Francis Alÿs,  When Faith Moves Mountains , 2002

Francis Alÿs, When Faith Moves Mountains, 2002

The Gradual Contemporary: Conversations on Contemporary Art

The spring 2018 RISD Grad Commons lecture series, The Gradual Contemporary, seeks out some of the most daring and forthright voices in the field of contemporary art, inviting them to think aloud, foil expectations, cut through nonsense, and to ponder the ever billowing contours of the gradual contemporary.

The lecture series accompanies a RISD graduate seminar of the same name, so called because it defines contemporary art both as a process—a gradual temporal and geographic process that defies periodization or mapping—and as a form of cognitive processing. Although this processing assumes a multitude of forms—whether through rehearsals of witnessing, documenting, archiving, projecting or appropriating—these seemingly disparate activities all appear to be motivated by a single logic: the impulse to process history. To this end, this course proposes contemporary art as a historical project—a project in which the activities of working through, repeating or remembering take on other, metaphoric guises—such as mining, erasing, rewinding or melting. Through the lens of process, understood as both a material pragmatics and an elastic metaphorics, the class outlines some of the key issues and historical pressures that shape contemporary art.

The seminar and lecture series are organized by Leora Maltz-Leca with the support of the RISD Provost’s Office. It is a collaboration among RISD’s Divisions of Graduate Studies, Liberal Arts, and Fine Arts and is enabled in part by the generous support of the Robert Lehman Foundation, New York.



For lectures delivered previously in this series please visit the Events Archive page.