Questions & Appearances
...offers a unique opportunity to produce an unusual interview, asking questions that might otherwise be deemed too eccentric in a conventional format. Joseph del Pesco invited the peripatetic artist and photographer Curran Hatleberg to answer 14 questions, with images.
Courtesy August Sanders Archive
“The information about the artwork is actually the most important thing about it,” McKenzie Wark writes in her essay “My Collectible Ass.” “What establishes the value of the work is that people talk about it, write about it, circulate (unauthorized) pictures of it. The more it circulates, the more value it has.” Wark’s text was published in 2017, years before NFTs had gained traction and saturated the context for these ideas. This particular fragment surfaced during a conversation I had with Mexican artist Alejandro Cartagena about the two NFT platforms he cofounded, Fellowship and Obscura. Wark’s ideas supported one of Cartagena’s key arguments: that NFTs are 50 percent information...."
The artworks featured in Ancient History of the Distant Future address current social or political issues through historical allegory, juxtaposition, and association. Installed throughout the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) landmark Victorian Gothic building, the contemporary artworks point both backward and forward—critically, referentially, and inspirationally—to historical artworks, inviting reconsideration and reinterpretation in the present.
Artists: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Matthew Buckingham, Cassils, Enrique Chagoya, Lenka Clayton and Phillip Andrew Lewis, Minerva Cuevas, Alex Da Corte, Cynthia Daignault, Mario Garcia Torres, General Idea, Mungo Thomson, Adrian Villar Rojas, and Carla Zaccagnini.
September 27, 2019–February 2, 2020
For the Counterpublic Triennial, Joseph del Pesco and artist Jon Rubin collaborated on a new commission, Monuments, Ruins and Forgetting, installed on Cherokee Street, St. Louis MO. A three-part installation consisting of storefront signage, street posters, and musical performances, Monuments, Ruins and Forgetting inaugurates a new (and speculative) National Museum that—over the course of three months—presents a micro-narrative about historical progression.
Del Pesco and Rubin consider, how does a nation, a city or a neighborhood decide what to collectively remember? Which histories are deemed worth saving and which are ignored, denied or forgotten? How long does it take for monuments to become ruins, or for once widely known stories to be forgotten?
In the United States, there are now more museums than Starbucks and McDonalds combined, and each museum collects and narrates history. Many American cities, including St. Louis, have opened self-styled national museums, attempting to connect national narratives of exceptionalism to local identities. What does this proliferation of museum-making tell us about where we are in the arc of American culture and empire?
April 13-July 13, 2019
As part of processing and recovering from a global pandemic, del Pesco organized a free one-night screening in a public park of the unforgettable series 2 Lizards. Using high-powered magnets to attach a canvas screen to an existing shipping container, and rotating nearby bleachers, an outdoor cinema was created with no trace left behind.
2 Lizards by Meriem Bennani & Orian Barki
Roosevelt Park, Baltimore
Screening, June 26, 2021
The first outdoor presentation of Piotr Szyhalski's entire series COVID-19: Labor Camp Report. featuring 225 drawings, made one a day starting in March of 2020, and continuing until November 3, election day. The installation is printed on newsprint and wheatpasted on a purpose-built billboard. I contributed a text to the sold out book about the series.
Falls Road, Baltimore
Presented with the support of Good Neighbor
Eleven pairs: one seminal work of early video art and a contemporary international video work from KADIST’s collection, Double Takes was presented over 11 months at MoCA Cleveland. The videos are paired for subject, theme, at times for formal or conceptual resonance, and at other times as provocative counterpoints—highlighting relationships that range from the urgent to the absurd, spanning generations and borders. Co-curated in collaboration with A. Will Brown
Double Takes, October 2018—September 2019
A partnership between seven international arts organizations, A River Waits Reply presented moving-image works from around the world in response to the global pandemic. The summer of 2020 invited new modes of exchange at a distance, and a long overdue reckoning with deep social and political inequity. The transnational collaboration represents new forms of solidarity. All seven institutions simultaneously hosted each video (presented as a weekly series) on their websites. Each work was selected by a partner organization as a response to the videos that preceded it, producing a cascading sequence and a winding river of thought, interpreted through the aesthetic and social values of their respective cultural context. Organized in collaboration with Catalina Lozano.
I wasn’t sure we were onto something until I learned that in 1992 artist Cady Noland, well known for her complex portrayals of a violent and divided America, once attached a contract to the sale of two artworks that set specific terms—if the work was resold, 15 percent of the profits would be sent to Partnership for the Homeless. What little is known about this contract suggests it was attached to two silk-screen prints. Fortunately Partnership is still running decades later, so if those artworks were resold today they would generate an unexpected donation to a deserving nonprofit. And as an incentive for going to the trouble, the (re)seller would be eligible for a tax deduction.
July 27, 2020
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