The Visible Hand: Curated by David Borgonjon
January 7 - February 15, 2017
Opening Reception, Saturday January 7, 6-8pm

This early iteration of the HR-inspired series Personnel, by Maureen Connor, presented wearable shelving units to address a storage shortage at the Fundacio Antonio Tapies. Image courtesy of the artist.


Chloë Bass
Maureen Connor
Devin Kenny
Jen Liu. 


Art As Service
Symposium: Sat. January 28, 1-6PM

Artists ________ Institutions
Workshop: Sat. February 4, 1-7PM

Discussion: Sat. February 11, 7-9PM


Drawing on a business history term for management—the visible hand—as a corrective to the invisible forces of the market, this show posits art as a form of managerial practice. After all, artists already live, breathe and work as single-person institutions.

The artists presented in The Visible Hand set aside the too-convenient narrative of art as an oppositional critique of corporate management, and propose art as existing within and alongside institutions rather than outside of them. The works here reflect on the entire process of artistic production, from early socialization to the arts education system to market pressures to systems of distribution, consumption and storage.

Jen Liu’s The Pink Detachment paintings depict a series of large feminine fingers pushing and prodding, across a semi-abstract manufactured landscape. Liu’s exploration of power in the soft, affective form it often takes today draws on the colors and images of meatpacking, ballet, and Foxconn. These figures stand in for forces that are all around us but still too slippery to point to.

Chloë Bass is a conceptual artist co-creating performances, publications, situations, and installations. The Book of Everyday Instruction is an eight-chapter project about one-on-one social interaction, investigating different iterations of “the pair.” Chapter Six: What is shared, what is offered, focuses on the metaphor of blending flavors. The first “course” of this chapter, to imagine intimacy not just between people, but between people and institutions.

Maureen Connor’s Personnel, initiated in 1999, turns exhibitions into opportunities to solve challenges relating to human resources in the cultural institution. Connor’s installations provide privacy, storage, water, or any other needs that surface during her research into the working conditions of art organizations. Documentation of several of her early projects will be on view, as will evidence of an ongoing new work.

BFAMFAPhD is a collective that works at the intersection of art, technology, and political economy. Ten Leaps: A Lexicon for Art Education is a free resource for educators that can be used to analyze and reimagine power relationships in the arts. The text, workbook, and card game are tools that prompt investigations into the whole life of projects—from sourcing, to production, to presentation and archiving. Susan Jahoda, Emilio Martinez Poppe, Caroline Woolard are the core contributors to Ten Leaps.

Interdisciplinary artist, writer and musician Devin Kenny will present a prototype of a platform for streamlined commissioning systems for artwork; his project proposes to disintermediate the gallery from the art collection process, so that collectors can easily commission new works directly from the artist through an easy graphic interface. Kenny’s project for The Visible Hand is produced in collaboration with Kevin Chen, a graphic designer and illustrator whose work can be found at

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View catalogue

Art Critic Mentoring Program essay: "The Visible Hand" by Rachel Valinsky

Jen Liu, The Pink Detachment: Principle of Secure Infrastructure, 2016

The Visible Hand is organized by David Borgonjon, who believes that artists have the power to make organizations work better. He is curator at Eyebeam, a studio for technology by artists, and a founder of, a Chinese-language website for media art criticism.

This exhibition is accompanied by a 32-page color catalogue, which includes essays by David Borgonjon and Rachel Valinsky. Rachel Valinsky is an independent curator, writer, and translator, as well as co-founder of the alternative library Wendy’s Subway. She is currently Writer-in-Residence for CUE Art Foundation and Art21 Magazine’s partner program. The catalogue is available free of charge to gallery visitors. For more information please contact Programs Manager Shona Masarin-Hurst at



CUE Art Foundation’s exhibition program presents new and exceptionally strong work by under-recognized and emerging artists based in the United States. CUE is committed to exhibiting work in any medium from artists of all ages.

This exhibition is the winning selection from the 2016-17 Open Call for Curatorial Projects. The proposal was unanimously selected by a jury comprised of panelists Herb Tam, Curator and Director of Exhibitions at the Museum of Chinese in America; Michelle Grabner, artist and writer; and Leslie Hewitt, artist. This program provides one deserving curator the necessary time and resources to realize an innovative project, with the aim of encouraging curatorial research in tandem with exhibition planning. In line with CUE’s commitment to providing substantive professional development opportunities, panelists also serve as mentors to the curator, providing support throughout the process of developing the exhibition.


Art As Service
Symposium: Saturday, January 28, 1-6PM

This day-long symposium examines models for artists to participate in institutions outside of what’s traditionally understood as art. The models on the table draw on traditions as diverse as institutional critique, political organizing, social practice and management strategy. What if we treated art not as a good, but as a service? We will pay special attention to the way that artists are increasingly finding positions for themselves inside institutions that exist outside of the art world, and to the question of scalable impact for the imagination. View video recordings of the panel discussions here.

Artists ________ Institutions
Workshop: Saturday, February 4, 1-7PM

This day-long intensive is intended to equip artists with skills and ideas for founding, tending, and closing institutions. Each of the three parts of the intensive will be led by an artist mentor (including BFAMFAPhD, Chloe Bass, and Christina Xu). This workshop is suited for artists who are planning to or currently participating in institiutions, whether in the form of DIY art spaces, day jobs, arts administration, community organizing or entrepreneurship. Spaces are limited. Light, late lunch is provided. Participation requires application and a nominal fee that can be waived on a need basis.

Discussion: Saturday, February 11, 7-9PM

In this session of Artist/Admin, we will share different ways to work simultaneously as both an artist and arts administrator. Topics covered will include organizing as artistic practice, efficient management of studio time, and balancing paid/unpaid, part-time/full-time, and permanent/temporary work. Artist/Admin is an intimate monthly meeting focused on workshopping new forms for the cultural institution. All artists and administrators are welcome to attend this mix between a support group, a skill-share, and a reading club.


How Art Making Is a Type of Management
Hyperallergic, by Alexis Clements
January 2017

Review: The Visible Hand at CUE Art Foundation
Temporary Art Review, by Gretchen Coombs
April 2017