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INTERROGATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS: Rethinking the Language Around Art

Large, jumbled beige text in all capital letters on an acid green background reads Interrogation and its Discontents. In smaller beige text interspersed withing the jumbled text, also in all capital letters, this phrase is repeated more legibly with the words Rethinking the Language Around Art beneath it.

INTERROGATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS: Rethinking the Language Around Art
A panel discussion with Mira Dayal, Tom McGlynn, and Seph Rodney
Moderated by Taney Roniger

Saturday, October 26, 2019, 5-7pm

With the rise of hybrid practices, interdisciplinary collaborations, and various modes of art as social engagement, the language in which visual art is framed has become increasingly didactic. Today we’ve come to expect every press release and artist’s statement to offer a litany of ideas that the work purportedly “advances,” as if visual art were nothing more than a vehicle for discursive content. Riddled with the turgid prose of academic dissertations, these texts often seem intent on explaining the work – and, obligatorily, its relevance to the larger culture. But as visual art becomes ever-more discursive, there is a growing concern among many that something is being lost, that despite whatever cultural capital the rhetoric might seem to grant it, visual art is losing sight of its very reason for being.

With this panel we will have an honest discussion about the ways in which current art language has affected our field and what artists in particular might do to initiate a change. With an eye toward promoting a more subtle approach, we will discuss what constitutes good art writing and what the latter can (and cannot) achieve. Audience members will be encouraged to offer thoughts and suggestions in an extended question-and-answer session after the panelists’ presentations.

Taney Roniger is a visual artist and writer based in New York. Her work has been shown in a number of venues in the States and abroad, including Robert Henry Contemporary, Lesley Heller Workspace, Sperone Westwater, The Islip Art Museum, and StandPipe Gallery in New York; the Contemporary Arts Center and The Front in New Orleans; and the Pera Museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Her awards and honors include three Yaddo fellowships, a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and a traveling fellowship from the Stacey Sussman Cavrell Memorial Foundation. Since 2012 she has been a contributing writer at the Brooklyn Rail, where she served as Guest Editor in December 2017. Her writing has also appeared in HyperallergicWhitehot Magazine, artcritical, Big Red & Shiny, and Interalia Magazine. In 2016 she was a finalist for the Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant in short-form non-fiction. She holds an MFA from Yale University and a BFA from the School of Visual Arts, where she teaches in the Fine Arts Department and Honors Program.

Mira Dayal is an artist, critic, and curator based in New York. She is the founding editor of the Journal of Art Criticism, co-curator of the collaborative artist publication prompt:, and an associate editor at Artforum, where she is a regular contributor. In recent texts she has focused on the work of Mona Hatoum, Nina Katchadourian, Marianna Simnett, Camilo Godoy, and Will Rawls. Her studio work often involves site-specific engagements with materials and has been shown at Gymnasium, Lubov, NURTUREart, NARS Foundation, A.I.R. Gallery, Abrons Art Center, and other spaces. Her publications are collected by MoMA Library, Barnard College Library, SVA Library, Notts Zine Library, and fathom library. She was recently a curatorial fellow at SOHO20, where she organized a series of panels on solidarity and feminism in art criticism.

Seph Rodney, PhD was born in Jamaica and came of age in the Bronx, New York. He has an English degree from Long Island University, Brooklyn; a studio art MFA from the University of California, Irvine; and a PhD in museum studies from Birkbeck College, University of London. While in London, he created, produced, and hosted a radio show called The Thread, broadcast on Resonance FM from 2008-2011. He is a senior editor and writer for Hyperallergic, writing on contemporary art and related issues. He has also written for CNN Op-ed pages, American Craft magazine and NBC Universal, and penned catalog essays for Joyce J. Scott, Teresita Fernandez, and Meleko Mokgosi. He can be heard on the podcast “The American Age.” His book, The Personalization of the Museum Visit, was published by Routledge on May 31, 2019. In 2006, he was a featured speaker in the Favorite Poem Project.

Tom McGlynn is an artist, writer, and independent curator based in the NYC area. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Cooper- Hewitt National Design Museum of the Smithsonian. He is an editor at large at the Brooklyn Rail, where he has contributed articles and criticism since 2012. His most recent show of paintings was held at Rick Wester Fine Art in NYC in the fall of 2017, and he will be showing a new suite of paintings there in the spring of 2020. He currently maintains a studio at Sharpe-Walentas in Brooklyn, where he was awarded a 2019-2020 residency.

CUE Art Foundation is wheelchair accessible. Service dogs are welcome. There is an all-gender, ADA compliant, single stall bathroom in the gallery. The space is not scent-free, but we do request that people attending come low-scent. The closest wheelchair accessible MTA subway stations are Penn Station and Herald Square Station.

Earlier Event: October 10
Method as Trace
Later Event: November 1
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