buttress the institutional goals. Maybe part of the point raised here is that institutions are in the process of redefining themselves and new models need to emerge. I think it would be more productive to discuss these “new” models rather than discounting other viewpoints raised on this panel.
I don’t think it is naive at all to think that contemporary curators on the West coast know about contemporary artists from Africa. With Franklin Sirmans and Christine Kim at LACMA, Shamim Momim at the Los Angeles Nomadic Division, Lauri Firstenberg at LA><ART, the arrival of Jeffrey Deitch at MOCA LA, the important done work by Okwui Enwezor and Hou Hanru up in San Francisco, the list of curators could go on. Additionally, I only raised the point of Nick Cave as you brought him into the discussion. I love his work and have also shown him at SCAD & commissioned a major performance from him for our deFINE ART 2009 series. I just don’t see how he figures into this dialogue about contemporary African art.
I would encourage curators to have a broader reach with contemporary artists. Is it productive to only show artists once they have entered the cannon of contemporary art? As curators we have a responsibility to develop new talent and bring a broader range of voices into the mix. This is an area where I think curators who are out doing the research, visiting the galleries, following the international art scene (including in Africa), reading the publications and keeping their finger on the pulse of what is new and emerging will be able to break new ground and make additional contributions to the field.