Curator’s Perspective: Trevor Schoonmaker
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School
Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10011
FREE and open to the public
ICI and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics collaborate on Trevor Schoonmaker’s first public presentation of Prospect.4, the fourth iteration of Prospect New Orleans’ international art exhibition. As part of ICI’s Curator’s Perspective—an itinerant public discussion series featuring national and international curators—Trevor Schoonmaker, Artistic Director of Prospect.4, will speak about his curatorial vision for this iteration of the Biennial, as well as specific artists and venues of P.4 for the first time.
Prospect.4, the fourth iteration of a citywide exhibition that opens November 16-19, 2017, finds inspiration in the lotus plant. This aquatic perennial takes root in the fetid but nutrient-rich mud of swamps so that its beautiful flower may rise above the murky water. The flower’s grace is inextricably connected to the noisome swamp, just as redemption exists in ruin, and creativity in destruction. Viewed as a symbol of spiritual enlightenment in Buddhism and Hinduism, the lotus suggests the possibility of overcoming arduous challenges. It reminds us that, from the depths of difficulty and desolation, art brings the invisible to light.
Prospect.4 overlaps with the city of New Orleans’s tricentennial celebration—the 300th anniversary of the founding of Nouvelle-Orléans by the French in 1718. Because of this serendipitous intersection, P.4 takes the city’s distinctive character as a point of departure to investigate global concerns. As with prior Prospects, P.4 is committed to being an international exhibition, while also directing more of its focus southward, placing greater emphasis on art and artists who engage with the American South and the Global South, particularly those from North America, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the European countries that colonized these regions.
While participating artists will present a broad range of international perspectives, the works made and selected seek to resonate with the city of New Orleans—aesthetically, musically, culturally, spiritually, historically, and environmentally. This connective tissue will be reinforced through the physical footprint of P.4 within New Orleans. The citywide exhibition aims for increased density and linkage between its roughly twenty venues, ranging from major museums to public sites, with clear pathways and clusters that enhance the ease of navigation. In this way, Prospect.4 aims for visitors to get the most out of their experience, while ably and efficiently presenting the rich and diverse culture of New Orleans.
Organized in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, The New School.
The Curator’s Perspective is a free, itinerant public discussion series featuring U.S. and international curators, and developed as a way for audiences in New York to connect with timely information about a wide variety of international perspectives on contemporary art today. The series sheds light on movements and models that are still in formation or have been overlooked. This year, speakers in the series will include curators based in Medellín, Münster, and New Orleans, addressing questions about art, culture, and the exhibitions in which they are most interested, as well as the artists and the socio-political contexts that are shaping curatorial practice now.
The Curator’s Perspective series has been made possible, in part, by grants from the Hartfield Foundation and by generous contributions from the ICI Board of Trustees and ICI Access Fund. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council.