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Through a performative lecture, Paul O’Neill, Irish curator, artist, writer, educator and Artistic Director of PUBLICS, Vallila Helsinki, presents the epilogue from his new co-publication Curating After the Global: Roadmaps to the present and reflects on curatorial practice, collective exhibition-making and the public as a constructed readymade.

Taking a recent exhibition project We are the Center for Curatorial Studies, Hessel Museum, 2016-17 as its starting point, this lecture reflects upon curatorial studies and extends a conception of the curatorial to account for multiple public sites of contact, assemblages and gathering of diverse bodies and subjects as well as their discursive connections. In doing so, it opens up a concept of the formation of the ‘exhibition’ itself as a form of publicness, and as a mode of public research action in its own process of becoming.

O’Neill’s talk will look at how different points of contact are made possible when exhibiting becomes a form of escape for the artwork as much as for the viewer. Here, O’Neill identifies escape and publicness as key concepts for the curatorial which defines itself as an act of release – from something, somewhere, someone – accompanied by the wish to be transformed. Escape implicates language itself as being complicit with our need to be able to, at least, imagine ourselves elsewhere, in the futures sense. How can a language of exhibitions, therefore enable us to think attentively about escape as a curatorial form of ‘exhibiting’, and as a space of transformation for art and its publics?

This talk launches O’Neill’s latest publication Curating After the Global: Roadmaps to the present co-published with Mit Press and the Center for Curatorial Studies Bard College/Luma Foundation, October 2019. Books available for purchase on the evening, see more details here

About Speaker

Dr. Paul O’Neill is an Irish curator, artist, writer and educator. He is the Artistic Director of PUBLICS, a position he took up in September 2017. PUBLICS is a curatorial agency and event space with a dedicated library, and reading room in Vallila Helsinki. PUBLICS develops out of Checkpoint Helsinki, a contemporary art initiative established in 2013. In its spirit, PUBLICS continues this organization’s commitment to critical social thinking, contemporary art and publicness. Since 2017 PUBLICS has co-curated, organised, and co-commissioned events, performances and exhibitions with artists such as Tony Cokes, Karrabing Film Collective, JULIA Studio, Chris Kraus, James Hoff, Bonaventure, Liam Gillick, Kathrin Böhm, Maryam Jafri, Harold Offeh, Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings, Lucy Raven, James N.Kienitz Wilkins, Mercedes Azpilicueta, Jeanne van Heeswijk and many others.

Between 2013-17, he was Director of the Graduate Program at the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS), Bard College. Paul is widely regarded as one of the foremost research-oriented curators, and leading scholar of curatorial practice, public art and exhibition histories. Paul has held numerous curatorial and research positions over the last twenty years and he has taught on many curatorial and visual arts programs in Europe and the UK. Paul has co-curated more than sixty curatorial projects across the world including amongst recent others: We are the (Epi)center, P! Gallery, New York (2016), and the muti-faceted We are the Center for Curatorial Studies for the Hessel Museum, Bard College (2016-17), and the symposium Curating After the Global, at LUMA Foundation, Arles 2017 including a sited new commission with Emmanuelle Lainé.

He was visiting tutor on the de Appel Curatorial Program, Amsterdam from 2005-17, and was international research fellow with The Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media, Dublin between 2010-13. From 2007-2010, he was responsible for leading the major international research program looking at durational appraches to public art; Locating the Producers at Situations, University of the West of England, Bristol. He has previously held lecturing positions on the MFA in Curating, Goldsmiths, University of London and Visual Culture, Middlesex University amongst others. Between 2001-03, he was the Curator of London Print Studio Gallery. He was Artistic Director of Multiples X from 1997-06; an organization that commissioned and supported curated exhibitions of artist’s editions at Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin.

Paul’s writing has been published in many books, catalogues, journals and magazines and he is a regular contributor to Art Monthly. He is reviews editor for Art and the Public Sphere Journal and series co-editor of Afterall’s Exhibition Histories Series. He is on the editorial board The Journal of Curatorial Studies and FIELD – A Journal of Socially Engaged Art Criticism and The Journal of Curatorial Studies. He is editor of the curatorial anthology, Curating Subjects (2007), and co-editor of Curating and the Educational Turn (2010), and Curating Research (2014) both with Mick Wilson, and co-published by de Appel and Open Editions (Amsterdam and London); Locating the Producers: Durational Approaches to Public Art (Amsterdam, Valiz, 2011), co-edited with Claire Doherty and author of the critically acclaimed book The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s), (Cambridge, MASS., The MIT Press, 2012). His most recent anthologies, The Curatorial Conundrum…, and How Institutions Think are co-edited with Lucy Steeds and Mick Wilson, published with The MIT Press, CCS Bard College and Luma Foundation, in 2016 and 2017 respectively and the new anthology in the same series entitled Curating After the Global has just been published in 2019. He is currently working on an anthology of his collected writings, and researching a number of curatorial projects for 2020 including with ADN Galleria, Barcelona, and Balin House, London amongst other projects