MADA Talks: Tara McDowell on John Baldessari and Conceptualism at NSCAD

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Event Details

4 October 2017 at 1:00 pm – 4 October 2017 at 2:00 pm
Lecture Theatre G1.04
Caulfield Campus
Art, Design and Architecture; Caulfield campus; Public lectures


Accompanying the exhibition John Baldessari: Wall Painting, join us for a talk from Tara McDowell on John Baldessari and Conceptualism at NSCAD.

Wednesday 4 October 2017, 1–2pm
Monash University, Caulfield Campus
Building G, Lecture Theatre G1.04
Free entry, all welcome

In 1970, the coastal Canadian city of Halifax became an unexpected hotbed of conceptual art when a small art school, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD), threw its doors open to a number of young artists who had decided that the idea mattered more than the object. Conceptual art often took the form of instructions, so it was an ideal vehicle for experimental education. Vito Acconci, John Baldessari, Simone Forti, Dan Graham, Sol LeWitt, Lucy Lippard, Lee Lozano, Yvonne Rainer, and many others retreated to Halifax for a time, and some especially influential conceptual artworks were made there. This lecture maps the everyday terrain that structured one of the most radical moments in the history of art. Rather than an aesthetics of administration or a politics of publicity, rather than artmaking as purely dematerialised, mechanised, or philosophised, imagine conceptual art circa 1970 as a site of draft dodging, game theory experiments, acid dropping, relational psychodramas, boredom, loneliness, and isolation at the end of the world. And all this at an art school.

Tara McDowell's lecture opens with a close reading of John Baldessari's I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, an artwork and exhibition at the school's Mezzanine Gallery. She will also speak about the process of curating John Baldessari: Wall Painting at the MADA Gallery, which opens 7 October, 3-5pm. McDowell is Associate Professor and Director of Curatorial Practice at Monash University.