The 2nd International Summer Seminars for Art Curators 
Between Exposition and Mediation
July 23 - August 5th, 2007; Yerevan, Armenia 

AICA Armenia 
Mkhitar Sebastatsi Fine Arts College, Yerevan, Armenia. 
Organizers –Nazareth Karoyan and Angela Harutyunyan 
In collaboration with SCCA-Ljubljana, Slovenia – www.scca-ljubljana.si 
Beral Madra Center for Contemporary Art, Istanbul, Turkey – www.btmadra.com 
SCCA-Alma-Aty, Kazakhstan –www.scca.kz 

Project Description: 
While with the institutionalization of contemporary art in former socialist countries, curatorship was accepted as a necessary practice for artistic representation, the title “curator” entered into the art lexicon in name only. Curatorship as a profession with its own rights and duties largely failed to materialize. Being initially a Western concept, the word “curator” was accepted in post-Soviet Armenian artistic circles as a Western term that possessed magical power and the seductive force due, largely, to its alien and “superior” origins in the West. 

However, there were not and still are not professionally trained curators in the field. With a few exceptions, most exhibitions and related projects are carried out by artists or non-professionals. The result is miscommunication and growing isolationist tendencies not only between artists themselves but between local art critics and art historians as well. In its turn, this is reflected on the level of the involvement of contemporary artists and theorists from the so-called ”East” into international exhibitions and projects and remains an obstacle for a constructive and creative dialogue. 

The seminars and the workshop will center on the relation of the art critic and curator on the one hand and curator-artist on the other, in the face of globalization/westernization of the art market and big exhibitions; i. e. biennales, art fairs and festivals as one of the outcomes of these processes that have penetrated into former socialist countries since the mid-1990’s. 

The program will focus on curatorship as a critical practice, and particularly, the curator as someone who combines the management of relations (artist-curator, artist-critics, artist-society) with the function of evaluation. We will discuss historically and culturally unique art events and practices where the curator combining the roles of a presenter and a critic has chosen different strategies of representation on the one hand and communication on the other in order to serve as a mediator between the artist and the audience. The seminars and the workshop will center on the relation of the art critic and curator on the one hand and curator-artist on the other, in the face of globalization/westernization of the art market and big exhibitions; i. e. biennales, art fairs and festivals as one of the outcomes of these processes that have penetrated into former socialist countries since the mid-1990’s. 
While with the institutionalization of contemporary art in former socialist countries, curatorship was accepted as a necessary practice for artistic representation, the title “curator” entered into the art lexicon in name only. Curatorship as a profession with its own rights and duties largely failed to materialize. Being initially a Western concept, the word “curator” was accepted in post-Soviet Armenian artistic circles as a Western term that possessed magical power and the seductive force due, largely, to its alien and “superior” origins in the West. 
Project Description: 

Description of courses 
Neery Melkonian | Global Feminism’s Other 
10 sessions 
2007 is marked by several major exhibitions in the United States that acknowledge the contribution of women artists (collectives, critics, curators, theorists, etc.) and deal with the influence of feminism on the international art scene. One of these examines the historical foundations (1965-1980) of the feminist revolution in art: http://www.moca.org/wack/?p=52#more-52 Another offers more current and global perspectives on the topic, the 1990s to the present: https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/global_feminisms/ 
During the first half of the course, we will discuss the contexts, subtexts and curatorial approaches that inform such international exhibits. The ideological frameworks and the possible causes for the absence of certain cultural geographies in such undertakings will be addressed. We will explore the works of Armenian women artists internationally covering the post WWII period to the present. National, Transnational and Diaspora narratives as it relates to artistic and curatorial practice will be explored through case studies including but not limited to: 
Sniper’s Nest: Art that has Lived with Lucy R. Lippard (Neery Melkonian, curator) 
http://www.bard.edu/ccs/exhibitions/past/index.php?eid=2350 
Creative Synthesis (Arevik Arevshatyan, Curator) 

Nina Katchadourian: All Forms of Attraction (Ian Berry, Curator) 
http://tang.skidmore.edu/4/exhibitions/doc/887/ 
For the second part of the course, students will develop a ‘chapter’ towards a larger future exhibition that deals with Armenian Women Artists and International Feminism utilizing the digitally reproducible photographic archive of the Near East Foundation (NEF) – the first international American philanthropic organization. http://www.neareast.org/main/pioneer.aspx 
Briefly: Through a brilliant and effective PR, marketing and advocacy campaign at the turn of the last century this groundbreaking American foundation raised billions of dollars to establish dozens of orphanages (in Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, France, Greece and Alexandropol-Armenia) to help countless survivors – mainly children - from the Armenian Catastrophe. In retrospect, hundreds of rarely seen photographs (selected from thousands) combined with historical NEF campaign literature, provide fascinating accounts of how an institution reconstructed or reorganized the Armenian polity in the aftermath of 1915. This proposed curatorial project or ‘work in progress’ invites rethinking of the role played by such rehabilitation programs in constructing modern Armenian identity, and the effects they have had in defining Armenian women in contemporary society. 
For comparison, a related curatorial model will be considered: http://www.nyu.edu/greyart/exhibits/mapping/mappinghome.htm 
The course also offers an opportunity to think through different types of collections (i.e. private Vs public) and the various forms of knowledge/values/meanings they extend to their respective audiences. In addition to slide presentations, recommended readings for the course include texts related to the links cited above. Corresponding exhibition catalogues will be available to the class. 
Neery Melkonian is an independent critic, curator and an advisor based in New York City. As Associate Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies Museum at Bard College, and the Director of Visual Arts programming at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, Melkonian has organized over twenty solo exhibitions and two travelling group-exhibits. She has contributed essays to numerous exhibition catalogues as well as reviews/interviews to publications such as Afterimage, AIM, Al-Jadid, Art Papers, Sculpture and Visions. Recently she guest edited a special issue of ARARAT quarterly dealing with Nagorno-Karabagh. 
She has lectured/conducted workshops on topics related to aesthetics of displacement, globalization and trans-cultural geographies. With Defne Ayas she is currently developing a series of Armenian & Turkish artist collaborations called Blind Dates. She is also working on a book dealing with International Armenian Modernism. 

Elvan Zabunian| A History of Exposition 
5 Sessions 
The five meetings will be articulated around outstanding exhibitions organized in Europe since 1969, the year when the exhibition When Attitudes Become Form (Harald Szeeman) was organized. It signalled a major transformation not only in contemporary art production but also in its display. In the context of the idea of historical exhibitions the way Pontus Hulten, then director of the National Museum of Modern Art could conceptualize them, it will be interesting to study Paris-Berlin (1978) and Paris-Moscow (1979) which are among the first of large-scale exhibitions presented at the Centre George Pompidou. 
Another large exhibition impossible to overlook, Magicians of the Earth (1989) will be it analyzed in particular for its theoretical importance and the way in which it allowed the emergence of critical thoughts opening for the first time beyond the borders of Western Europe and the United States. 
Lastly, Documenta 11 will be presented in the context of the post-colonial critique, which will allow us to think of the concepts of displacements of territories, voyages and transcultural productions. The last meeting will be devoted to the experiment with monographic exhibitions starting from 
Beuys’ Block installed by the artist at the museum of Darmstadt in 1970. The interpretation of this installation will be accompanied by the viewing of images of the exposition of Sarkis carried out in the same museum in 2002. 

Session 1- When Attitudes Become Form, Bern, 1969 
Session 2- Paris-Berlin, Paris-Moscow, Paris, 1978, 1979 
Session 3- Magicians of the Earth, Paris, 1989 
Session 4 - Documenta 11, Kassel, 2002 
Session 5 -Joseph Beuys, Sarkis, Darmstadt, 1970, 2002 

Elvan Zabunyan is a contemporary art historian and art critic based in Paris. She is Associate Professor at the Rennes University (Britanny, France) where for several years she has been the director of the Curatorial 
Program in the Art History Department. She is currently an associate researcher in CENA (Centre for North American Studies at the EHESS, Paris) and CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique). She has published numerous essays on contemporary visual arts. She is the author of Black is a Color: A history of Contemporary African American Art (Paris: Dis Voir, 2004) published in English in 2005 (Dis Voir). She is also working on feminist art and theories at the turn of the 1970s and on the connection between the history of contemporary art and post-colonialism. Her current research is based on the work of several women artists and writers constructing a conceptual and visual reflection on the idea of a cultural and geographical displacement. 

Misko Suvakovic | Critical Writing Workshop 
5 sessions 
At the "Critical writing" workshop we will discuss the theoretical platforms of critical practice and theoretical and curatorial practices in contemporary art. The goal of the course is to introduce the students to an analytical relationship to the discursive problems and questions of power in contemporary art and culture. We will discuss the problems of the ways of writing theoretical texts, analysis of artworks and art systems. 
Session 1 - Theory of criticism (lecture) 
Session 2 - Models of critical writing 1 (lecture) 
Session 3 - Models of critical writing 2(lecture) 
Session 4 - Analysis of artwork (international art and art in a local context) 
Session 5 - Exercise in writing a critical text (based on the analyses of artwork) 
Session 6- Analyze of art context 
Session 7 - Exercise in writing a critical text (based on the analyses of art context) 
Session 8- Analyses of artist (based on the analyses of artist life and work) 
Session 9 - Exercise in writing a critical text (based on the analyses of artist) 
Session 10- Reading, analyzing and discussing the written texts 

Misko Suvakovic (Belgrade, 1954) is a professor of aesthetics and theory of art. He teaches in the Faculty of Music and Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Arts in Belgrade. He is an author and co-editor of twenty-two books on contemporary art and theory. 
Presentations Program 
Monday, July 23rd 18:00-19:30 
Presentation and discussion, Ruben AREVSHATYAN, artist and free-lance curator, (venue- Open 
University, Ceramic Studio of Esthetic education, Sarian str.) Contemporary Art and Educational System in Armenia; Fine Arts Department of the Armenian Open University 
What is the situation with the art education in Armenia in the context of progressing neoconservative trends in a socio-cultural situation and what is the relation of the contemporary art scene and the educational system? The presentation discusses some methods that the Armenian 

Tuesday, July 24th, 18:00-19:30 
Presentation and discussion, Dr Malcolm F. MILES, University of Plymouth, the UK (venue- 
Mkhitar Sebastatsi Complex, Art School ) Society as a Work of Art? In Berlin in 1967, Herbert Marcuse proposed the idea of society as a work of art. Around the same time, Joseph Beuys proposed that everyone is an artist, by which he intended that everyone has a creative imagination. Thirty-three years earlier, in Paris, Walter Benjamin proposed that writers should work towards ownership of the mean of production by readers. Each of these positions foresees a restructuring of social and cultural realities moving beyond conventional Western dualisms. But how might these positions be understood in a world changed in a quite another way by the end of state socialism? 

Wednesday, July 25th,18:00-19:30 
Vardan AZATYAN, Nazareth KAROYAN, Angela HARUTYUNYAN, Malcolm F. MILES 
(THE CLUB, Tumanyan str. 40, New ) Public Sphere: Between Contestation and Reconciliation, 
Presentation of the Book. 

Thursday, July 26th, 18:00-19:30 
Presentation and discussion, Claudia-Maria LUENIG, Basement, Vienna (venue Mhkhitar 
Sebastatsi Complex, Art School ) The Role of Independent Exhibition Spaces In the Arts On the Example of the Basement in Vienna Do the independent exhibition spaces function as a springboard for the international galleries and the art market? How will the spaces sustain their existence and their programs? What is the role of the curator? 

Friday, July 27th, 18:00-19:30 
Presentation and discussion, Valeria IBRAEVA, SCCA-Almaty (venue -Mhkhitar Sebastatsi 
Complex, Art School)" Kazakhstan art as a political project" The paper reflects upon the real situation of creating a European type of art in the Kazakh steppes by Soviet ideology. Paradoxically, the modern cultural situation now continues this fabricated tradition, which, in its turn, is misperceived by the society as a continuation of the real traditional Kazakh culture. Under these conditions, the contemporary art has an image of “Western influence" and is rejected by dominant political, governmental and cultural institutions. 

Monday, July 30th 18:00-19:00 
Presentation and discussion, Nazareth KAROYAN, AICA-Armenia (Mkhitar Sebastatsi Complex, 
Art School) Education as a field of critical praxis 

Tuesday, July 31st 18:00-19:00 
Presentation and discussion, Eva KHACHATRYAN, ACCEA (venue- Art Gallery on Leo str.) 
Art Criticism and Curatorial Practice In Post-Soviet Armenia 
Curators and curatorial practice are comparably a new phenomenon in Armenia. Being a curator is a new profession, and it coincides with the post-soviet situation. During this time, exhibitions of contemporary art were organized and theorized by artists and activists. Though the borders between being an art critic, curator or artist have been blurred, we still experience the important role of curators in the formation of art theory. It is definitely possible to speak about a crisis of art criticism in Armenia taking into account some facts: the lack of art-theory periodicals, the modus operandi of the local educational system based on nationalistic ideas and ideologized institutions and the difficulty for young art critics in finding jobs. 

Wednesday, August 1st,18:00-19:00 
Presentation and Discussion, Azat SARGSYAN, GSSA (Venue - GEVORGYAN Gallery 
38/1a Tumanyan Str Gyumri International Biennial of Contemporary Art 
Gyumri International Biennial of Contemporary Art will be celebrating its tenth anniversary with the 6th edition in August 2008. The presentation will discuss the past history of the Biennale, its prospects, goals and aims as not only a representational platform but a forum for exchange, dialogue and discussion. 

Thursday, August 2nd,18:00-19:30 
Presentation and Discussion, Vardan AZATYAN, AICA-Armenia, ( Venue- Art Gallery on Leo str.) Memory and/or Oblivion: Historicizing the Contemporary Art of Armenia 
The presentation deals with the problems of historical consciousness in the contemporary art of Post-Soviet Armenia. The discussion focuses on the attitudes that were developed towards the past and tradition by Armenian contemporary artists. Analyzing the number of works dealing with historicity in parallel to the socio-political changes, the presentation examines the shifts within the contemporary art from the standpoint of the strategies of remembering and forgetting. 

Saturday, August 4th,18:00-19:30 
Presentation and Discussion, Barbara BORCIC, Tevz LOGAR, SCCA-Ljubljana, (Mhkhitar Sebastatsi Complex, Art School) The talk will reflect upon some aspects of curating in Slovenia as well as the education in the field of contemporary art in Slovenia. The presentation is comprised of a juxtaposition of different understandings, visions, achievements and interpretations of curatorial practices in a wider context of contemporary art from the sixties to the present. A special emphasis will be put on the World of Art, School for Contemporary Art (www.worldofart.org) that has been operating in the frame of SCCA-Ljubljana, Center for Contemporary Arts (www.scca-ljubljana.si) from 1997. 

Participants: Arpi Adamyan (Armenia), Mary Amirkhanyan (Armenia), Rael Artel (Estonia), Anna Bitkina (Russia), Irina Chkhaidze (Georgia), Estzer Lazar (Hungary), Karina Galimzyanova (Kyrgyztan), Marianna Hovhanissyan (Armenia), Petra Kapš (Slovenia), Dastan Kozhakhmetov (Kazakhstan), Sorana Muntenau (Romania), Azat Sargsyan (Armenia), Seda Shekoyan (Armenia), Joanna Sokolowska (Poland), Marko Stamenkovic (Serbia), Ani Soukiassian (Armenia), Nadia Tsulukidze (Georgia), Arpine Tokmadjayan (Armenia), Vladimir Us (Moldova).