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Talk | Lynne Cooke

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.


About Lynne Cooke

Lynne Cooke has been Senior Curator for Special Projects in Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC since 2014. From 1991-2008 she was Curator at Dia Art Foundation, New York; and from 2008-2012, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Museo Nacional Reina Sofia in Madrid. Her forthcoming exhibition, Outliers and American Vanguard Art (2018) explores the intersection of self-taught and professionally trained artists in the United States over the past century.