The Vanguard Ambassador as Curatorial Strategy
An ambassador acts as a vanguard, a representative of an institution. The ambassador connects larger governing bodies to specific nodes of activities, ideas and people inaccessible or out of bounds because of limited resources or lack of knowledge. The ambassador is a conduit, a kind of contractor striving to improve relations and further the mission of an institution.
In contemporary art, as curatorial strategy and institution practice the ambassador figure is used to build audiences and bring together communities for exhibitions, programs and projects. The Vanguard Ambassador (let’s call it that) is a person or a group of individuals, it can also be a geographic envoy. It can function as a satellite, building commitments while distilling information relevant to the institution. From the “platforms” organized by the late Okwui Enwezor in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa as part of Documenta 11; to Ahmet Ögüt’s Silent University gathering together a network of teachers, researchers, and fellows to educate refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants; to the curatorial strategies deployed by Maria Lind at Tensta konsthall connecting Tensta to nearby immigrant communities, the Vanguard Ambassador roots into social, geographical, and political frameworks foreign to a governing body to further an organizational mission.
This presentation introduces case studies of the Vanguard Ambassador in order to explore its social and political implications, the ethics of the Vanguard Ambassador, examining how the curatorial strategy benefits and changes institution practice.
517 Plank Road, Beach Lake, PA
Saturday, June 1, 2019
I Call This Work Research
Exhibitions/residencies/public programs/a publication studio/a workshop/learning sites/archival research/bookshops/websites/writings/teaching/an interview project and — slash — a beer garden. Slashes and hybridity. Public and private activities, intentionally orchestrated and coordinated connections and mediations: this is what a curatorial research practice looks like.
Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery
College of Humanities & the Arts
San José State University, One Washington Square, San José, CA
Tuesday, November 5, 2019, 5:00 p.m.