The Past Is Now: Historic Sites as Venues for Contemporary Art
Lecture & Slideshow by Ric Kasini Kadour
at the Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh
Sunday, September 30, 2018 at 3PM
Historic sites are important threads in the fabric of culture and society. These time capsules hold for us, in land and architecture, memories of our past and the stories of the people who lived there. Contemporary art is the art of today and speaks to 21st century society. What happens when the two mix? Artist and writer Ric Kasini Kadour will present examples of historic sites that have used contemporary art to bring ideas of the past into the present. He will share how contemporary artist Olafur Eliasson referenced the optical illusions and interactive sensual experience of the 17th century landscaped gardens at Palace of Versailles to reframe the sites and their historical narrative within the contemporary visitor’s experiences. He will speak about how an annual art fair at Governors Island National Monument reinterprets the former army post and how the annual exhibition at Kents’ Corners in Calais, Vermont provides an opportunity for artists to bring the past into the present. The talk will present research from the American Alliance of Museums, the London-based Elizabeth Xi Bauer Art Consultancy, and Lowell, Massachusetts researcher and curator Kate Laurel Burgess-MacIntosh, who is the author of the blog Revitalizing Historic Sites Through Contemporary Art. The slideshow will be followed by a lively discussion about what we want from contemporary art and our historic sites.
The American Alliance of Museums writes, the marriage of contemporary art and historic sites “is a chance to discover new revenue and funding possibilities, and expand partnership and collaboration opportunities, while enlarging the reach and visibility of historic house museums. Most importantly, it gives us the opportunity to change public opinion, uncover new research and information, and breathe new life into old spaces, while seeing the past in different ways. Contemporary art introduced at historic sites can do all this and more; art is the new mode of interpretation, and artists are the new interpreters.”
Lecture attendees will also be able to view “The Fabric of Emancipation: The Lens of American History through Contemporary Fiber Arts” curated by Harlem Needle Arts. The exhibit includes pieced quilts, representational and abstract, made by African American fabric artists Ife Cummings and Michael A. Cummings, as well as a layered, pieced assemblage by L’Merchie Frazier.
Who should attend?
This lecture is open to the general public. We want your thoughts and ideas about historic sites and contemporary art. Artists interested in interacting with historic sites are encouraged to attend, as are members of historic societies interested in strategies for bringing their work to new audiences.
About Ric Kasini Kadour
Ric Kasini Kadour is a writer, artist, publisher, and cultural worker. Kadour is the founder and editor of Vermont Art Guide, a quarterly, printed magazine about contemporary art in Vermont. He also publishes Art Map Burlington, a monthly guide to Burlington’s contemporary art scene and, since 2012, Kolaj Magazine, a printed, international magazine about contemporary, fine art collage. Kadour has written for a number of galleries and his writing has appeared in Hyperallergic, Vermont Magazine, Seven Days, Seattle Weekly, Art New England (where he was the former Vermont editor) and many others.
About Rokeby Museum
A Quaker family farm for nearly two centuries, this National Historic Landmark served as a safe haven for 19th century fugitives from slavery. Exhibits and programs highlight the noted accomplishments of family members who were ardent Abolitionists and talented artists, writers, and naturalists. Explore award-winning exhibits, guided house tours, more than ten historic farm buildings and agricultural features, and 50 acres of interpreted nature trails. www.rokeby.org
4334 Route 7
Daily, 10AM-5PM through 10/28/18
Cherries and Grapes Were Good That Year
by Ric Kasini Kadour
Courtesy of the artist