Community Board

June 2014. Text for the collective exhibition @ the Glass House Gallery. Organized by the second graduating class of participants of the MFA Art Practice Program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC.

     Community Board is the collective exhibition organized by the second graduating class of participants of the MFA Art Practice Program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. The curatorial task of bringing all works together was given to the AP faculty member and deputy chair of MA Curatorial Practice, Jovana Stokic.

     The exhibition reflects the group’s identity and the holistic nature of the program, conceptualized and directed by the curator, writer and former museum director, David Ross: a tremendously rich and diverse one. The artists come from multiple backgrounds. They work in several medias including film, performance, object production, investigations of biological and environmental art, and socially engagement art. Two threads weave their practices together: They are research oriented— an exhibition does not necessarily mean that the work is finished and most of these participants work inter disciplinarily towards installation formats.

     The title “Community Board” suggests that this exhibition embodies community formation and culture production from the viewpoint of multiplicity. Since its exhibition at the Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn last year, rather than producing a show around a common theme or concern, the participants have been more interested in the collective engagement of their diversified works and practices and the unexpected outcomes. Community Board challenges the current Western notion of community formation and its myth of belonging, both based upon concepts of sameness and immunity. The sociologist Richard Sennett explains in his book The uses of Disorder how this process is done:

     The “we” feeling, which expresses the desire to be similar, is a way for men to avoid the necessity of looking deeper into each other; instead, men imagine that they know about each other, and their knowledge becomes a vision of how they must be the same.”[1]

     Because of its diverse nature, the exhibition also challenges the notions of hierarchy and power distribution within the community. Community Board’s curator Jovana Stokic describes it as “a self-organizational system as a process where some form of order arises out of local interactions between the components.” When Stokic writes “in order to keep this process spontaneous, it (the system) cannot be directed or controlled by any agent or subsystem. I am here only to contribute to this choreography.” This generous statement opens up her own function to new interpretations, which include an organic and fluid exchange of knowledge between artist and the curator.

     An exhibition such as Community Board, which is based on the multiplicity of distinctions instigates dialogue and reflects upon the role that artists play in contemporary art and society.