Globally renowned art critic to present talks in Eugene and Portland, tour Oregon artist studios

October 25, 2017

Europe-based writer and art critic Jan Verwoert will visit Oregon in November as part of the 2017 Connective Conversations Curator and Critic Tour. His presentation, “Live Through This,” is scheduled in Portland at 6 p.m. November 9 at the Portland Art Museum’s Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Avenue; and in Eugene at 6 p.m. November 14 in Lawrence 177 on the UO campus.

Verwoert’s lectures will focus on “how to address the existential condition of critical writing,” he said. “Art, life, politics—we're in it together after all, even and especially now that societies are forcefully split. What does it take for a voice to articulate intuitions and observations in a manner that allows for very different people to relate to a public thinking process?”

Verwoert will also spend roughly one week visiting 15-20 artist’s studios in different regions of Oregon, meeting individually with the selected artists.

A globally renowned critic and writer on contemporary art and cultural theory, Verwoert curated the prestigious 2017 Cyprus Pavilion for the Venice Biennale. The first international visitor invited to speak and tour Oregon artist studios for Connective Conversations, he lives and works in Berlin, Oslo and Rotterdam. He teaches at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, the Royal Academy of Art in London and the University of the Arts in Berlin. A contributing editor of Frieze, his writing has also appeared in numerous journals, anthologies and monographs.

Art critic Jan Verwoert“The model of one person passing judgment on others has become ridiculous,” says art critic Jan Verwoert. “Art, life, politics—we're in it together after all.”

Messaging Bellini. Photo courtesy Polys Peslikas.Messaging Bellini. Photo courtesy Polys Peslikas.

Launched in 2010, the Connective Conversations Curator and Critic Tour brings professional curators and critics from outside the Northwest to conduct one-on-one studio visits with established Oregon artists, deliver lectures, and join in community conversations. Principle goals are to enhance the quality of artistic endeavors throughout the state by visual artists and institutions, and to improve Oregon’s visual arts ecology through strategic investments.

Verwoert’s publications include Bas Jan Ader: In Search of the Miraculous (MIT Press/Afterall Books, 2006); the essay collection Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want (Sternberg Press/Piet Zwart Institute, 2010); Animal Spirits—Fables in the Parlance of Our Time (with Michael Stevenson; Christoph Keller Editions, JRP, Zurich, 2013); a second collection of essays, Cookie! (Sternberg Press/Piet Zwart Institute, 2014); and an anthology on artistic knowledge, No New Kind of Duck—Would I Know How to Say What I Do? (Diaphanes & UdK Graduate School, Zurich-Berlin, 2016).

The Curator and Critic Tour and Lecture Series program was designed to provide outreach to Oregon’s studio artists and connect them with outstanding art writers, critics and curators. The series aims to strengthen connections with schools, professionals, galleries and museums to maintain a healthy and vibrant arts community. The strength of this connection has fostered more collaboration across four public and private colleges and universities in the state. The Portland Art Museum joined the partnership for this year’s events.

A book publication, Inside Oregon Art, which featured Oregon artists was published as part of Connective Conversations in 2016.