Colloquy was a series of panel discussions held in Los Angeles in 2012 and 2013 aimed at addressing big picture questions facing the art world. The inaugural project of then/and, Colloquy sought to provide a platform for intelligent debate concerning issues affecting artists, art professionals, and the nature of art production in Southern California—one contingent not an any individual exhibition or institution, but on the participation of the community at large.
Parenthood in the Art World
Museum of Contemporary Art, March 3, 2013
Is parenthood an asset or a liability for an artist? What are the physical, emotional, and logistical challenges of being an artist parent? What biases do parents encounter in the art world? Are male and female artists affected differently by the experience of parenthood? Are they treated differently? How do dealers and curators react to the announcement of an artist’s pregnancy, and what are the assumptions underlying these reactions? What is the impact of parenthood on an artist’s market value, and does this differ for men and women? Have perceptions of parenthood in the art world shifted generationally? How do the day to day responsibilities of parenthood affect an artist’s creative process? How do the economic responsibilities of parenthood affect an artist’s career choices? How does being a parent influence the creative process? What role does a child play in an artist’s studio practice? What are the ethics of using one’s children as subjects? What is it like for a child to have an artist for a parent? How does being a parent change one’s perspective on art and the role of art in society? Why do so many artists choose not to have children? Are your kids your “greatest work of art”? (And what does that say about your artwork?)
Panelists: Ellina Kevorkian, Amir Zaki, Rebecca Niederlander, Andrew Berardini
Moderator: Micol Hebron
Mixed Marriage: Artists, Curators, and the Exhibition
Torrance Art Museum, June 2, 2012
The role of the curator as a custodian of collections or coordinator of exhibitions has evolved into a much more expansive notion about curatorial practice that encompasses a range of untraditional strategies and alternative models. These changes have been particularly visible over the past 15 years in both standard and experimental exhibition spaces. As a result, curators have enjoyed an elevated status within the art world—their curatorial schema at times eclipsing the artwork itself. Although evened out to some extent, distinctions between artist (producer) and curator (facilitator) have indelibly shifted blurring the roles of each. Equally visible, is the glut of recent biennales and other perennial exhibitions that have exploded across the globe and have positioned themselves as experimental and generative platforms for new forms and ways of thinking about exhibitions. This panel will consider these issues, debate their relevance, and examine the direction of current curatorial practice.
Panelists: Karen Lofgren, Rebecca McGrew, Rebecca Morse, Holly Myers, Carrie Paterson
Moderator: Ciara Ennis
The Success Question
LAX Art, March 24, 2012
How do we conceive of success in the art world? Who sets the terms? Who should set the terms? What is the role of the market? How does the press figure in? Have art schools shifted expectations of success? Is a coherent notion of success even possible in a world defined by such a pluralistic array of practices? How has the rising profile of the LA art scene changed the way that success is understood here? What is the difference between successful and popular? Has the recession altered the way we think about success? How does success affect an artist’s work in the long run? What are the interpersonal ramifications of success? What is the difference between successful art and a successful career? Is there a way around the “in crowd” problem? What is the price of success? What is failure? Is success satisfying? What’s true success? What is it that really matters in the end?
Panelists: Mark Bradford, Eileen Cowin, Anna Sew Hoy, Paul Schimmel, Susanne Vielmetter
Moderator: Holly Myers
Taking Stock of the MFA
Torrance Art Museum, January 28, 2012
What are the true benefits of an art school education? What is the impact—personal, creative, and social—of student debt? What relationship do art schools bear to the market? What affect has the professionalization of young artists had on the nature and quality of art production? What role has the discursive nature of the academic environment played in the type of work being made today? What are the advantages and hazards for an artist of a teaching career? Is the teaching market oversaturated? At what point will there simply be too many artists? Is there a way to reform the system as from within? Are there viable alternatives?
Panelists: Eileen Cowin, Deborah Aschheim, Joseph Biel, Ruben Ochoa, Cammie Staros
Moderator: Holly Myers