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Boiler Room Lecture: Charles Esche


Artistic freedom and cultural critique in the context of corporatism in the art world

Monash University Museum of Art [MUMA] and Monash Art, Design and Architecture [MADA] are pleased to co-present in partnership with the Research Unit in Public Cultures (RUPC) and the School of Culture and Communications at the University of Melbourne, a keynote lecture by Charles Esche, Director, the Van Abbemuseum, the Netherlands. This lecture will be introduced by Charlotte Day, Director MUMA, followed by a conversation between Charles Esche and Nikos Papastergiadis, Professor, School of Culture and Communication, The University of Melbourne.

Date: Friday 22 May 2015
Time: 6.30 - 8.00pm
Venue: Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture
Level  1, 168 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Free event. Bookings essential: or
ph. 03 9905 4217

For almost two decades, Charles Esche has been a protagonist in reshaping the curatorial landscape. His work as a director of important European institutions, curator of major biennials and both writer and publisher of critical texts have sought to investigate the role of art as a catalyst for social change and the societal or political contexts in which art comes to be made public. His commitment to different forms of pedagogy and experimental institutional models has profoundly influenced exhibition practices today.

Charles Esche works between the United Kingdon, Sao Paolo and the Netherlands where he has been Director of the highly regarded experimental program at the Van Abbemuseum since 2004. In 1998 he co-founded Afterall Publishing in London (and remains a director), known for its sharp focus on contemporary arts in relation to a wider artistic, theoretical and social context through its journal, critical readers and its One Work series. Esche also established L'Internationale, a confederation of seven European art museums founded in 2010 and dedicated to opening a pan-European contemporary and modern art museum. Esche previously served as Director of the Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art in Malmo, Sweden, 2000-04.

Charles Esche has curated or co-curated numerous international exhibitions, including the 9th Muslim Mulliqi Prize Exhibition, It Doesn't always have to be Beautiful Unless it's Beautiful at National Gallery of Kosovo, Prishtinë, 2012; the sixth U3 Triennial for Contemporary Art in Slovenia, An Idea for Living, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, 2011; the 9th International Istanbul Biennial , 2005; the 4th Gwangju Biennale, Korea, 2002; and Intelligence: Tate Triennial at Tate Britain, London, 2000. Most recently he was co-curator of the 2014 Sao Paulo Biennial How to (…) things that don’t exist with its poetic invocation of art’s capacities and abilities to reflect and act upon life, power and belief. In 2014 he was awarded the 2014 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence from Bard College.

This lecture has been supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council its arts funding and advisory body.

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