2010's been a big year for Jenene Nagy. She kicked things off in January with her solo show at Disjecta, Tidal, described by the artist as an examination of containment: Jagged pink sheets of drywall grew up the walls and into the rafters above, looming over the viewer like a wave. If Tidal was a thesis on containment— the room shaping the art object— then Nagy's contribution to the Portland2010 biennial was its antithesis. In the basement of the Templeton Building, Nagy literally broke through walls. Garnished in fluorescent tube lights, her pink sections of sheetrock penetrated the room's partitions in shards and chunks. In the months after Portland2010, Nagy prepared for her June-through-August residency at Raid Projects in Los Angeles, which is now coming to a close.
But in this whirlwind of activity, Nagy's curatorial ambitions were left on the back burner. From 2006-2008, Nagy proved her strong eye for emerging talents as co-curator of Tilt Gallery and Project Space (alongside her husband, Josh Smith), though eventually abandoned the stationary gallery model, organizing pop-up shows at existing exhibition spaces under the TILT Export: moniker. The most recent TILT Export: exhibit, hosted by galleryHOMELAND back in April of 2009, combined Damien Gilley's architectural line-drawings and Ethan Rose's spatially-oriented soundscapes. After more than a year of curatorial silence, Disjecta announced last week that Nagy has been appointed as their 2011-2012 curator-in-residence.
I emailed Nagy a few questions about her upcoming Disjecta programming, and she kindly sent along answers. While she wasn't able to reveal many details, she gave some clues as to where things are headed over at Disjecta for the 2011-2012 season. That Q&A is after the jump, and for those of you who prefer bullet points, here's a super-quick summarization of what Nagy told me: She hopes to "foster greatness" through "a series of solo exhibitions and maybe one two-person show," with the intention to "specifically address the space in some way." In the way that Nagy's own work addresses space, I expect big installations from some exciting local and national artists.
Portland Mercury: How did the opportunity to jump in as curator-in-residence at Disjecta come about? Why is Disjecta looking outside its usual resources this time around?
Jenene Nagy: Well, I didn't jump in, I was appointed by the board. Meagan Atiyeh and Bryan Suereth had both been familiar with the programming at TILT and when I decided to stay in Portland for at least another year (instead of staying in LA), they asked me if I was interested in the position. The Curator-In-Residence is a new program Disjecta is establishing as a way to continue offering a range of creative opportunities to people. It will be a platform for emerging curators to develop their research interests and present new work to the community.
You've done a good bit of curating in the past— at the stationary TILT and at its pop-up counterpart, Export— how will your upcoming programming align with TILT's past offerings? And how will it align with Disjecta's?
My interests remain the same. I want to help produce ambitious projects and foster greatness.
What sorts of shows are you planning for?— group exhibits, solos, collabs, themed, local artists or those from outside Portland, etc.?
It will be a series of solo exhibitions and maybe one two-person show by local and national artists.
I know January is a ways out, but can you tell me about the artists you'll be bringing in?
The first artist is local.
Your work from the past few years has erred with the formalist installation. How will your Disjecta programming relate to your personal canon?
Every show will be hot pink. Just kidding. All the artists in the series will specifically address the space in some way.
Are there any specific issues that you hope to address with the shows you're organizing?
Still working on the programming.
The TILT show with Damien Gilley and Ethan Rose was pretty damn strong. If you could court any collaboration between two or more living artists, who would those artists be? What about a collab between two or more local artists?
Zaha Hadid and Katharina Grosse (do architects count?) Locally, Laura Hughes and Tahni Holt
If everything goes to plan, what sort of statement will your programming make?
Honestly, its way too early to say. I am only in the process of visiting artist studios and figuring out the calendar. Ask me again soon.
Anything else you want to tell me?
This is an amazing opportunity for me and I am so grateful Disjecta is willing to provide this incredibly dynamic platform for me to continue to develop my curatorial practice. I hope people come out to support the program and the organization.
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