Fred Wilson

Public Art Fund Talks at The New School Wed 28 Mar 2012 6.30PM-8.30PM The New School, Tishman Auditorium
66 West 12th Street
Admission: $10 for single talk, $20 for full series of three talks, free for all students, as well as Public Art Fund members and New School faculty, staff, and alumni with valid ID
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Appropriating curatorial methods and strategies, Fred Wilson's work investigates how interpretations of historical truth and cultural value are shaped by institutions and systems of display. His work recontextualizes icons and artifacts to expose the Eurocentric bias within cultural institutions, and many of his projects involve extensive community outreach and research in the cities where they are shown.

For his upcoming Public Art Fund Talk, Wilson will discuss his recent experience within the broader context of public art and the aims of his artistic practice. Recently, the Central Indiana Community Foundation cancelled the public sculpture it had commissioned Wilson to create for its Cultural Trail Public Art initiative. His proposed sculpture, "E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One)," would have appropriated the figure of an African American ex-slave depicted in another of the city's public sculptures, the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. In Wilson's version, the figure's broken shackles would have been removed, and in his hands would be a flag representing the African Diaspora. Following several years of debate among local government and community groups—in addition to numerous presentations by Wilson himself—the project was discontinued.

Fred Wilson creates site-specific installations in collaboration with museums and cultural institutions throughout North America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. His work encourages viewers to reconsider social and historical narratives and raises critical questions about the politics of erasure and exclusion. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Whitney Museum of Art, The Sculpture Center, and the American Academy in Rome. His many accolades include the prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, among others, and he holds honorary Doctorates from Northwestern University and Skidmore College.

Wilson's work has been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions worldwide, including the critically acclaimed Mining the Museum: An Installation by Fred Wilson, sponsored by the Contemporary Museum at The Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore. Wilson represented the United States at the 50th Venice Biennale with the solo exhibition, Fred Wilson: Speak of Me as I Am. Venice Suite: Sala Longhi and Related Works, an exhibition further exploring Wilson's relationship with Venice and the rich tradition of glass making in the city, will be on view at The Pace Gallery at 510 West 25th Street, NYC from March 17 through April 14, 2012. This will be the first major solo exhibition of new works by the artist in the United States in six years.

Public Art Fund Talks at The New School are organized by the Public Art Fund in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School.

Presented on occasion of the Vera List Center's 2011-2013 focus theme "Thingness."