Christopher Knowles: In a Word Photographed by Constance Mensh for the Institute of Contemporary Art.

Lynne Cooke

March 15, 2018 | 6:30PM - 7:30PM


Representing the Incommensurable
Join Lynne Cooke of the National Gallery of Art for an exploration of the responsibilities that come with presenting the work of self-taught artists in contemporary art discourse/context.

The “dispensation of privilege” is an integral component of contemporary curatorial practice. The challenges and responsibilities attendant on this dispensation are arguably more charged when it comes to representing the art of disenfranchised marginals – self-taught artists — whether visionary recluses or mentally and developmentally disabled creators or others with little agency in the representation of their work. This talk compares the curatorial methodology of Alfred Barr, one of the first curators in mainstream institutions to espouse this work as an essential component in the narratives of modern art, with strategies developed in the post-war era. It ends by considering the current integrationist paradigm, based on a notion of the level playing field in which the art of schooled and unschooled artists is brought together without hierarchical distinction, weighing its strength and liabilities in relation to past practices.