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Avantika Bawa Brent Birnbaum Wyatt Burns Stephanie Dinkins Patrick Carlin Mohundro Scott Rogers

What It Was Curated by Project Curate with Adam Parker Smith May 8 to May 29, 2015

Project Curate 2014-2015: Tinia Albert Mirta Lopez Angel Montes Destiny Perez Gesifed Paucar David Ortega Shanice Rodriguez

Teacher Partner: Denise Martinez Lead Curator: Adam Parker Smith

Part of NURTUREart’s Education Program, Project Curate provides a class of students from Juan Morel Campos High School an opportunity to experience contemporary curatorial practices by working closely with a professional curator for the entire school year, culminating with an exhibition at NURTUREart Gallery. This year their mentor was artist and curator Adam Parker Smith.

Exhibition View, L to R: Patrick Carlin Mohundro, Wyatt Burns, Brent Birnbaum



What It Was asks us to confront our pasts and explore the potential of alternate and plural futures. In predicting what role art will have in our own lives and the lives of others, we wonder: where will the future be?



Exhibition View, L to R: Patrick Carlin Mohundro, Wyatt Burns



Exhibition View, L to R: Avantika Bawa, Stephanie Dinkins, Wyatt Burns, Patrick Carlin Mohundro



What would you do after school today if there was no tomorrow? If there was no future (and you couldn’t get in trouble) and you had 10 cans of spray paint, what would you draw or write?

MOB: The curatorial process behind What It Was can be traced back to one class in February during which you asked the students a series of questions about the future. What was your objective with that activity?

If you controlled your future, what future would you give yourself?

APS: The future is fun. It’s attached to us, and we control it maybe, but the reality of it is looser. We get to incorporate our dreams, hopes, fears, questions, and wishes into a vision that we may fulfill. The future was something we all had in common and somewhere we were all going, so it seemed like a good jumping-off spot.

If you controlled Adam’s future, what future would you make for him?

MOB: Did any of their responses to those questions surprise you?

What future would you make for each other?

APS: I planned on being surprised by their answers, but I found many to be conservative, pragmatic, and grounded, which was more surprising.

What is your earliest memory? When you are old, will your favorite memory be from something you have done already or something you haven’t done yet?

What is eternity? Would you want to live forever? What will art look like in the future? What will artists look like in the future?


A conversation with

Adam Parker Smith

and Molly O’Brien


MOB: Why the future? What interested you and your collaborators about the future? APS: My collaborators seemed pessimistic about their futures in conversations they had with my co-teachers and me. I wanted to find out where that pessimism was coming from. I didn’t imagine that I would be able to ameliorate any of their outlooks, and I didn’t necessarily want to, but I thought by channeling our conversations and considerations we could all gain perspective.

MOB: You took on the theme of the future and didn’t end up with an exhibition of aliens and the apocalypse. How? APS: We framed most our discussions on a personal view fo the future...and I had some veto power. MOB: What are the different futures presented by the artists in the exhibtion? APS: Avantika Bawa; global future. Brent Birnbaum; personal future. Wyatt Burns; academic future. Stephanie Dinkins; distopic future. Patrick Mohundro; metaphysical future. Scott Rogers; fictional future. MOB: Which artist in the exhibition best aligns with your vision of the future? APS: That’s difficult to say. Other than aliens and dystopia, the future for me is a very personal place. I appreciated the insight that each artist had for their own futures, and the way they presented this to our collaborative group and the public, but my own future is a remote place equally far away from each of the works in the show.

ined each of the works in the show as a person. We talked about what type of personality each of the artworks would have and how they might interact with the others. Are they shy, loud, aggressive, funny? Each of us then became one of the works, assuming the personality of the work. We walked around the gallery interacting and rotating until we all found a spot we thought our work would be comfortable. And that’s where we installed the artworks. MOB: How did working with the high school students expand your notion of the future? APS: I think every time you meet somebody new, old or young, the future becomes a more interesting place. You want to find out what happens.

MOB: What strategies did you use to guide the students on making decisions as curators while simultaneously teaching them what that role means? APS: We did a fun activity when preparing for installing the exhibition; we imag-



If you could go into the future and meet your future self, what would you want to remind yourself of?


“I would want to remind myself to never stop believing.�

- Tinia Albert



“If I could go into the future and talk to my future self, I think I would

just remind myself of the details from just one day. Not any special day, but just the day I had most recently been through. I would do

this because although it might not seem important at the time, when

I look back on it, I might have been spending time with somebody

who I may not get to see in the future, or doing something I could no longer do, and so it would be nice to remember those things with clarity.�

- Adam Parker Smith



“Yours is a difficult question. If I met myself in the future, I’d want to remind myself that life is precious and should be lived to the ut-

most. I’d also remind myself to make good use of the opportunities I’ve earned. Lastly, I’d remind myself that in the long run life not that serious.”

Stephanie Dinkins Sentient, 2015 Video installation, dimensions variable


-Stephanie Dinkins



Patrick Carlin Mohundro (left to right) Delta Rothko, 2014 Polyester airline blanket, 103 x 97 cm It’s an Asiana Tworkov, 2015 Polyester airline blanket, 56 x 36 inches


“If I could go into the future and meet my future self, I would

remind myself where I left my phone.”

- Patrick Carlin Mohundro



“ I would remind my future self to never give up and stay strong, because life gets harder every day, and when you’re older it will get worse.”

- Destiny Perez


” If I could go to the future in a time machine, I would tell myself to always remember your past life, don’t forget your true friends like Tania, and to love art.”

Opposite: Avantika Bawa Aquarmapping, 2013-14 Video, 9:39 minutes


- Gesifed Paucar


“I would want to remind my future self to stay strong and rock hard!�

- Avantika Bawa



“I would tell myself, ‘Brent’ just be yourself!’”

- Brent Birnbaum


“I would remind my future self to never forget the people

that were there for you and

to never forget the ones that

walked, because you grew up to be a good man!”


- David Ortega

Brent Birnbaum Untitled, 2015 Paper, tape, wood, markers, ink, paint, screws, 32 x 86 x 3 inches




“If I could meet myself in the future, I would remind myself that my rent was $700 and 3D

printing was still cool and no one though Waka would be president. “

- Wyatt Burns

Wyatt Burns Baker/Sanyo, 2015 Mixed media installation, dimensions variable



“I would remind myself that things take time.”

- Scott Rogers


“ I would want to remind

myself the days I loved to play

football, and also the time when I was a goofball.”

- Angel Montes

Scott Rogers Wire Frame, 2009-2015 (ongoing) Photoluminescent tape, dimensions variable




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 public support from the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, City Council Members Stephen Levin and Antonio Reynoso, and the New York City Department of Education. NURTUREart is also supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the British Council of Northern Ireland, Con Edison, the Greenwich Collection, Ltd., the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Milton and Sally

Avery Arts Foundation, and the Walentas Family Foundation. We receive in-kind support from Blick Art Materials, Lagunitas, Tekserve, and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. NURTUREart is grateful for significant past support from 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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What it Was  

"What It Was," curated by Project Curate with Adam Parker Smith, and featuring artists Avantika Bawa, Brent Birnbaum, Wyatt Burns, Stephanie...

What it Was  

"What It Was," curated by Project Curate with Adam Parker Smith, and featuring artists Avantika Bawa, Brent Birnbaum, Wyatt Burns, Stephanie...