About the event

What are the motivations and consequences of contemporary artists’ settings, or environments with objects on display that operate at the scale of an exhibition or an institution? How does working at this scale open unexpected ways of creating narratives around art and other artifacts, and invite viewers to ask new questions about the objects on view? Without the artist taking the role of the curator, agent provocateur of institutional critique or creating a space solely for performative interaction, can artists’ settings potentially revive the avant-garde notion of a total artwork? How do they implicate cultural beliefs about the construction of history and politics within the reality of the exhibition space itself? Join this group of artists, writers, and curators as they discuss the operations and meanings of this work for new research and experimentation.


Welcome from Center for the Humanities, The Graduate Center
Remarks by Dorothee Charles, Arts Department, Cultural Services of the French Embassy

Introduction by the organizers
Katherine Carl, The James Gallery, The Center for the Humanities, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Florence Ostende, Dallas Contemporary

Patricia Mainardi, Emerita Ph.D. Program in Art History, The Graduate Center, CUNY. "Setting as Spatial Strategy in Historical Context"

Géraldine Gourbe, Aesthetics, École Supérieure d’Art de l’Agglomération d’Annecy. “Woman House from ‘Capture the Speech’ to ‘Free Space’: Feminism and Art Strategies as Setting?”

Natalie Hope O'Donnell, Oslo Centre for Critical Architectural Studies. “Spatial Orchestration: Towards A Language of Exhibition Space”



Margarita Tupitsyn, writer and curator. “Imagine No Shows: Apt Art in the Moscow Vanguard”

Amei Wallach, "Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: When is A Toilet Not A Museum"



Christian Philipp Müller, artist. "People Should Feel They Are Looking Into A Mirror...Reflecting the Role of the Artist Within The Family of Austrians and Conflicts of History"

Arseniy Zhilyaev, artist. "Conceptual Realism: The Past and Future of Avant-garde Museology"

Richard Pell, The Center for PostNatural History

Technical Assistant, Museum of American Art, Berlin. “Museum of American Art: A Story”

Closing discussion and remarks