Andy Warhol Foundation Awards $50k Curatorial Research Fellowship
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has awarded EMPAC / Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute a $50,000 Curatorial Fellowship grant to support research in preparation for curators Vic Brooks and Nida Ghouse’s exhibition Shifting Center.
Vic Brooks is senior curator for time-based visual art at EMPAC. Since joining the curatorial team in 2013, she has shaped EMPAC’s program through commissioning, producing, and presenting numerous complex and interdisciplinary new artworks that utilizes EMPAC’s unique position at the intersection of art and technology. Her engagement with architectural acoustics and audio exhibition techniques includes long-term research project and forthcoming book on Alexander Calder’s Acoustic Ceiling (1953) in Venezuela and the related Warhol-supported commission by Ana Navas commission Cuando las nubes eran las olas (2022).
Nida Ghouse is an independent curator and writer based in Bombay and Berlin. She previously served as director of Mumbai Art Room, an experimental exhibition space in Bombay. As part of her curatorial practice, Ghouse explores auditory technologies alongside colonial legacies through artistic and curatorial collaborations with documentary films, sound-based practices, and contemporary art. Her recent exhibition A Slightly Curving Place (2020) at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, brought together artists, writers, performers, and sound designers in response to unique archaeoacoustic studies of premodern performance sites in India conducted over decades by self-taught acoustic archaeologist Umashankar Manthravadi.
“The Warhol Curatorial Research Fellowship for the scholarship towards Shifting Center has the potential to have significant impact on how we think about sound in exhibitions, but also the future of museum architecture and curatorial practices that listen to the past and future in the present. EMPAC encourages artists as well as curators to reach beyond the traditional confines of their practice, I am exceptionally interested in the lively debate, scholarly study, and perceptual engagement of these two visual art curators in the acoustic realm. Their research will help us think better about the presentation of exhibitions that does not only privilege looking but also listening”
—Johannes Goebel, Director
The forthcoming exhibition, Shifting Center, considers the often-overlooked acoustic practices in contemporary art and exhibition-making as they relate to cultural memory, colonial history, and decolonial processes. More specifically, this curatorial research and the subsequent exhibition investigates the politics of sound by considering two opposing tendencies at play within contemporary art exhibitions and colonial museums: dislocation (objects, artworks, and cultural belongings taken from their original context and silenced through the mechanisms of museological preservation and display); and location (how architecture and acoustics impact the experience of exhibitions as resonant spaces of sited and situated listening).
Curatorial research in preparation for the exhibition will span two years and will comprise international travel for studio and site visits, interviews, and archival research. The curators will meet with artists and specialists where they work as well as convene at EMPAC for discussions about acoustic display and spatial audio technology. This period of research is itself an exercise in listening to and learning from others, an essentially communal and temporal practice that is not only rooted in the present but looks for how past ways of knowing and practices of listening can inform an exhibition today.
About the Foundation
In accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, the mission of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts is the advancement of the visual arts. The foundation manages an innovative and flexible grants program while also preserving Warhol’s legacy through creative and responsible licensing policies and extensive scholarly research for ongoing catalogue raisonné projects. To date, the foundation has given over $218 million in cash grants to over 1,000 arts organizations in 49 states and abroad and has donated 52,786 works of art to 322 institutions worldwide.