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People’s Biennial 2010

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STAFF PICK People’s Biennial proposes an alternative to the standard contemporary art biennial, which mostly focuses on art from a few select cities (New York, Los Angeles, occasionally Chicago, Miami or San Francisco). This exhibition questions the often exclusionary and insular process of selecting art that has at times turned exhibition spaces into privileged havens detached from the realities of everyday life.

People’s Biennial 2010: A Guide to America’s Most Amazing Artists chronicles the curatorial process of curators Harrell Fletcher’s and Jens Hoffmann’s research for the exhibition. The publication includes a conversation between the curators, journalistic entries from the participating venues’ staff, statements from each of the selected artists; and extensive photographic documentation of the exhibition organization process, community-based events, selected artwork, and the resulting exhibition.

In 2010, artist Harrell Fletcher and curator Jens Hoffmann organized the People’s Biennial, an exhibition that surveyed artists in five American cities not considered “mainstream” art centers. Highly experimental and even controversial, the exhibition’s main goal was to diversify the art world by providing a wider view of the artistic possibilities outside the conventional infrastructure. Along with exhibitions at five art institutions located across the United States, Fletcher and Hoffmann collaborated with ICI to create a publication that presents the rich and diverse selection of artists and their practices. The featured works are varied: from paintings created by dancing on a canvas, to sculptures carved from soap bars, to installations made from discontinued Lego sets. Taken together, this publication demonstrates not only the wealth of creativity around the nation, but also calls attention to the collaborative experiences of artists and curators.
— Jessica Man, Curatorial Intensive Coordinator

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit presents People’s Biennial from September 12, 2014 - January 4, 2015. The exhibition follows the ICI tour of People’s Biennial 2010, curated by Jens Hoffman and Harrell Fletcher, which drew attention to artistic practices in five diverse non-art center geographical regions in the United States. People’s Biennial 2014 will once again highlight artists that work largely outside of the mainstream art market.

“For the second iteration of this ongoing exhibition series, the curators have asked 17 artists from a wide range of geographical locations around the United States to collaborate with creative individuals they personally know who are not part of the art world in any way. These solo presentations will each be displayed in free-standing structures within the refurbished Woodward Gallery of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.”


Fletcher, Harrell and Hoffmann, Jens, People’s Biennial 2010, Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, 2011. 136 pages. 9.5 x 6.3 in., hardcover. ISBN: 978-0-916365-83-7. $35.00. SALE: $15.00

Essays by Jens Hoffmann, Harrell Fletcher, Kristan Kennedy, Mary Maxon, Steven Matijcio, Cassandra Coblentz, and Matthew Seamus Callinan.




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