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Michael Stevenson: Serene Velocity in Practice: MC510/CS183

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22 May – 6 July 2019


Serene Velocity in Practice: MC510/CS183 is a major commission by renowned New Zealand artist Michael Stevenson, well-known for his sculptural works that ‘excavate the ironies of history through scrutiny of its relics and artefacts’.

Serene Velocity in Practice is based on two seemingly unrelated academic courses, MC510 and CS183, which were modules taught for a short time in Californian higher-learning institutions – one by John Wimber—musician, evangelist, educationalist, author, and founder of Vineyard International Ministries, a global neocharismatic church brand, and the other by Peter Thiel—billionaire, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, public intellectual, philanthropist, author, co-founder of Pay-Pal, Palantir Technologies, Founders Fund, and Facebook angel investor.

John Wimber taught as adjunct instructor at the School of World Missions (Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California). The course; MC510 Signs & Wonders and Church Growth took place over four winter semesters beginning in 1982 and drew on Wimber’s church-growth expertise in relation to faith healing and Kingdom Theology. MC510 is best known for practical sessions, dubbed “clinic time,” where healings and exorcisms were performed by and on class members.

Peter Thiel taught as adjunct staff in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University, California. The course, CS183 Startup took place over a single semester in 2012 and drew on Thiel’s expertise in diagnosing the post-2008 business cycle in relation to technology, globalization and the forward challenge of founding tomorrow's successful undiscovered unicorn.

While seemingly poles apart ideologically, Stevenson’s juxtaposition of these worldviews in side-by-side classroom installation suggests how they may have more in common than might first be imagined. Both courses transformed their respective fields, quickly gained mass global followings, best-selling books, and a multitude of cloned courses in academic departments around the world. 

Curated by Natasha Conland, Curator Contemporary Art, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.

Commissioned by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki with commissioning partners the Biennale of Sydney 2018 and Monash University Museum of Art | MUMA.

*Please note this exhibition is not wheelchair accessible.

Public Programs:

Special screening: Ernie Gehr's 16mm film Serene Velocity 1970, Wednesday 22 May
MADA Art Forum: Michael Stevenson, Wednesday 22 May
The Glen Eira Storytelling Festival: Film Screening - Art School Confidential, Saturday 29 June
The Glen Eira Storytelling Festival: Film Screening - A Scanner Darkly, Saturday 6 July
Anna Parlane: ‘Shaping young minds: On religion, pedagogy and the art of Michael Stevenson’, Saturday 6 July

Media Kit:

Michael Stevenson: Serene velocity in practice: MC510/CS183 media kit


Image: Michael Stevenson, Serene Velocity in Practice: MC510/CS183, 2017 (detail), mixed media installation, dimensions variable.
Commissioned by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki with commissioning partners the Biennale of Sydney 2018 and Monash University Museum of Art | MUMA
Commission supported by the Contemporary Benefactors of Auckland Art Gallery, Chartwell Trust, Auckland Contemporary Art Trust, Auckland Art Gallery International Ambassadors, and Michael Lett, Auckland
Presentation at the 21st Biennale of Sydney was made possible with generous assistance from Creative New Zealand and Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen
Installation view of the 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018) at Carriageworks. Photograph: Zan Wimberley
Courtesy the artist; Carl Freedman Gallery, London; Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney; and Michael Lett Gallery, Auckland

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