Creating the Periphery: Shifting Geographies in Contemporary Art

Related Exhibitions Six Lines of Flight and South Africa in Apartheid and After
Part of The Phyllis Wattis Distinguished Lecture Series


Rolf Abderhalden, artist
Negar Azimi, senior editor, Bidoun magazine
Omar Berrada, writer and translator; director of Dar al-Ma’mûn
Julia Bryan-Wilson, art historian, UC Berkeley
Wilson Díaz, artist; co-founder of Helena Producciones
Apsara DiQuinzio, curator, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Chris Dixon, owner, Explorist International
Cesar Garcia, curator; U.S. Commissioner for the 13th International Cairo Biennale
Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, curator, Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
Dinh Q. Lê, artist; co-founder of Sàn Art
Pamela M. Lee, art historian, Stanford University
Kemang Wa Lehulere, artist
Aaron Levy, founding executive director, Slought Foundation
Deirdre Logue, artist; development director at; founder of FAG feminist art gallery, Toronto
Ana María Millán, artist and founding member of Helena Producciones
Allyson Mitchell, artist; social and cultural historian, York University; founder of FAG feminist art gallery, Toronto
Antanas Mockus, mathematician, philosopher, politician
Tuan Andrew Nguyen, artist; co-founder of Sàn Art; member of The Propeller Group
Stefania Pandolfo, anthropologist, UC Berkeley
Ignacio Valero, social and cultural historian, California College of the Arts
Roberto Varea, director, Center for Latino Studies in the Americas (CELASA), University of San Francisco
Dominic Willsdon, Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Programs, SFMOMA

Additional Info

Time Description
noon – 12:50 p.m. Locating the Periphery: Dominic Willsdon, Negar Azimi, and Aaron Levy. Responses from Stefania Pandolfo, Omar Berrada, and Joana Hadjithomas.
1:00 p.m. Cesar Garcia presentation
1:30 p.m. – 2:20 p.m. Institutions at the Periphery: Apsara DiQuinzio, Dinh Q. Lê, and Tuan Andrew Nguyen. Responses from Julia Bryan-Wilson, Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy, Deirdre Logue, and Allyson Mitchell.
2:30 p.m. Kemang Wa Lehulere presentation
3:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m. Performance at the Periphery: Roberto Varea, Rolf Abderhalden, and Antanas Mockus. Varea moderates a discussion with Wilson Díaz, Ana María Millán, and others.
4:00 p.m. DJ set by Chris Dixon
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. San Francisco at the Periphery: Responses from Pamela M. Lee and Ignacio Valero. Conversation hosted by Dominic Willsdon.

Image: Tiffany Chung, The Growth of Cali — city boundaries: 1780, 1880, 1921, 1930, 1937, 1951, 2012; micropigment ink, gel ink, and oil marker on paper; courtesy the artist and Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York; © Tiffany Chung; photo: Ben Blackwell

In recent years, the focal point of the art world has shifted from a few major centers to a multiplicity of artistic communities around the globe. Cultural power is still concentrated in some cities and regions more than others, but the affinities between so-called peripheral locations begin to describe a different geography of contemporary art. In what ways does it still make sense to speak of the periphery at all? 

This symposium begins with this question and then asks what forces continue to create the periphery, and what it can mean to create at the periphery. What does the periphery make possible? Can it stand for a certain critical distance? What forms of self-organization, grassroots globalism, and interconnectedness does it generate? Or should we set aside the very concept of center-periphery and think about the geography of contemporary art and culture in other ways?

This event breaks from conventional symposium formats for a more fluid, less hierarchical, and more intimate exchange. It brings together artists, curators, and writers from around world and connects contemporary visual art to issues in literature, performance, and politics. It will be convened simultaneously at SFMOMA and online.

This symposium is the centerpiece of Here, There, and Elsewhere, a series of programs that address shifting geographies in contemporary art. The series takes place over ten days, from November 28 through December 10, and includes talks, screenings, and performances. It is a collaboration between SFMOMA and California Academy of Sciences, California College of the Arts, Pier 24, San Francisco Cinematheque, Galèria de la Raza, Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco Art Institute and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

For information and content related to the series, visit Story Board, a digital hub for texts, dialogue, multimedia, and a constellation of outside links offering windows onto the worlds of SFMOMA artists and artworks.

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