In 2004, Sarah Pierce and Annie Fletcher developed the Paraeducation Department as a way to think about the knowledge that a community brings into the museum. As a counter-balance to the museum’s education and exhibition programmes, Paraeducation has no audience or agenda. It values gathering as an act and an end in itself.
“Most learning happens casually, and even most intentional learning is not the result of programmed instruction.” – Ivan Illich
“You have to be able to knock ideas off of other people and hear them get beaten down in order to find out what you actually think. That’s learning as distinct from indoctrination.”
– Noam Chomsky
“We feel young, free and pure.” – November Gruppe
Taking place in Room 1 of the exhibition, Paraeducation Department is a space available to book for casual and self-organised activities, reading groups, and exchanges not programmed by the museum. Ideal for small groups of between 4–10 people, seating is provided and features Enzo Mari’s Autoprogettazione ‘Letto’ beds, fabricated in collaboration with artist Alex Pentek, with soft furnishings fabricated in collaboration with artist Mary Kervick. Read the full Paraeducation booklet here.
Commissioned in 2004 by curator Annie Fletcher for the exhibition Tracer at Witte de With (now Kunstinstituut Melly)/TENT, Rotterdam. Conceived with Annie Fletcher. Original members of the Paraeducation Hannah Arendt reading group in Rotterdam: Anke Bangma, Jason Coburn, Jeremiah Day, Tanja Elstgeest, Alette De Jong, Annabel Howland, Maria Pask, and Apolonija Šušteršič. The Paraeducation Reader, featuring artwork by Luca Frei and texts by Jeremiah Day, Chris Evans, Fucking Good Art, Fergal Gaynor, Elisabeth Mayerhofer, Paul O’Neill, Renée Ridgeway, Simon Sheikh, Craig Smith is available to download online at here
In 2023, IMMA will present Sarah Pierce: Scene of the Myth, guest curated by Rike Frank and the European Kunsthalle. The expansive solo exhibition consists of performances, videos, installations, and archives. Sarah Pierce, who lives and works in Dublin, relocated to Ireland from the US in 2000. Rike Frank has brought together twelve works, spanning twenty years, to highlight patterns of making and thinkingn that define Pierce’s art practice. Borne out of sticky relationships between the narratives we reproduce and those we wish to leave behind, Scene of the Myth asks what it means to gather, reflect, and act in community.
Since 2003, Sarah Pierce has used the term The Metropolitan Complex to describe her project, characterised by forms of gathering, both historical examples and those she initiates. The processes of research and presentation that she undertakes demonstrate a broad understanding of cultural work and a continual renegotiation of the terms for making art, the potential for dissent, and self-determination. Pierce works with installation, performance, archives, talks and papers, often opening these up to the personal and the incidental in ways that challenge received histories and accepted forms. Her interests include radical pedagogies and student work, art historical legacies and figures such as El Lissitzky, August Rodin, and Eva Hesse, and theories of community and love founded in Maurice Blanchot and Georges Bataille.
Pierce’s work has shown widely in the EU, US and Canada with major exhibitions at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2016), CCS Hessel Museum & CCS Galleries, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson (2016 and 2012), and Tate Modern and MuMOK Vienna (2010). In 2014 she presented a major solo exhibition in three-parts, Lost Illusions/Illusions perdues, developed jointly with Walter Phillips Gallery Banff AL, Mercer Union Toronto ON, and SBC Galerie Montreal QB. Other solo presentations include: No Title at the Centre of Contemporary Art, Derry (2017), Monogamy, an exhibition by Gerard Byrne and Sarah Pierce, curated by Tirdad Zolghadr at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, New York (2013); The Artist Talks, curated by Emily Pethick at The Showroom, London (2012); and The Meaning of Greatness curated by Grant Watson at Project Arts Centre (2006). She has participated in major international biennials including Glasgow International (2018), Eva International (2016, 2012), Lyon Biennial (2011), International Sinop Biennial (2010), Moscow Biennial (2007), and in 2005, Pierce represented Ireland in a group exhibition at the 51st Venice Biennale.
Publications on her work include No Title, co-edited with Sara Greavu, published by CCA Derry, and designed by Kaisa Lassinaro with essays by T.J. Clark, Karl Holmqvist, Mason Leaver-Yap, and Claire Potter; and Sketches of Universal History Compiled from Several Authors, edited by Rike Frank, published by Book Works, London and designed by Peter Maybury with essays by Melissa Gronlund, Tom Holert, Barbara Clausen, Declan Long, and Padraíc E. Moore. Pierce regularly writes and has chapters in many publications, most recently in, Of(f) Our Times: The Aftermath of the Ephemeral and other Curatorial Anachronics (Sternberg 2019).
Pierce was born in Connecticut in 1968 and grew up in Ontario before attending university in Los Angeles. In 1994, she completed her MFA at Cornell University in the School of Architecture, Art and Planning, and in 1995 she attended the Whitney Program in New York. In 2000 she moved to Dublin where she continues to work and live.
Rike Frank works as a curator and writer and teaches exhibition histories and curatorial practice. She is Executive Director of the Berlin Artistic Research Grant
Programme, as well as co-director of the European Kunsthalle. Her practice often reflects on temporality, textility as well as instituting and the documentation of curatorial articulations. Past institutional affiliations include Associate Professor of Exhibition Studies at the Academy of Fine Art of the Oslo National Academy of the Arts/KHIO (2014–2018); head of the exhibition space at Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig (2012–2014); member of the Artistic Program team, European Kunsthalle (2010–2012); Curator, Secession, Vienna (2001–2005); head of the Curatorial Office, documenta 12 (2007). Publications as editor and co-editor include Of(f) Our Times. Curatorial Anachronics (2019), Ane Hjort Guttu. Writings, Conversations, Scripts (2018), Textiles: Open Letter (2015), Textile Theorien der Moderne. Alois Riegl in der Kunstkritik (2015), Timing – On the Temporal Dimension of Exhibiting (2014), and Sketches of Universal History: Compiled from Several Authors by Sarah Pierce (2013).
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