Sunday, Nov 11 at 6:30 pm
Such a Morning
With Amar Kanwar, Carin Kuoni, Laura Raicovich, Nitin Sawhney, and Kaelen Wilson-Goldie
The Vera List Center and UnionDocs in association with Marian Goodman Gallery present a screening of Indian artist and filmmaker Amar Kanwar’s Such a Morning, in the artist’s words “a modern parable about two people’s quiet engagement with truth… Such a Morning navigates multiple transitions between mathematics and poetry, democracy and fascism, fear and freedom. In the cusp between the eye and the mind, shifting time brushes every moment into new potencies. Each character seeks the truth through phantom visions from within the depths of darkness.”
This screening of Kanwar’s film will kick off the Vera List Center’s Freedom of Speech: A Curriculum for Studies into Darkness and will be introduced by Carin Kuoni, Director and Chief Curator of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, to help frame the program in the context of the wider series. Following the film, Laura Raicovich, co-curator of the seminar series, will provide a response to help guide and prompt discussion between Kanwar, critic and writer Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, and Nitin Sawhney, Assistant Professor of Media Studies at The New School. This dialogue will focus on what knowledge can be produced by art, and how the unknown can be a productive incubator in times of crisis.
Join us at 6:30PM for a festive reception to celebrate and toast the launch of this exciting and expansive series.
About Freedom of Speech: A Curriculum for Studies into Darkness
Prompted by Kanwar’s invitation to help illuminate that which is unknown or “dark”, the Vera List Center will present, Freedom of Speech: A Curriculum for Studies into Darkness, a year-long series of public seminars on Freedom of Speech that are structured like an open curriculum. The program will examine the profound transformation on common understandings of Freedom of Speech as foundational to Western democracies, generated by recent debates around hate speech, censorship and racism in the U.S. and elsewhere. Key is a consideration of how constitutional law, nation states, corporations, and cultural communities relate to one another through a freedom of expression/freedom of speech lens, including recent controversies on historical monuments, (self) censorship on campuses, social media, and truth vs. facts. In response, the Vera List Center series will propose alternative approaches to the contested idea of Freedom of Speech as an absolute right by artists, scholars, thinkers, and makers in many different communities throughout the world. Rather than a qualifying statement, “darkness” here holds the promise of complexity, discovery and, in Kanwar’s words, “visions from within the depths of darkness” that will animate this program.
Such a Morning
Amar Kanwar, 2017, Single channel digital video, color, sound; 85 min. looped
“In this thoughtful meditation on modern existence, a well-off math professor gives everything up to live in a train car. Amar Kanwar’s dialogue-free film tells its tale through intertitles, letters, and minimal on-screen action. As the ascetic professor goes about his daily routine or just wanders around inside the car, Kanwar proves himself a master of light and shadow, making every small gesture into a simple, powerful image. Originally the centerpiece of an installation at Documenta 14, Such a Morning questions what it means to be truly in the moment.” – Film Society of Lincoln Center
Amar Kanwar has distinguished himself through films and multi‐media works, which explore the politics of power, violence and justice. His multi‐layered installations originate in narratives often drawn from zones of conflict and are characterized by a unique poetic approach to the personal, social and political.
Kanwar’s recent solo exhibitions include: Luma Arles, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota, and Tate Modern, London, in 2018; Bildmuseet, Umea (2017); Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai (2016); and the Assam State Museum in collaboration with Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and North East Network, India (2015). Earlier solo exhibitions include the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2008); the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2007); and the Renaissance Society, Chicago (2004).
Kanwar has also participated in the first Lahore Biennale (2018), documenta 11, 12, 13, and 14 in Kassel, Germany (2002, 2007, 2012, 2017); 56th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2013); 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013); 5th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2013); 11th Sharjah Biennale, UAE (2013); and 1st Kochi Biennale, India (2013), among others.He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Prince Claus Award (2017); Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change (2014); an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts, Maine College of Art (2006); the Edvard Munch Award for Contemporary Art, Norway (2005); and the MacArthur Fellowship in India (2000).
Carin Kuoni is a curator, writer and arts administrator whose work examines how contemporary artistic practices reflect and inform social and political conditions. She is director/chief curator of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School and teaches there. Prior to joining The New School, she was director of exhibitions at Independent Curators International and director of The Swiss Institute, New York. A founding member of the artist collective REPOhistory, Kuoni has curated and co-curated numerous transdisciplinary exhibitions including Red River Crossings (Swiss Institute , 1996), The Puppet Show (ICA Philadelphia, 2008), OURS: Democracy in the Age of Branding (Parsons, 2008), Abounaddara. The Right to the Image (Parsons, 2013), and Post-Speculation (P!, 2014). Kuoni is the editor or co-editor of several anthologies, among them Energy Plan for the Western Man: Joseph Beuys in America (1990), Words of Wisdom: A Curator’s Vademecum (2001), Considering Forgiveness (2009), Speculation, Now (2014), Entry Points: The Vera List Center Field Guide on Art and Social Justice (2015), and co-edited, with Laura Raicovich and Kareem Estefan, Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production (2017).
Laura Raicovich is a writer and art worker dedicated to art and artistic production that relies on complexity, poetics, and care to create a more engaged and equitable civic realm. Until recently, she served as President and Executive Director of the Queens Museum where she oversaw an inviting and vital commons for art, ideas, and engagement. In 2018, she co-curated Mel Chin: All Over the Place (with Manon Slome and No Longer Empty), the first major presentation in New York City of artist Mel Chin in more than 20 years that occupied the entire Queens Museum and multiple public sites in the city.
Prior to Queens Museum, Raicovich inaugurated Creative Time’s Global Initiatives, and worked for a decade at Dia Art Foundation, where she served as deputy director. She began her career working at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Public Art Fund, and New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Raicovich lectures internationally and has published a number of books including “Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production” (OR Books/Vera List Center for Art and Politics, 2017); “At the Lightning Field” (Coffee House Press, 2017); and “A Diary of Mysterious Difficulties” (Publication Studio, 2014). She graduated from Swarthmore College and holds a Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York.
Nitin Sawhney is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at The New School, and Faculty Fellow with the Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought (GIDEST). His research, teaching and creative practice engages the critical role of technology, civic media, and artistic interventions in contested spaces. He examines social movements and crisis contexts through forms of creative urban tactics, participatory research, performance, and documentary film.
Nitin has conducted digital storytelling initiatives with Palestinian youth in refugee camps since 2006 and directed the award-winning documentary film Flying Paper, co-produced with children in Gaza with support from National Geographic. He also directed the film, Zona Intervenida, examining historic memory through site-specific performance interventions in Guatemala. In 2016-2017, he devised Sacred Soundwalks, a sensory media project and sound installation exploring narrative memory of sacred sites in Kathmandu, Nepal and along historic pilgrimage routes to Mt. Kailash in Tibet.
Kaelen Wilson-Goldie is a writer and critic who divides her time (unevenly) between Beirut and New York. A contributing editor for Bidoun, she writes regularly for Artforum, Bookforum, Aperture, and Frieze. She has traveled extensively in the Middle East and North Africa to report on the relationship between art and politics, writing for newspapers, magazines, and journals including Afterall, Art Journal, Parkett, The New York Times, and The Times of London. She was a 2007 fellow in the USC Annenberg Getty Arts Journalism Program and won a grant from the Creative Capital Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program in 2013. Her first book, on the paintings of Etel Adnan (Lund Humphries), will be published in June. Her second, on contemporary art in post-war, reconstruction-era Beirut (Kaph), will be published in 2019. She teaches in the MFA Art Writing Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Such a Morning (2017), was produced with the support of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, and presented by Documenta 14 in Athens, Greece, and Kassel, Germany. The seminar series is organized by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics as part of the center’s 2018–2020 curatorial focus If Art Is Politics. It is curated by Carin Kuoni, Director/Chief Curator, Vera List Center, and Laura Raicovich with assistance by Gabriela López Dena. This event is co-presented in partnership with UnionDocs.