Present Past: Contemporary Art and the Uses of History

October 9, 2011
Event Types
Talk / Lecture
Guests are seated on small stools around a woman with dark hair and glasses who is leading the lecture inside the gallery space.

Gallery talk as part of Gwenneth Boelens: At Odds at MIT List Visual Arts Center in 2017.

Max Wasserman Forum 2011Present Past: Contemporary Art and the Uses of HistoryModerator: Tim GriffinPanelists: ·       Matthew Buckingham·       Jaleh Mansoor ·       Dieter Roelstraete ·       Danh VoConcept: “To be historical,” wrote philosopher Paul Ricoeur, “an event must be more than a singular occurrence, a unique happening. It receives its definition from its contribution to the development of a plot.” If narrative is central to written history, what might Ricoeur's statement mean for artistic practices that operate with historical materials, such as archives or found objects, or for artistic practices that use historical theories themselves as subject matter? What of the connection between historical and fictional narratives? In what ways can artistic practices open a space to question the status of whose narrative is being articulated? More generally, what are the articulations of the relationship between contemporary art and an interest in historical phenomena? Can current artistic practices prompt a new sense of historical time, one reflected in a relationship to the contemporary as a category of the present that is, in itself already, historical?These and related questions will be considered by panelists Matthew Buckingham, Jaleh Mansoor, Dieter Roelstraete, Danh Vo, and moderator Tim Griffin as they discuss how artists use historical material in their work, how they engage theories and methods of historical research, and how artistic practice can call into question the status of historical narratives and received notions of historical time.