Three Decades of Change: Artspace’s 30th Reunion Exhibition
Curated by: Johanna Bresnick, Colleen Coleman, Eileen Doktorski, Sarah Fritchey, Rachel Gugelberger, Mohamad Hafez, Debbie Hesse, Linda Lindroth, Denise Markonish, Gerald Saladyga, Suzan Shutan, Liena Vayzman
June 23—July 8, 2017
Aaron S. Davidson
Curator and Artist Led Exhibition Walk Through: Saturday, June 24, 4:45-6pm
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 24, 6-8pm
Special Performance: Saturday, June 24, 6:15-7pm
On the occasion of our thirtieth birthday, Artspace is excited to revisit twelve landmark exhibitions that have shaped, sustained and defined our organization since the mid 1980s. These exhibitions represent a range of curatorial perspectives, styles, and economic means, as well as an ever-changing relationship to the City of New Haven. To uncork these histories, Artspace Curator Sarah Fritchey invited twelve curator-alums to revisit one show they organized during their time at Artspace. Each curator was then asked to identify one artwork from the show that they wished to present for a second time, either in its original version or a modified version.
The results of these curator-artist reunions fill the galleries with a trove of archival treasures: images from the streets of New Haven, stories of lifelong relationships, and glimpses into three decades of exhibitions that probed some of the most urgent social, political and material questions of their day. Strikingly, probing questions around race and representation, immigration, the health care industry, and technology’s growing pervasive influence remain prescient today.
The exhibition also unearths some surprising details. Few people know that Artspace has occupied eight buildings over the course of its life, at one point renaming itself “untitled (space) gallery” to recognize its uncertain future. Also, nine of the show’s curator-alums were artists, and all nine maintain active studio practices. These histories weave together a more complete picture of Artspace as an artist-minded, idea-driven organization that has come to expect, embrace and respond to change. As we enter our fourth decade, we are truly indebted to those who have kept us alive over the years.
Featured exhibitions include: Interrupted Lives: The Art of AIDS, 1990, Curated by Gerald Saladyga with work by Gerald Saladyga. Subversive Issues in Media, 1993, Curated by Suzan Shutan with work by James Montford and collaborator Shola Cole, Beyond the Camera, 1994, and Barriers and Enclosures, 1996, Curated by Eileen Doktorski with work by Jacek Malinowski and Joan Fitzsimmons, Ain’t I a Woman, 1995, Curated by Colleen Coleman with work by Deborah Dancy, Soft, 2002, Curated by Debbie Hesse with work by Eric Conrad, Between Fear and Freedom: Duct Tape, 2002, Curated (as a stand for the original curators Mark Andreas and Jeff Benjamin) by Sarah Fritchey with Mohamad Hafez, Mythical Nation, 2003, Curated by Johanna Bresnick with work by Larry Lee, For the Birds, 2004, Curated by Denise Markonish with Christopher Mir, 101 Dresses, 2007, Curated by Linda Lindroth with Robert Taplin, Library Science, 2012, Curated by Rachel Gugelberger with Melissa Dubbin and Aaron S. Davidson, and City-Wide Open Studios: Crystal Palace, 2012, Curated by Liena Vayzman with Shana Moulton and Thorsten Fleisch.
Special Events: On Saturday, June 24 from 4:45-6pm, the show’s curators and artists will walk visitors through the exhibition, shedding lights on special aspects of these historic shows. From 6:15-7pm, artists James Montford and Shola Cole will present a new performance commissioned for this show. The Opening Reception will take place from 6-8pm. All events are free and open to the public.
Publication: A catalog will accompany this exhibition and document aspects of our 30th Reunion Weekend. The full-color, 100-page book will be available for preview and pre-sale ($20/copy) at Artspace starting Friday, June 23, and feature the essay “Site, City and Leadership”, 24 essays from Artspace alums, select transcripts from our Reunion panels, and images from our archive.
This exhibition is part of Artspace’s 30th Anniversary Reunion Weekend, which presents a series of free panels, workshops and social-events in locations around New Haven from June 23 to June 25. This program was made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven, the Tremaine Foundation, Merril Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc/The Outtrim Group, and Friends of Artspace. Our hospitality sponsors include EDC of New Haven/The Study Hotel, B-Natural Cafe, and Litchfield Distillery.