People’s Biennial proposes an alternative to the standard contemporary art biennial and questions the often-exclusionary selection process of biennial curation. Organized by artist Harrell Fletcher and Jens Hoffmann, Director, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, CCA, and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), the traveling exhibition examines the work of artists who operate outside the MFA programs, commercial galleries, and major museums that make up the mainstream art world.
The exhibition is the result of a year of research into the creative communities of five American cities: Portland, Oregon; Rapid City, South Dakota; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Haverford, Pennsylvania. In each place, the curators collaborated with an art institution and participated in a series of public events and open-calls, which led to the selection of the work of 36 artists, culminating in a snapshot of creative practice in America today.
In conjunction with the exhibition’s last stop at Haverford College, a two-day conversation has been organized to delve deeper into questions about regionalism, display, and structures of support for under-recognized artists in ways that push the boundaries of curatorial, artistic, and institutional innovation.
Participants include Harrell Fletcher, Tom Finkelpearl, Jens Hoffmann, Paula Marincola, John Muse, Peter Nesbett, John Ollman, Renaud Proch, J. Morgan Puett, Julien Robson, Ingrid Schaffner, Andrew Suggs, Astria Suparak, Nato Thompson, and Transformazium.
Friday, February 24
Sharpless Auditorium, KINSC
370 Lancaster Avenue
Haverford, PA 19041
Exhibition co-curators Harrell Fletcher and Jens Hoffmann reflect on the process of making the first People’s Biennial, as well as its potential for future iterations.
Moderated by Renaud Proch, Deputy Director, ICI.
People’s Biennial will be on view following the conversation until 7:30pm.
Saturday, February 25
Institute of Contemporary Art
University of Pennsylvania
118 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
This day-long conversation proposes a question in two parts: How can one contextualize and display art that exists outside the norms of the mainstream art world in an innovative manner, and how can structures of display transform into ongoing systems of support for artists?
Ingrid Schaffner and Renaud Proch
Harrell Fletcher and Jens Hoffmann
Exploring curatorial innovation in regional communities
This discussion will examine the role of curatorial practice and exhibition-making in fostering meaningful cultural impact in regional communities
Speakers include Nato Thompson, Chief Curator, Creative Time; Andrew Suggs, Executive Director, Vox Populi; and Astria Suparak, Director, Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University
Official responses by Christopher Cook, Director, Salina Art Center; Peter Nesbett, Senior Program Specialist, Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative; Julien Robson, Curator of Contemporary Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; and Ingrid Schaffner, Senior Curator, ICA University of Pennsylvania
Moderated by Jens Hoffmann
Developing ongoing systems of support for art and creativity
The discussion will address the realities of living and working in regional communities, and how artists and institutions have addressed the complexities of working in these contexts
Speakers include Tom Finkelpearl, Executive Director, Queens Museum of Art; J. Morgan Puett, artist; and Transformazium, artist collaborative
Official responses by John Ollman, Director, Fleisher/Ollman Gallery; Paula Marincola, Executive Director, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage; and John Muse, Visiting Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, Haverford College
Moderated by Harrell Fletcher
People’s Conference is co-organized by Independent Curators International (ICI), Haverford College’s John B. Hurford ‘60 Center for the Arts and Humanities, and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), University of Pennsylvania. People’s Conference is funded, in part, with a professional development grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative. The ICA thanks The Spiegel Fund to Support Contemporary Culture and Visual Arts.