Critical Conversations

The Ford Family Foundation’s Visual Arts Program honors late co-founder Hallie Ford and her lifelong interest in the arts by helping Oregon’s most promising established visual artists actively pursue their work. One element of the program is Critical Conversations, a collaboration between the Foundation and the University of Oregon’s CFAR, in partnership with PNCAPortland State University, and Reed College’s Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery.  

Critical Conversations provides a space for artists and cultural producers that is rooted in exchange and inquiry. Organizing partners facilitate a year-round calendar of studio visits for Oregon artists by prominent visiting curators and arts writers, who also offer public lectures and other forms of engagement to our community. Recognizing the nexus between artists and those who reflect upon and present their work, Critical Conversations also sponsors a series of convenings, commissioned writing, and an annual publication that specifically engage Oregon’s curators and arts writers around currents in society and the field.

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Lumi Tan: Critical Conversations

Lumi Tan with artwork Above: Credit: Baseera Khan, By Faith, 2020, The Kitchen at Queenslab. Photo: Ariana Sarwari.

“Invisible Rooms: Performance and Institutions”

Thursday, October 28, 4:00 p.m.

Lumi Tan

Watch a video of Lumi Tan’s lecture.


Lumi Tan will speak about the ways in which performance practices shift institutional value systems through her work curating time-based art for the white cube gallery, black box theater, and most recently, the computer screen. Thinking of issues of process, intimacy, documentation, audience, and site, Tan will connect this current work to the historical context of The Kitchen and the role of small scale institutions in the contemporary art ecosystem.

Lumi Tan is Senior Curator at The Kitchen in New York, where she has organized exhibitions and produced performances with artists across disciplines and generations since 2010. Most recently, Tan has worked with Kevin Beasley, Baseera Khan, Autumn Knight, and Kenneth Tam. Previously she curated projects with artists including Gretchen Bender, Meriem Bennani, Liz Magic Laser, The Racial Imaginary Institute, Sahra Motalebi, Sondra Perry, Tina Satter/Half Straddle, Anicka Yi, and Danh Vo and Xiu Xiu. Prior to The Kitchen, Tan was Guest Curator at the Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain Nord Pas-de-Calais in France, director at Zach Feuer Gallery, and curatorial assistant at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Artforum, Frieze, Mousse, Cura, and numerous exhibition catalogues. She was the recipient of 2020 VIA Art Fund Curatorial Fellowship.

This lecture is made possible by the Critical Conversations program, a partnership between the Ford Family Foundation and the University of Oregon Department of Art's Center for Art Research with Reed College’s Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Pacific Northwest College of Art, and Portland State University.

About Critical Conversations: Curator and Critic Tours and Lectures

The Ford Family Foundation and the Department of Art's Center for Art Research (CFAR), partner with Reed College’s Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Pacific Northwest College of Art, and Portland State University in a multiyear program to bring prominent curators and critics to Oregon to engage with artists statewide.

The expanded partnership, which began in 2011, is made possible by a grant from The Ford Family Foundation’s Visual Arts Program, which honors interest in the visual arts by the late Mrs. Hallie Ford, a co-founder of The Foundation.

Critical Conversations brings professional curators and critics from outside the Northwest to conduct one-on-one studio visits with established artists, deliver lectures, and join in community conversations. The program aims to enhance the quality of artistic endeavors throughout the state.

About The Ford Family Foundation

The Ford Family Foundation was established in 1957 by Kenneth W. and Hallie E. Ford. Its Mission is “successful citizens and vital rural communities” in Oregon and Siskiyou County, California. The Foundation is located in Roseburg, Oregon, with a scholarship office in Eugene.