New Institutions

5th Annual UC San Diego Visual Art Graduate Student Conference

Saturday, 7 April 2012 // 10:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Visual Arts Facility / Performance Space on Russell Lane
UC San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, California 92093

Free and Open to the Public

This year the visual arts department will showcase the academic vigor and creativity of the graduate student body with the 5th Annual Graduate Student Conference titled New Institutions. The term New Institutions indicates the increased integration of media, display, reception, and promotion. This increased integration result is new kinds of cinema and time based art, readymades, publication, press releases, schools libraries, services, stage productions and works of literature, as well as forms of creative capitalism and businesses that do not look like other art-world institutions of the past. Conference organizers are seeking new interpretations of current changes taking shape in artistic institutions and their alternatives. Invited guests and attendees will help to position the tactical and strategic choices facing artists and writers.

Blake Stimson will be the keynote speaker at New Institutions. Stimson is Professor of Art History at the University of California, Davis. His recent publications include The Pivot of the World: Photography and Its Nation, Collectivism after Modernism: The Art of Social Imagination after 1945 (co-edited with Gregory Sholette), and Institutional Critique: An Anthology of Artists' Writings (co-edited with Alexander Alberro).

The premise of the Graduate Student Conference will also be incorporated into a group exhibition at Open Studios. The department highlights the collaborative nature of the PhD program and the MFA program with an exhibition at the Visual Arts Facility Gallery that further explores artists' approaches to the concept of New Institutions; this exhibition will be curated by PhD candidates Lara Bullock, Sascha Crasnow, and MFA candidate Elmira Mohebali. The Graduate Student Conference is organized by Art History PhD Students with Samara Kaplan, Tim Ridlen, and Matthew Schum serving as this year's conference coordinators. A schedule of events for the conference will be released shortly.

Running from 1:00-7:00pm at the Visual Arts Facility, UC San Diego artists will welcome the public into their studios. Open Studios is the annual pinnacle event for the MFA and Art Practice PhD students to share their artistic process and finished pieces. Visitors will be able to step inside approximately 50 artist studios and interact with the emerging talent on campus. Artists will be on site to contextualize their work and engage in conversations to deepen the viewer's understanding of their artistic practice.

The visual arts department is experimental and interdisciplinary by nature and this is reflected by the works on display. First year MFA candidate, Elmira Mohebali is primarily a film and video artist, but she applies her historical knowledge and sculpting, painting, and drawing skills in order to create video installations. In "An Ancient Misunderstanding" she exposes the "link between ancient events and women's everyday life in contemporary Iran." The video juxtaposes an ancient curse from the "Epic of Gilgamesh" with the current mistreatment of Iranian women and in doing so she "conservatively tries to open a conversation to investigate the roots of this cultural problem."

The emphasis on public culture and interaction with the public sphere is a developing component of the visual arts graduate programs-this concept is explored by artists using a range of different mediums. Misael Diaz is a photographer, second year MFA candidate, and a member of the COG┬ĚNATE collective. He is working on two sites along the United States and Mexico border with the intent of "analyzing the ideological dimension of conflict by mapping the triangulation between aesthetics of violence, memory, and public space and by altering the way socio-economic relationships come to be constructed in these contexts through cultural products." His images document and aim to transform cultural exchanges across the border.

In addition to showcasing the work of the visual arts department's MFA candidates, the PhD in Art Practice students will also open their studios to the public. Art practice students are studio artists that also have a complementary research practice. For example, Second year student, Emily Verla Bovino, has a background in art history, urban studies, anthropology, and this is apparent in her studio and printmaking practice.
In addition to the on campus activities an affiliated exhibition at Helmuth Projects in Downtown San Diego titled Hyperstudio will open on April 6. This exhibition will be curated by MFA candidates Ela Boyd and Matthew Savitsky and will be open by appointment and on weekends for the month. Helmuth Projects is an underground project space that is committed to collaborating with artists and curator to present ideas that are experimental or challenging to present in a commercial space.

This event was made possible with support from the GSA and VisArts Department at UC San Diego.

Conference Schedule


Opening reception with coffee and bagels

10:00 - 10:15AM

10: 15 - 11:30AM - Panel 1 - The story of Institutions: An old kind of model

Mary McGuire, Building a Social Frame: The Judson Memorial Church and the New American Avant-Garde, 1958-1965

John A. Tyson, Institutional Critique Goes Global: Hans Haacke and the Large-Scale, International Show

            Respondent: John Welchman

            Moderator: Emily Goodman

11:45AM – 1PM - Panel 2 - The work of Institutions: A new kind of work

            Cara Baldwin, The Index Wants You [Dead]

Eric Golo Stone, Working Group Discussions on the Relations and Conditions of Exhibitory Activity

            Respondent: Norman Bryson

            Moderator: Matthew Schum

1 PM - 2:30PM - Lunch

2:30 – 4:15PM - Panel 3 – Institutional Borderlands

Manuel Shvartzberg, The Architecture of Radicality: Between Soft and Hard Institutions

Brandi Jolie Kulakowski, Atomic Shelter as National Symbol: The Case of the Bosnian Biennial

Rebecca Blocksome, The Artist as Bureaucrat: Subverting the Apparatus of the Nation-State

            Respondent: Grant Kester

            Moderator: Drew Snyder

4:30 – 5:30PM – Keynote

            Blake Stimson – The Enclosure of Contemporary Art

5:30 – 6:30PM - Closing Reception

Conference Coordinators: Samara Kaplan, Tim Ridlen, and Matthew Schum

Event made possible with support from the Graduate Student Association.

Image Credit:
Hans Haacke's Cube is courtesy of the Artist.