Home » Canadian Curator Abroad: Alissa Firth-Eagland

Canadian Curator Abroad: Alissa Firth-Eagland

DECONSTRUCT – PERCEIVE – ACT – QUESTION Speaking of young artists, I recently ran into the young, formerly-Toronto based curator Alissa Firth-Eagland, who had been living in Europe for the past two years and who was back in town for a few weeks of studio visits before taking off again.Firth-Eagland, second from left, with her fellow participants of the Curatorial Training Program. Image: ecoledumagasin.comShe handed me a copy of one of her recent publications, The Learning Public, which she co-edited with Veronica Valentini from Milan. It was published on the occasion of a round table, back in May, which corresponded to an exhibition called How not to make an exhibition at the international cutarorial training program Ecole du Magasin, in Grenoble, France. The round table was titled How to Act in the Public Sphere, the participants were The Bruce High Quality Foundation and the French artist Clarie Fontaine.The publication is clearly intended as a work of art. On its cover is a story of Bruce and Claire, but the story asks the reader to consider: “What if this text is a public space? Yes. This one.”Members of the Bruce High Quality Foundation. Image: nytimes.comInside, a manifesto of sorts from the BHQF, whose mission, on their website, HERE, is, in part “to resurect art history from the bowels of despair.” Discussing what they term the learning public, or the public that exists in order to validate art history and the art market, they put forward the idea that that this public has relinquished its power because they have “misconstrued the battle for power over what art is as a battle between the private and public sectors. Currently, the most significant and creative remodeling of art’s institutions are coming from the private sector…”It goes on to say that this is because the private sector is more creative, more willing to take risks, acts like an engaged student. Nonetheless, the private sector “still instrumentalizes art for profit.”Their goal? “To position the learning public of art in such a way that it can engulf the public and the private…to understand art through the educational frame.”Claire Fontaine submits an allegorical text, using her words “to address her own powerlessness in today’s messy apolitical world”.getinline.jpgThe exhibition poster, courtesy Alissa Firth-Eagland. The exhibition was designed to offer alternatives to established systems of learning by putting into question their coercive aspects.  It’s interesting – especially in light of the last post on Hugh Scott-Douglas – how young artists and curators are thinking about and reacting to the market, how it is formed and what their place is within it.For more information – in French – please see the website HERE.More on Alissa Firth-Eagland, is HERE.

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