La Station - Nice - France

From 05-15-2014 to 15-05-2014

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Turbulence and Calm by Rob Garrett

15th May, La Station, Nice, 7 PM

Rob Garrett’s public lecture is motivated by two questions. First, what is the role of culture in the public realm – and especially contemporary fine arts – in the present context of citizen activism and occupy movements that call for greater participation in public politics by ordinary people? Second, what insights about the New Zealand contemporary art scene might be useful for a local French audience?

Lecture synopsis:

Turbulence and Calm: Part I, The limits of art; the failure of institutional practices; and the necessity for action; and Part II, Far from the madding crowd

Part I will provide a brief consideration of a burgeoning trend for participatory culture and political activism; including consideration of differences between critically engaged art practices, aesthetic activism and participation in the political-public realm; and of how art that claims to ‘make a difference’ may be instrumental in challenging and changing society; including consideration of its scope and limits. Examples will be selected from projects and actions in places as diverse Taksim Square in Istanbul; Independence Square in Kiev; a watchtower in Treptow, the former East Berlin; the gardens of the Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art; bombed and burnt out ruins in Gdańsk, Poland; Biennale troubles in Sydney and Istanbul; a Mexican, Puerto Rican, Central, and South American neighbourhood in Chicago’s West Town; a London battle of the bands; community committees commissioning public art in France; and a wasp nest.

Part II will provide a sampling from the New Zealand contemporary art scene; and will present a selection of artists, projects and discussion of contemporary art infrastructure under such themes as internationalised practices, contemporary Maori and Pacific Art, young artists, new migrant artists and artist-run spaces.

Bio Statement:

Rob Garrett (MA, BFA) is an independent curator. Recent projects include curating the 5th edition of Narracje public art festival (Gdańsk, Poland); a public art project by Daniel von Sturmer in Wellington (NZ); the NZ-Australian programme for a public art video festival (Ängelholm, Sweden); and an international group exhibition in the final weeks of Snake Pit (Auckland, NZ). His numerous public art advisory projects have included developing a new public art policy (2013) for Auckland city, NZ; and a 10-year public art plan for Hamilton city, NZ (2010). Former roles include senior manager with Creative New Zealand, New Zealand’s arts council; leader of New Zealand’s pavilion project for the 2005 Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art; and Head of the School of Art in Dunedin, NZ. Rob Garrett has held guest lectureships at AUT University of Auckland (NZ), Art Academy of Gdańsk (PL), Dunedin School of Art (NZ), La Trobe University, Melbourne (AU) and Whitecliffe College of Art and Design, Auckland (NZ).

Personal website (profile): http://www.robgarrettcfa.com/about