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Since 1960: Contemporary Art and the Stakes of Criticism

  • Metcalf Auditorium, Chace Center, RISD Museum 20 North Main Street Providence, RI, 02903 United States (map)

To commemorate the donation of New Yorker writer Calvin Tomkins’ art book archive to the Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport, RI, the Redwood is partnering with RISD to present a day-long symposium on art criticism ‘since 1960,’ the year Tomkins began writing for the New Yorker. The symposium will address the relationship of Tomkins’ signature mode of writing—the profile—to other types of contemporary art writing. A range of voices, including critics, curators, artists and scholars, will ask: what is the place of subjectivity in contemporary art criticism? 

The event commences on Thursday October 25, 2018 with a keynote titled Art and Critique by renowned art historian and critic Richard Shiff, and is followed by two panels on Friday October 26: The Place of the Self and Artist-Writer. A range of voices, including critics, curators, artists and scholars will ask: what is the place of artistic subjectivity in contemporary art criticism? Participants include leading figures such as Roberta Smith (New York Times Co-Chief Art Critic) and internationally acclaimed curator, Massimiliano Gioni (curator of the 2013 Venice Biennale and artistic director at the New Museum, New York), Randy Kennedy, former New York Times art world reporter, and currently head of special projects at Hauser & Wirth, Moyra Davey, internationally renowned artist and writer, John Miller, artist, writer, Barnard College professor and RISD alumnus and Roger White, artist, writer, editor, and RISD faculty.

Contemporary artist Ed Ruscha has created a painting, Ex Libris (2017), and a series of interpretive lithographs after it to mark Tomkins’ gift, which are on view at the Redwood until October 28, 2018. 

This symposium has been generously funded by the VIA Art Fund, as well as RISD’s Liberal Arts Research Collaboration & Event Grant. 

Keynote Speaker: Richard Shiff

Image: Ed Ruscha, Ex Libris, 2017, Acrylic on canvas
© Ed Ruscha. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian.