Project Curate: The Indifference of Wisdom

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Clem Chen Ernest Concepcion Caroline Falby Annalisa Perazzi Annette Rusin

Kim Jong Il Ronald Sarah Reagan Wang Matt Kleenex Paul Wiersbinski Ramon Esquiverna Laetitia Ann-Saedler Matthew Silver Camilla Perowski-Wittgenstein Edo Udo Rachel Minnesota

The Indifference of Wisdom The Longest Curated by Project Curate! with Julian A. Jimarez Howard Show Title of the Universe is Here From June 14 to July 12, 2013 Curated by: Opening Reception: Friday, JuneDelano 14, 7-9and PM Franklin Eric Sutherland NURTUREart Gallery 56 Bogart St., Brooklyn, NY 11206 From April 26 to May 28, 2012 Opening Reception: Friday, May 28, 7-9 PM NURTUREart Gallery 56 Bogart St., Brooklyn, NY 11206

Project Curate 2012- 2013: Kiana Alvardo Cesar Beltre Cristal Cruz Nicholas Diaz Yadira Gomez Rafael Gonzalez Amanda Hernandez Andrew Hernandez Darrin Jones Miguel Lopez Genesis Lozano Mariela Lozano Cintia Machuca Jasmine Mediavilla Tiffany Negron Nathaly Peralta Noel Ramierz Charisma Rios Yunior Rivas Tiffany Rivera Chastity Rodriguez Destiny Rodriguez Yesenia Santiago Bishme Smith Chastity Tores Teacher Partner: Denise Martinez

Project Curate provides a class of advanced art students from Juan Morel Campos High School in an opportunity to experience contemporary curatorial practices by working closely with a professional curator for the whole school year, culminating with an exhibition at NURTUREart Gallery. This year their mentor is Julian A. Jimarez Howard, Co-Owner and Director of OUTLET Fine Art and Co-Director of Associated Gallery. Project Curate is part of NURTUREart’s Education Program, dedicated to nurturing and enriching the next generation with its unique arts programs that connect professional artists and curators with students and teachers.

The Indifference of Wisdom questions our social norms by looking for works that embody transgression. Identity, gender and authority roles, hygiene rituals, factory-produced poultry... Have you ever asked why we behave in certain ways? Where did these habits start or come from? We all seem to follow a pattern everyone is afraid to divert from. Normal is good. While discussing our theme, we chose transgression because of its relevance in our everyday lives, as we walk about the city or engage with each other, we all seem to follow a pattern everyone is afraid to divert from. This patterns could be as small as not making eye contact with a stranger in an elevator or saying bless you when someone sneezes. Personification is what makes it realistic, putting it in context with our everyday life. The works we selected embody the transgressive resistance to the routine of normal is good. Instead, they urge us in favor of the indifferent wisdom that comes from being at peace with oneself.

Exhibition View

The Indiffererence of Wisdom by Julian A. Jimarez Howard

The history of the word curator comes from the Latin curare, referencing the care of souls. The term curate can still be used as a noun to talk about a parish priest. However, this is hardly the context in which we are accustomed to hearing the word. The more familiar curator-as-part-ofan-institution-responsible-for-exhibiting-objectsof-social-significance is a notion that emerged around the mid 16th Century. This was, of course, at a time when curators were more tied to these physical objects, like zookeepers of the eclectic collections of European nobles and aristocrats. While the term’s specific relationship to art is quite a bit more recent, the way in which it nevertheless implies a responsibility for a deeper level of wellbeing is, perhaps, closer to its original meaning. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the process of teaching curating. It is said that teaching teaches the teacher the subject being taught. Tongue twisterliness aside, the insight a curator can gain from the teacher’s predicament is, in many ways, priceless. Confronting a room full of individuals unfamiliar and often uninterested in the subject at hand is one of the most perfect methods for evaluating not only one’s interest in that subject, but also one’s knowledge of it. It requires passion, flexibility, patience, compassion, and often, guile. This is all the more true for


high school students as they are in the process of cementing their identities, yet overwhelming judgmental. The task, then, of teaching curating becomes a meta-exercise in the study of patterns of organization: explaining curating through one’s own system, while simultaneously evaluating that system as it is being explained. Curators typically apply an idiosyncratic methodology to create a system of thematic and often visual relationships between objects, in this case artwork. This involves many steps, but can be boiled down into: selecting a theme, researching that theme, researching artists, selecting work for the show, and finally mounting the exhibition. But working with students who may have never approached a topic in such a methodological way raises all sorts of poignant questions. How do we come up with a theme? Why do we need a theme, and if we came up with it, why do we need to research it? What if we already know the artists? Making an analogy to the scientific method or to the process of following a cooking recipe seems only to solicit the claim, but this is art! Yet, it is in these complaints that the true heart of curating contemporary art arises, that is, asking questions. For what is a theme, but the synthesis of a series of questions? What is a system if not a logical answer to the question, how does this work?

The aim of Project Curate is to pair a professional curator with high school art students through a yearlong course to produce a capstone exhibition at NURTUREart’s gallery with artists selected through an open call. My aim as that professional curator was of course, to produce a memorable exhibition with the students. But more so, I wanted, and was encouraged, to structure the course such that the beneficial skills inherent in the curatorial process (active questioning, associative thinking, plotting systems) might filter down into other aspects of the student’s lives. The real objective and value of this program is in this cross application of knowledge. Working on a professional grade curatorial project, not only do the students get a taste of working in the art world, but hopefully see the larger picture in which the dots between asking valid questions and making reasoned decisions connect the image of a greater methodological problem solving whole. In this way curating is more about understanding the process of evaluating various inputs and generating a compelling and cohesive output, be that artworks -> exhibition, philosophies -> essay, or ingredients -> cake. It came, then, as no surprise to me that as we endeavored together as a class to select a theme, we kept coming back to issues of identity. This concept was omnipresent through field

trips to various art institutions, art historical slide shows in class, and systems thinking oriented activities. Our eventual theme of “transgression personified” morphed out of the collective interest in exploring notions of embodiment, social mores, and humor. What was surprising however, was the way in which the students oriented that exploration towards an open-minded, if not moralistic, direction. After receiving submissions from NURTUREart’s open call, we reviewed the work and found ourselves selecting artworks that somehow reminded us to be comfortable in our own skin and/or to question the status quo. It was from this realization that we embraced the know-all attitude of youth dubbing the exhibition, The Indifference of Wisdom. As if we had turned the phrase on its head, projecting it from the perspective of youth, our position was polemic: Be wise enough not to care about what doesn’t matter and to embrace what does. What was also interesting and completely unintentional was the way the exhibition came together out of almost every type of medium: painting, drawing, printing, sculpture, video, and performance. In the end, however, it seems that our polemic brought us back to the root of curating; with The Indifference of Wisdom the students have become teachers, showing and asking viewers to take care of their own identities.


I made a mash-up with references from the 60’s and 80’s. I’m sure the students recognized the images I hijacked, but secretly I hope they didn’t and selected the piece based solely on its aesthetic. Project Curate is surely a meaningful experience… learning about the curatorial process ought to be valuable for any art-student, and implementing those skills by curating a real show in a gallery, outside the high-school bubble, makes it even better. Clem Chen I’ll Be Banana, 2013 Acrylic and spray paint on archival paper 19 x 22 inches



Ernest Concepcion The Department of Food Defense and Mass Destruction, 2010 Ink on acetate 96 x 120 inches



Ernest Concepcion Replies to questions emailed by Julian Jimarez Howard, 2013 Ink on paper


I wouldn’t expect that teenagers would be very interested in the themes that I’ve been exploring, so I was surprised and pleased that the Project Curate team chose to include my installation. Project Curate lead me to think about the identity struggles that both new parents and teenagers face. As a parent, I often feel the same insecurities I felt as an adolescent: “Am I doing this right?” “What do my peers think of me?” “Am I cool?” My artworks are often rebellions against the pressure I feel to conform to idealistic middle-class parenting models.” I’m glad that NURTUREart is letting teenagers find their voice, especially those from underserved communities. A well-respected gallery letting teenagers develop an exhibition with works by professional artists is a transgressive thing in itself.


Caroline Falby Mother’s Death Tape, 2013 Mixed- media site-specific installation Dimensions variable



These young students are the next generation of thinkers and to have them connect with my work and find it relevant is very encouraging to me. They mentioned how they feel “pressured” to groom or to look a certain way by society, and how to have an adult feel the same way was important to them – I think that they understood that it is OK to experience that frustration, and appreciated the manifestation of that same feeling in a sculpture. What I enjoyed the most about the students was their openmindedness… It was refreshing to work with them! Overall, I think that Project Curate is absolutely meaningful for both students and artists. It brings together different generations from varying backgrounds that ordinarily might not interact with one another. It is a great learning experience for everyone involved. Annette Rusin Redundancy, 2009 Beeswax, resin, wood, string, sheetrock, lightbulb, hat pins, acrylic 48 x 35 x 105 inches


I feel that the students understand my performance work as a way of getting back to the roots of being just human. The students are about to graduate, they have future concerns, things that they worry about... They understand the importance of just lightening up, and that there is a lot of potential in making human connections. Matthew Silver Matthew Silver teaches you about love, 2013 Live performance at NURTUREart gallery



I was very grateful to have my work selected a group of high school curators. It was in many ways, more meaningful... It makes me feel that my work is relevant and appreciated in the eyes of young people. One of the students actually told me that my piece was one that he didn’t want to select at first. It was very humbling to hear such an honest response and I was all the more grateful to have my work in the show after hearing how tough the selection process really was. I see Project Curate as an amazing experience for both artists and student curators. Being a curator is no easy task and for a group of students to decide and agree on all the details of this show was an amazing feat. Being an art educator, I have participated in the production of student art shows myself so I can appreciate all the work and -no doubt- love that the Project Curate team Sarah Wang Chicken Head, 20113 Oil on canvas 20 x 16 inches


When I was a high school student I thought I knew everything about the world. Therefore being selected by omniscient teenagers is quite flattering. The students acted like total professionals, as an artist I do most communication these days, working behind a screen, so I feel confident about judging their reaction times and formulations in such a positive way. What I also like about Project Curate is that the students are not acting as artists but as organizers. Every attempt to shake up the art world and expanding culture to other parts of society is needed especially in an increasingly complex world. Paul Wiersbinski Iron E, 2008 Video still


Exhibition View

NURTUREart Non-Profit, Inc is a 501(c)3 New York State licensed federally tax-exempt charitable organization founded in 1997 by George J. Robinson. NURTUREart receives support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, including member item funding from City Council Members Sara Gonzales, Stephen Levin, and Diana Reyna, the New York City Department of Education, and the New York State Council on the Arts. NURTUREart is also supported by the Harold and Colene Brown Foundation, Edelman, the Greenwich Collection, Ltd., the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Laura B. Vogler Foundation, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, No More Poverty, the Puffin Foundation, Urban Outfitters, and the Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason Foundation. We receive in-kind support from Brooklyn Brewery, Societe Perrier, Tekserve, and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. NURTUREart is grateful for significant past support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Liebovitz Foundation, and the Greenwall Foundation, and to the many generous individuals and businesses whose contributions have supported us throughout our history. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the artists who have contributed works of art to past benefits—our continued success would be impossible without your generosity.








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56 Bogart Street Brooklyn, NY 11206 L train to Morgan Avenue T 718 782 7755 F 718 569 2086 E Directions: By Subway: L train to the Morgan Avenue stop. Exit the station via Bogart Street. Look for the NURTUREart entrance on Bogart Street, close to the intersection with Harrison Place. By Car: Driving From Manhattan: Take the Williamsburg Bridge, stay in the outside lane, and take the Broadway / S. 5 St. exit. Turn left at light onto Havemeyer St. Turn right next light onto Borinquen Place, continue straight, street will change name to Grand Street. Turn right onto Bushwick Ave, left onto Johnson Ave, then right onto Bogart Street. Look for our entrance at the corner of Bogart Street and Harrison Place.

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