Curating Social Movements

Installation view, Serve the People: The Asian American Movement in New York, December 5, 2013-March 23, 2014, Interference Archive.

Curating Social Movements
Presented by Ryan Wong and Josh MacPhee
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
ICI Curatorial Hub

401 Broadway, Suite 1620
FREE and open to the public

Curatorial Intensive alumnus Ryan Wong and Interference Archive’s Josh MacPhee explore the challenges and implications of curating material from social movements.

Generally neglected by arts institutions, the visual culture produced by social movements is a vital sector in the worlds of arts and activism. Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now was one of the first exhibitions to gather posters and ephemera to tell the story of these movements through the artwork they produced. Interference Archive, based in Gowanus, Brooklyn continues that work through archiving, documenting, exhibiting, and activating movement materials. 

By examining the work of Interference Archive and the exhibitions Signs of Change and Serve the People, this talk will explore a) how these projects not only present past histories but engage with contemporary struggles b) what responsibilities such exhibitions and archives have to the movement activists and artists who created the material c) the challenges ephemera and ‘visual culture’ represent in terms of documentation, collecting, exhibiting, and institutional support.

About Interference Archive
Interference Archive explores the relationship between cultural production and social movements. This work manifests in public exhibitions, a study and social center, talks, screenings, publications, workshops, and an online presence. The archive consists of many kinds of objects that are created as part of social movements by the participants themselves: posters, flyers, publications, photographs, books, T-shirts and buttons, moving images, audio recordings, and other materials. Through our programming, we use this cultural ephemera to animate histories of people mobilizing for social transformation.  We consider the use of our collection to be a way of preserving and honoring histories and material culture that is often marginalized in mainstream institutions. As an archive from below, we are a collectively run space that is people powered, with open stacks and accessibility for all.  We work in collaboration with like-minded projects, and encourage critical as well as creative engagement with our own histories and current struggles.

This event is free and open to the public. To attend, please RSVP to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with CURATING in the subject line.

August 19, 2014

ICI Curatorial Hub
401 Broadway, Suite 1620
New York, NY 10013


Ryan Wong

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ryan Lee Wong lives in Brooklyn, where he connects Asian American movement histories to the present.  Ryan organized the exhibitions Serve the People at Interference Archive and Roots at Chinese American Museum. He has presented talks at Brooklyn Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Asia Art Archive, Independent Curators International, and numerous universities. He has worked as and exhibitions administrator at the Metropolitan Museum, Assistant Curator at Museum of Chinese in America, and Managing Director for Kundiman. He currently serves on the Board of the Jerome Foundation. He regularly writes arts criticism and exhibition reviews for outlets such as Hyperallergic, T Magazine, and the Village Voice, and has contributed to catalogues or anthologies for the New Museum, Temporary Art Review, and Social Practice Queens.

Josh MacPhee

Josh MacPhee is a designer, artist, and archivist. He is a member of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, the co-author of Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now, and co-editor of Signal: A Journal of International Political Graphics and Culture. He helps run Interference Archive, a public collection of cultural materials produced by social movements.

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