The 1st  International Summer School for Art Curators
New Challenges in Arts 

July 4-17th, 2006; Yerevan, Armenia
Mkhitar Sebastatsi Fine Arts College, Yerevan, Armenia
Organizers: Nazareth Karoyan and Angela Harutyunyan





The National Association of Art Critics organizes a two-week international summer school for curators in Yerevan, Armenia. 
The program was comprised of a theory course lead by Dr Julian Vigo, two methods organized by Dr Sabine Himmelsbach and Hedwig Saxenhuber as well as a practical workshop instructed by Dominque Abensour. There were also intensive artists’ studio and museum visits. 

Description of courses 
Sabine Himmelsbach 
The course focused especially on the expanding field of new media art. Media based artworks create a new aesthetic practice and they enable a discourse on media. The dialogue with the public is inherent to media art, as they often involve the viewer/user actively in the shaping and creation of the artwork itself. With their participatory strategies, they encourage an input potential that is based on the media-related experiences of the viewers and which holds the path for a critical media competence. Exhibiting new media based artworks raise all sorts of issues for the curator. He becomes the negotiator between the work of art and the conditions of its exhibition and reception. Often, specialist knowledge is required that involves understanding the process of making art, of the understanding of the conditions of an exhibition. The program presented and discussed international examples of current media art practice and give an insight into needs and requirements of exhibition planning and programming that includes new media-based works. 

Sabine Himmelsbach studied Art History, Medieval History and Cultural Anthropology at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany. From 1993 to 1996 she worked for galleries in Munich and Vienna and later became the Project Manager for exhibitions and symposia at the Steirischer Herbst Festival (Styrian Autumn Festival) in Graz, Austria. In 1999, Sabine Himmelsbach took up the position of Exhibition Director at the ZKM|Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, a contemporary art museum and media centre dedicated to interactive art. Currently, she is the artistic director of Edith Russ Site for Media Art in Oldenburg, Germany. 

Julian Vigo 
Art as Violence, Violence as Art 
In this seminar, we will discuss contemporary discourses of violence within the plastic, video and performance arts. Particularly, we will study how violence is theorized in social and philosophical literature and how violence is represented in the arts as a reaction to these very discourses and as a response to very real acts of violence. Discussion in the seminar will centre around how these representations function: is violence represented to be fairly understood as a mere mimetic facsimile of a particular political or cultural reality? or as a means of condoning or dialoguing with(in) the spaces of violence? How might theorizing and representing violence dangerously exoticize violence? In short, how has modern and contemporary art reacted to violence and how do these interpretations and criticisms become themselves, for some, understood as likewise violent. Examining the work of the Dadaists, Surrealists and then later looking towards artists involved in the Fluxus (Nam June Paik, the 1980's and 90's U.S. "culture wars" (Serrano, Fusco, Finley, Gomez-Peña), and artists who question the contemporary definitions and limitation of the term "violence" (Grimonprenz, Salloum, Camnitzer, Hussein, Hatoum, Neshat and Sikander). 

Julian Vigo obtained her PhD in comparative literature at the City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, USA. She has held professorships in different universities in Canada, the USA, Italy, Morocco, Tunisia, Mexico, Bolivia and Peru. She is also the author of many video productions dealing with issues of time, memory and identity. Currently, she is an assistant professor at the University of Montreal where she teaches comparative literature and media studies. 

Dominique Abensour 
The workshop offers to examine exposition in the photographic sense of the term; to expose to the light, to illuminate, to make the image, and if we extend the metaphor to cover film as well, to make image and story. The exposition is designed as an evolving scenario, a script in space that makes the meaning and sociability of works tangible. The program will proceed in pluralistic sequences: - communicating various situations in expositions in Quartier (solo and group exhibitions) that reveal different positions and relations between the artist and the art curator. - Exchange of experiences of various situations among the participants - Visits to exhibitions and artist’s studios in Yerevan - Developing different scenarios of site-specific exhibitions situated within the Armenian context. 

Dominique Abensour is the director of the Quartier, a centre for contemporary art in Bretagne’s city of Quimper, France. She has curated a number of exhibitions, including those of Pat Steir, Tania Mouraud, Gorges Adéagbo, James Hyde, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, Yuri Leiderman, Raphaëlle de Groot and etc. In 1990-1994 she was in charge of cultural activities of the National Gallery of Jeu de Paume in Paris, while also employed by Gorges Pompidou Center. She has extensively taught in various art schools in Valence, Dijon, Reims, Quimper. 

Hedwig Saxenhuber 
Since 1964, the Belgian Jef Cornelis has made a little over a hundred films on contemporary art and architecture for Nederlandse Radio - een Televisie - uitzendingen in Belgie, oemrop van de Vlaamse Gemeenshap. A significant number of his films are about major European art events (Documenta, Muenster, Sonsbeek...) which will be shown and discussed in my course of Curatorial Methods at the Summer School. Jef Cornelis’ overall production amounts to something like a history of the world of contemporary art since the sixties. Art then acquired a new impetus in a common determination to contest established values and break with the past, but became increasingly accepted by society and found a place in the museum and marketplace. Against this reality of exhibitions almost without female artists we will focus on some lectures of most important positions in feminism and politics like such as those adopted by Valie Export or Adrian Piper 

Hedwig Saxenhuber is a free-lance curator and co-editor of art and political magazine Springerin, based in Vienna, Austria. Some of her more recent publications include Kurze Karrieren, Mumok, Wien / Vienna, 2004 and Erlauf erinnert sich...., Revolver, Frankfurt/Main, 2004. Hedwig Saxenhuber has curated a number of exhibitions, including Adieu Parajanov, project space, Kunsthalle Wien, 2003; Parallel Actions, Konzeptuelle Tendenzen in Mitteleuropa von 1965–1980 (with Georg Schöllhammer), ACF, New York 2003, HBK Leipzig, 2004; Kurze Karrieren (with Susanne Neuburger), Mumok, Wien, 2004; formate, Bukarest, ca. 2004, project space, Kunsthalle Wien, 2004, Play Sofia, project space, Kunsthalle Wien. 

Participants: 
Gayane Abrahamyan (Armenia), Kata Adamek (Poland), Lusine Badalyan (Armenia), Armen Esayants (Armenia), Anna Galstyan (Armenia), Marianna (Armenia) Hovhannisyan, Monika Ivancic (Slovenia), Ana Janevski (Croatia), Yana Kostova (Bulgaria), Anna Khechoyan (Armenia), Tevz Logar (Slovenia), Vesna Madzoski (Serbia), Seda Papoyan (Armenia), Lali Pertenava (Georgia), Yulia Pivtorak (Ukraine), Ani Petrossian (Armenia), Eva Sargsyan (Armenia), Elizabeth Shirinyan (Armenia), Hasmik Smbatyan (Armenia), Sara Stenczer (Hungary), Baiba Tetere (Latvia), Arpine Tokmajian (Armenia), Pelin Uran (Turkey), Gohar Vardanyan (Armenia)