“Art Beyond the Event Horizon” by Stephen Wright
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 7 p.m.
Mendel Art Gallery
What will the art of the future look like? Speculating on such things is fraught with risk, but consider that it may not resemble “art” as we have known it. Like forecasting the weather, forecasting the art to come would entail analyzing long-term trends, perhaps focusing less on art’s behaviour in the attention economy, where there are many demands on human awareness, than on the movements of art in the shadows.
Art historians have accustomed us to think of art in terms of events (exhibitions, publications, performance), but that may represent a mere fraction of current art practice. There is a history of discrete artistic practice that has turned away from event-making, making itself available for other uses. The issue, then, may be less about forecasting the art of the future than gaining insight into practices of art in the here and now, operating beyond the event horizon.
Launching this spring, and continuing through 2015, staff at the Mendel Art Gallery, as well as art and community professionals in Saskatoon, will be undertaking a series of lectures, workshops and seminars titled Museums 3.0.
Museums 3.0 refers to a critical framework for the re-consideration of the use-value of museums, drawn from the work of art theorist, Stephen Wright. Wright’s theory of the museum centres on a notion of usership – a category of engagement with art that eschews spectacle and didacticism but provides for the radical performativity of art in the everyday world.
Museums 3.0 will address a range of conceptual, programming and professional issues shaping the terms of a 21st-century art museum. It re-presents an innovative, discursive and collaborative approach to developing the thinking that will inform the artistic direction of the Remai Modern, opening in 2016.
The first in the Museums 3.0 program is a seminar series to be led by Stephen Wright, professor of theory at the European School of Visual Arts in Paris, France. Wright will also deliver a public lecture at the Mendel Art Gallery.
Remai Modern, Art Gallery of Saskatchewan
Remai Modern, Art Gallery of Saskatchewan is a visionary new art museum development in North America. Located at River Landing in downtown Saskatoon, the gallery, scheduled to open in June 2016, will be an architectural centrepiece for the city. Designed by the renowned Canadian architectural firm, KPMB, it will be a striking building from the outside and will offer equally striking views of the South Saskatchewan River valley from inside. The design, inspired by Saskatoon’s rich history of architectural modernism, received an Award of Excellence from Canadian Architect magazine in 2011.
Remai Modern will be the largest gallery in the province, and five times the size of Saskatoon’s current Mendel Art Gallery. It will bring world-class national and international exhibitions of modern and contemporary art to Saskatoon. In addition, the gallery includes studio classrooms, a 150-seat film and lecture theatre, meeting rooms, a restaurant and major spaces for catered receptions and public events.
The new building is supported by all levels of government and, importantly, by generous donors and corporations, including the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation, which donated $15 million towards construction costs and $15 million for future programming. In addition, the Foundation has donated a $20-million collection of Picasso linocut prints. The combined donation is among the largest to an art gallery in Canada.