The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Upcoming Exhibition: A Wicked Problem

when: 2014-11-14, starts at 6 - 8pm
where: EFA Project Space 323 W. 39th St, 2nd Floor


Dates: November 14th – December 20th, 2014
Opening Reception: November 14, 2014, 6–8 pm

A “wicked problem” is a term used by social policy experts to describe an issue that has innumerable causes, is tough to describe, and doesn’t have a right answer.

Classic wicked problems include climate change and poverty. An unconventional wicked problem would be curating an exhibition. To curate is to propose a shared meaning under incomplete, contradictory, and changing individual imperatives. To curate is to ask a question with no “true” or “false” answer. To curate is to generate a problem that is resistant to resolution.

When an upcoming exhibition fell through unexpectedly, we decided to take this opportunity to think about the relationship between exhibition spaces, curators, and artists, and to consider what exactly it is that we do, as one of many nonprofit spaces in New York that facilitates exhibition-making. For A Wicked Problem, we called on artists and curators to dispose with all practical limitations and envision the most audacious, outrageous, and impossible exhibitions. We asked: “Please send us proposals for shows regardless of practical limitations—submissions may include any number of artists alive or dead (or none at all), use any locations on this planet (or off), and assume a budget that is limitless.” (Read the original call for proposals here.) Fourteen of those proposals are partially realized in this show, and were selected by jurors Naima Keith (Studio Museum Harlem), Prem Krishnamurthy (P! and Projects Projects), Larissa Harris (Queens Museum), and David Senior (MoMA Library).

The selected proposals include the idea of turning the gallery into a hotel for small animals, installing artworks on a snowflake or a roller coaster, and launching Richard Serra’s sculpture Fulcrum into orbit around Earth.

Above all, we think this show of shows will be a lot of fun. Please join us in speculating on the impossible.

Participants: Emily Baierl, Greta Byrum and Annabel Daou, Hank Ehrenfried, Caitlin Foley and Misha Rabinovich, Katya Grokhovsky, Oree Holban, Antony Hudek, Felix Kalmenson, Audra Lambert, Clarinda Mac Low, Marina Noronha and Micah Silver, Beth Reitmeyer, Emily Thomas, and Anuj Vaidya

A Wicked Problem is organized by Claire Barliant, Curatorial Advisor, EFA Project Space; Lauren Bierly, Assistant Director, EFA Project Space; Michelle Levy, Director, EFA Project Space; and Meghana Karnik and Minzoo Park, EFA Project Space Exhibition Interns; with a brochure designed by Kloepfer-Ramsey-Kwon.

For press inquiries, please contact Lauren Bierly:

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