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Live coverage: In. Practice Symposium at Renaissance Society, Chicago

On the occasion of the Renaissance Society’s 100th birthday, e-flux conversations will provide live coverage of the Ren’s In. Practice symposium taking place 20-22 November, 2015. Caroline Picard and e-flux conversations Editor Karen Archey will take the live blogging helm. Check out the symposium press release and schedule below.

:arrow_down_small: Download the symposium program booklet here
:arrow_down_small: Download a map of Hyde Park here

As the Renaissance Society enters our second century, we continue to grapple with a number of questions concerning the past, present, and future of the contemporary art institution. “In. Practice”—a gathering organized on the occasion of the Renaissance Society’s Centennial—offers a series of inquiries anchored in concerns relevant to practitioners from a variety of international contexts and scales.

The “In.” of the title refers not just to institution, but also nods to words like independence, in-betweenness, interaction, intention, and invention, concepts fundamental to these discussions. The event approaches “practice” in both senses of the word: as a way of working developed over a long period, but also as a perpetual experiment into the boundaries of exhibition-making and identity-building.

:star2: While registration is now closed, we anticipate that there will be additional seating available on a first-come, first-served basis for each session. :star2:

:arrow_right: SCHEDULE

Friday November 20, 5–9pm
Friday night offers early symposium registration, extended hours viewing of Paul McCarthy, Drawings, and the opening reception for Let Us Celebrate While Youth Lingers and Ideas Flow: Archives 1915–2015 at the Gray Center Lab.

Saturday November 21, 10am–5pm
Models and Conditions
The Saturday program addresses global conditions that exert influence over institutions and the production of new works, knowledge, and identity; a number of institutional case studies in functional and theoretical terms; institutional and artistic needs; and the power of the image.

Key questions include: What are the financial, emotional, physical, political, infrastructural, and formal terms that govern the health and survival of artistic practice within an institution? How can institution-building function as a curatorial practice? How do we define the condition of “in-betweenness” and how might that affect the trafficking and understanding of images?

Solveig Øvstebø introduction

Nina Möntmann on the evolving role of art institutions in response to recent global, social, and economic shifts

Sarah Rifky on Beirut (2012–15), an art space in Cairo, Egypt investigating politics, economy, education, ecology, and the arts

Aaron Flint Jamison and Robert Snowden of Yale Union on Yale Union, an art institution in Portland, Oregon founded by artists Jamison and Curtis Knapp in 2011

Park McArthur on needs (What do artists need from institutions, and the inherent difference of the inverse question: What do institutions need from artists?)

Irena Haiduk and Kerry James Marshall in conversation with W.J.T. Mitchell on inclusion, exclusion, and the making of the art historical image canon

Saturday November 21, 8pm
Centennial: A History of the Renaissance Society, 1915–2015 book launch at the Logan Center

Sunday November 22, 10am–3:30pm
Time and Materials
Sunday investigates materiality, both in and out of the artist’s studio; institution as material; the relationship between the origins of conceptualism and ever-evolving modes of production and dissemination; and the manifestation of archival tendencies in artistic research and practice.

Key questions include: How do languages of immateriality and dispersion nest within the institution of tomorrow? What is a non-collecting institution’s relationship to the past and why are archival practices an increasingly compelling subject to artists and curators alike? How do institutions and individuals collaborate to construct a coherent past?

Jordan Stein introduction

William Pope.L in conversation with Anthony Huberman on temporality, power, and institutionalism

Anne Rorimer and Karen Archey in conversation with Hamza Walker on how conceptualism, immateriality, and dispersion exist within the contemporary art institution

Ranjit Hoskote on retaining a critical relationship to narrative, the archive, and the phantom of the art historical

Alberta Mayo on custody, caretaking, and the individual as institution and anomaly

Ranjit Hoskote and Alberta Mayo in conversation with Blake Stimson

“In. Practice” is part of the Renaissance Society’s Centennial program.

Good morning the Ren! New Renaissance Society director Solveig Øvstebø introduces the symposium at 10am at Kent Hall. Øvstebø deconstructs the title “In Practice,” stating that the “In” speaks to both an in betweenness and the in-stitution in general. The symposium was conceived as a way to celebrate the centennial of the Ren. Through a variety of invited speakers—artists, curators, writers, poets, etc.—In. Practice is meant to reconsider the past and future potential of the institution.

I almost must note that the Ren’s archive exhibition, “Let us Celebrate While Youth Lingers and Ideas Flow: Archives 1915-2015,” curated by Jordan Stein in the Gray Center Lab is chock full of incredible ephemera celebrating the museum’s past. Here are a few of my favorites:

An early work by Julia Fish, a print made from seed pods and window screen placed on cyanopaper

A student’s note to curator Hamza Walker thanking him for inviting them to Diana Thater’s exhibition. (The Ren’s very first video show in 1996!)

Hamza Walker’s note that they’ve budgeted to dry clean Felix Gonzalez Torres’s curtains

The morning’s first speaker is Nina Möntmann via Skype. She begins with a slide of the much-detested Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, and speaks about the evolving nature of the museum amid neoliberalism which she says twists everything to fit its own imperatives. Increased wealth concentrations result in collectors opening their own museums, privileging artwork that is deemed financially valuable by the market, which (as we all know!) does not necessarily equate to critical value. Möntmann argues that this shift to starchitect-built, flipper artist institution model replaces curators with businessmen, cheapening the integrity of museum programming. She seems to not appreciate the starchitecture’s populism, stating that institutions such as Fondation Louis Vuitton come with no contemporary art “context.” (This was a criticism from an audience member.) But if institutions are meant to evoke egalité, as Möntmann notes, is it right to condemn starchitect institutions for their populism? There seems to be a double standard in the argument that contemporary art institutions should be not for the entire public, but only the right public. (Now I sound like a populist, oops.)

When we talk about museums today, Möntmann states, we talk about a broad range of institutions. So how to we move away from starchitecture? How about going to the opposite end, to low-budget, artist and curator run spaces. Möntmann brings up Open School East in Hackney, London. The school accepts 13 students, who pay no tuition, for a course of one year. She also talks about the Silent University, which was recently hosted at Tensta Konsthall.

Möntmann ends by saying that next step after critique is management. Long live the project space!

We’re back from break! Next up is writer and Beirut co-founder Sarah Rifky.

P.S. It is SO beautiful here! :open_mouth:

Sarah Rifky speaks second. She tells the story of the three operating years of Beirut, an institution she co-founded started in 2012 in Cairo (actually Giza, across the water) in a 1940’s villa replete with fruit trees. There were five small rooms used as an office, artist studios, screenings, etc. Beirut closed this year.

Rifky again brings up Andrea Fraser, and the idea of art for the sake of growth. She wonders if artists that Beiruit worked with would scale down their works to fit the scale of her (smaller) institutions. Artists are able to adapt to whatever working conditions given that there’s an interesting conversation to be had. Before the war in Yemen, Rifky was struck by the complete absence of art institutions. Not having art spaces does not necessarily mean that there’s no demand for art. Conversely, having gigantic institutions doesn’t mean that there’s a gigantic demand for art.

In Janaury 2011, people began calling for bread, freedom and social justice via political insurrection. (This was a moment separate from the Arab Spring, notes Rifky, and more aligned with a general call for human needs rather than an open democracy.) Those affiliated with Beirut felt compelled to answer this call. There was a physicality associated with this activism.

Rifky goes on, “Why did you decide to close Beirut? We never could decide why. It took on many forms and role-played many characters, at times even an art school. It was driven by three full-time curators. We collaborated with so many people. Maybe it outgrew its mission a little bit. We did consider the longevity of the institution. We needed Beirut to be larger than the sum of its makers. What does art do in a moment of political insurrection? Answering this question ended up being too difficult. What we were lacking was a more holistic form of support—financially, psychologically, everything. Having an institution in Cairo at that moment wasn’t very tenable. The grounds were constantly shifting and we were being swept away—it’s a difficult situation to negotiate. There’s a lot at stake.” Rifky is now in Boston, and says there’s some guilt being so far away. The two other Beirut curators, Jens and Antonia, fell in love and made Matilda (who is a baby), says Rifky, so the institution ended up in a way being a re/productive practice.

Rifky’s talk is an apropos rejoinder to Möntmann, who suggests artist- and curator-run spaces are the antidote for “capital-first, ideas last” institutions. It casts Möntmann’s talk in a utopian light, and brings up the important point that such low-scale institutions often so greatly financially and emotionally tax their creators. Perhaps our next consideration is how we create an environment of support and empathy around such spaces that make them more sustainable.

Third up are Robert Snowden and Aaron Flint Jamison from Yale Union. Yale Union opened in 2008 in an old, very large industrial laundry building in Portland.

Snowden asks, riffing off the classic Groucho Marx sentiment, “How do we critique institutions that would have us as a member?” Some interesting notes from Robert’s talk: He once came across a stray dog perusing Park McArthur’s exhibition, and another time, caught a couple having sex “whether with passion or derision” he was not sure. Being located in gentrifying Portland, YU is buttressed by a luxury condominium building and a growing foodie culture. A coffee roastery went in on building’s otherwise vacant top floor, presumably to help fund the institution. YU organizers have distributed key cards to people throughout Portland so they have access to the institution—not terribly sure why!

While YU has plenty of real estate, it lacks funding, says Snowden. Flint Jamison started selling pharmaceuticals in order to fund YU. “The experiential economy was easier to sustain than the financial economy,” he says. A terrifying pie chart pops up on the projector screen. “Here’s why you can’t start an art institution,” says Jamison. The pair gives a remarkably transparent run-down of their finances, their funding coming mostly from rentals. Weddings, photo shoots, or, for example, $15,000 from a private MC Hammer concert paid for by Wieden + Kennedy for their employees, funds shows by Lucy Skaer, Maria Eichhorn and Park McArthur, and screenings by Sadie Benning and Michael Snow. Øvstebø asks, “But given this heavy reliance on rental fees, how do these parallel events affect the exhibitions and artists at YU?” Snowden says that sometimes this confluence is magical, as in the case of an artist working around the schedule of a wedding rental and made his exhibition about the wedding, titling it “Regardless of the Millers” (the couple’s last name), and other times it is “a fucking nightmare.”

Jamison’s next get-rich-quick scheme is to create a spa in the institution and charge a 50-dollar-per-month membership fee.

It’s… snowing!? :snowflake: :snowman: :cyclone:

More quad-porn:

Hey all — it’s Caroline Picard and I just got to the In.Practice Symposium. I’m very happy to try and capture some of the energy here, so I’ll jump right in.

“As an authorized savage” Park McArthur begins by weaving together the cultural and historical legacies of Irish and Native American oppression, quoting Jimmie Durham first, later James Baldwin, Maxwell Graham and others. Also wearing a heavy scarf and drinking something hot because it is snowing hard outside. McArthur describes the strangeness of the US as a powerful force, or maybe not simply that, but what it means to produce work that considers and challenges the histories and pre-histories embedded in the site. Not simply a specific local history, but the entire interstitial networks we are embroiled in. Her reading is eloquent — rushing past and through. It’s hard to capture, but perhaps these quotes create a skeletal constellation…Part of what’s striking about her presentation is how the various voices she’s quoting slip through and integrate with her own voice, defining “Infrastructure as that which generates love, desire, and sex.” Going on to pose the following questions (I didn’t catch all of them)

  • “How does it feel to be a liability?”
  • “In the cosmos of any theology do institutions need ideology and do artists need belief?”
  • “Who speaks press release?”
  • “If I didn’t feel the first spanking can I have another one?”
  • “Whats’ difference between making art and making exhibitions?”
  • “How did autonomy come to mean anything else than being alone?”

Closing with this amazing reflection: “I feel a little like I’m at the birthday party of someone I don’t know but want to celebrate,” she says. “Why did I bring a two year old bottle of wine to a 100 yr old’s birthday when I could have brought a bottle scotch which would have at least been 40 years old.”

I really liked McArthur’s presentation. She read from several texts written by others, including Jimmie Durham’s “Ellipses very much like the Wild Irish” (1993) and Audre Lorde, “Sister Outsider.” When asked by someone in the audience why she chose to read from other artist and writers’ work, she said essentially that she wanted to reconsider how artists are called on to present knowledge, and that knowledge “is so much more than this table” as she pointed to the desk in front of her.

One moment I really appreciated was when McArthur quoted Congressmen and civil rights movement leader John R. Lewis, who said to a disability rights activist “Thanks for finding a way to get in the way.” I think there’s a double entendre to this statement: while “getting in the way” usually refers to people or things blocking your path, it’s also sometimes used to refer to challenging the status quo, or “fucking shit up.” But there’s a beautiful conflation here–those with visible disabilities “get in the way” as disabled bodies are socially marked or negatively stigmatized as “cumbersome,” perhaps disability visibility is a way to metaphorically “get in the way.”

W.J.T. “Tom” Mitchell starts by positing the question, “what is an image?” He waxes philosophical on the undefined properties of an image. He asks: Can it be text? Does it have mass?

Kerry James Marshall speaks about his experience visiting a museum as a child, and vividly remembers the lack of black figures in paintings in the entirety of the museum. This, of course, is a direct reflection of the United States’ white centrism and how it pictures itself and society—with black bodies marginalized or in subordinate positions. KJM started to ask himself, how do we insert blackness into the institution? He challenges Tom Mitchell by stating that the only way to insert blackness into the institution is by creating alterative pictures, not by ideating them.

Irena Haiduk states that the privileged position of the image in the West is antithetical to history of storytelling endemic to Serbia, her home nation. In her work, she frequently turns off the lights in the exhibition space in order to challenge the “Western image.”

At one point, Irena Haiduk describes one of Marshall’s paintings of the room + bed where Fred Hampton was killed — Black Painting (2003)— helped her answer the challenge images pose. Because the painting itself, by virtue of its blackness and its reflective surface, is almost impossible to photograph, the painting is inherently resistant. It denies a certain reproducibility, demands a concentrated discernment, and embodies a ranging, intrinsic blackness — where blackness is the normative condition of the work, and therefore challenges the otherwise predominantly white western norms of most museum collections. With that in mind, Haiduk said, “I have moved away from the production value and skill of the west.” With that, she wants to move away from the emphasis of sight and looking: “Whereas the image, the western image, really teaches what is valuable and what is not,” she says, she is compelled to explore blindness. “Maybe we should think we are all things, and by dwelling in the dark, you can really test what it means to occupy space.”

This idea of resistance reminds me of a recent article in The Atlantic about making. There, Debbie Chachra points out the various hierarchies, economies, and invisible support networks embedded in objects. She wants to resist calling herself a maker, in order to resist conflating production and value. She writes:

Walk through a museum. Look around a city. Almost all the artifacts that we value as a society were made by or at the order of men. But behind every one is an invisible infrastructure of labor—primarily caregiving, in its various aspects—that is mostly performed by women.

McArthur drew a nice comparison between the activist’s “getting in the way” and the function of the period in the centennial symposium’s title “In.Practice”–namely the period provides a stumbling block, or stutter, an obstacle large enough to impose a (not-entirely-confortable) reflection. I remember borrowing a friend’s bike without realizing that the gear shift mechanism was embedded within the handlebars; as I accelerated I would lean into the handlebars and inevitably cause the bike to shift. Because I didn’t realize the mechanism existed I was eventually thrown off the bike and (sitting on the street between bike and street lamp) had to reconsider not just the handlebars (since I didn’t realize yet they were the key to my having fallen) but the entire bike. For me at the time, I looked at the bike and said–probably out loud–“What just happened?Why did I fall down?” As McArthur suggests the period in “In.Practice” provides the same function, imposed not by accident but to assess:: What did The Renaissance Society just do (over the last century)? Shall we continue to ride the bike after all? (Yes.) So…Where? How? And what about the world has changed since our (The Ren’s) beginning? To my mind the function of this symposium is to devise those next steps…

:snowflake: GOOD MORNING!! :snowflake:
We’re back at the University of Chicago live blogging the second day of the In. Practice symposium. First up are William Pope.L and Anthony Huberman, then we have Anne Rorimer, Hamza Walker, and yours truly. Joining me again at the live blogging helm is Caroline Picard, @cocolarolo

Here are some images of Felix Gonzalez Torres’s work at the Renaissance Society offices–don’t candy spills and Perfect Lovers make for ideal office art??

As part of The Renaissance Society’s 100th anniversary, the organization released a 528 page publication that reflects upon, documents, and maps out the Ren’s activities since its inception in 1915. The book begins with a single image of the first invitation to join what would become The Renaissance Society — a conference intended “to stimulate love of the beautiful and to enrich the life of community through a cultivation of the arts,” dated May 29, 1915. The simple type-written invitation becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, yielding The Ren’s official 1916 constitution on the next spread. There again, the group reaffirms its dual commitment to “the cultivation of the arts and the enrichment of community” — a commitment it means to fulfill by organizing exhibitions and creating publications. Remarkably, those main tenants have remained central to The Ren’s agenda. Pages and pages unfold thereafter to illustrate how that intention manifested through action over the course of time. So many people participated in that agenda — the various administrative officers and staff, the artists — visual and musical, and of course the attending community. Although it is often difficult to measure the value and benefit of artistic endeavors in terms of monetary return, the publication captures how fully a platform for contemporary art and performance enriches the world it inhabits.

This morning Curator of Special Projects, Jordan Stein, started the day with an overview of yesterday’s conversation and what we might anticipate today. In the midst of this, he reminds us of “the middle” — how we might keep that in mind, to “make time for dissensus and renegotiation.”

Thereafter, William Pope.L and Anthony Huberman discussed “temporality, power, and collaboration.” Here, Huberman returns to the “In.” asking Pope L. to talk through a series of words so that we might explore contraries. (Bear in mind the Pope L is in the midst of a 25-hour marathon performance of John Cage’s Unrequited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, as part of the closing weekend for Freedom Principle). Parts of the conversation went a little like this (this is not a verbatim transcript):

AH: Instrument: To what degree is an institution an instrument?
WPL: Pope L describes how jail, the army (and death) were the main institutional possibilities for most of the kids he knew and grew up. “The institution of jail, or the institution as institution is unknowable. Once you get caught up in that machine, it grows you.” Another institutional presence was the welfare department — “they could visit your house whenever they wanted to.” When the welfare officer appeared, there was a kind of theatrical performance that occurred amongst his family. “Something I ended up learning to do with institutions was to verify, lie, or obscure…”

AH: What is the difference between “intelligence” and “instinct”
WPL: “Huh?” and “Ngh”, Pope L answers, but goes on to argue for the tension between those options, describing how with people you love, you have to recommit to them all of the time. Love as an experience is not a constant, unchanging force. Rather, there is a constant push and pull. “What’s interesting is the insistence that you’re going to love the world, even in the face of the possibility that it will not love you in return.”

AG: Instability
WPL: People have all kinds of desires that are contradictory — why can’t I speak to that? The really difficult oppositions are the ones that sort of collide but don’t. You get more of a rubbing than a head on collision. That’s what I’m interested.That’s scary.

AG: Incoherence
WPL: I think of it like an onion, and letting it do its thing. (This makes me think of his recent LA Exhibition, Trinket, and especially where painted onions arranged on tables slowly rotted or grew differently over the course of the show. Also the massive and theatrical flag billowing in the middle of the exhibition, one side was frayed and also slowly fray—ing.)

Photo: Installation view of William Pope.L: Trinket, March 20 – June 28, 2015 at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, photo by Brian Forrest

**AG:**Intruder : Going back to this idea of the institution, who is the intruder, the artist or the institution?
WPL: Describes meeting with and working with a man who had a large collection of photographs of black people. Pope L describes the way he and the collector wrestled over the collection, and how difficult it was/is to discern who is entering whom, or who is the intruder.

AG: Inside
WPL: The difference between inside and outside? (laughs)
**AG:**The difference of being inside of a center, or headquarters, and working on the periphery or fringe…?
WPL: The problem is that you’re never completely alienated. It’s the fluctuations that are the problem. If the world was all gray there would be no distinction. There would be no language. We need inside/outside, as much of a bastard as he might be.

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Next panel with Anne Rorimer, e-flux conversations editor Karen Archey (!!), and Hamza Walker “On conceptualism, immateriality, and dispersion.”

Walker begins with the provocative question: “What is/was new art?” A discussion circulates around “New Art,” the when-why-what of it, inspired largely by the title of Anne Rorimer’s 2001 book New Art: Redefining Reality which argues that in 1960s and 70s:

“Traditional two- and three-dimensional representations were supplanted by a variety of linguistic and photographic means, as well as by work that rejected the creation of objects in favour of installations that brought in to play the importance of presentation and site.”

Amusingly Rorimer disavows the title, “It wasn’t my title!” shakes her head, laughs, as though to suggest the title isn’t event accurate. “The art didn’t redefine reality, the art redefined itself.”

I like the slippery presence of Rorimer’s title because it seems at once necessary for the panel to reckon with (or more precisely, the specter of New-ness) while remaining elusive and difficult to pin down: no one is especially ready to take credit for whatever that “new art” is/was/had been. Karen Archey describes a returning to the neighborhood she grew up in in New York to find a new restaurant that looks as though it has been there forever. Something about that anecdote seems to describe our collective experience of cycles in art history — for instance the way that conceptualist strategies have been employed by Post-Internet Art. Archey emphasizing the “post-ness.” How strange, she points out — maybe even cheeky — for a contemporary art movement to self-historicize. The panel becomes a discussion of time suddenly, and market. “Looking back on 2015,” Archey says, “The advent of a very ravenous market makes Post-Internet Art very unique. I think it’s going to be more a consideration of economics than a manner of style.”

Thanks to Karen and Caroline for doing such a great job with coverage over these two days so far! I think it’s important to note that in Jordan’s introduction this morning he actually referred to speaker Ranjit Hoskote’s brochure “blurb” which refers to dissensus and renegotiation. This ties into what Pope.L identifies as the “rub” in the middle between contraries, a a dirty, imperfect tangle rather than a clean, direct opposition between opposites. Exploring this space, and the (productive) tensions that arise there, has really been the thread throughout all of the In. Practice the sessions—for example, Anne Rorimer just spoke about the distinction between Conceptual art’s ‘theme’ of anti-commodification and the works’ status as commodified objects. Looking forward to hearing Hoskote take up this issue with regards to how we present and represent the past this afternoon…

Hi Karen, thanks for covering the symposium! I am sorry I couldn’t be there in person; I was really looking forward to seeing you all. Hope there will be another chance, soon! And thanks for bringing up the issue with the “starchitect” museums and the publics these institutions are producing. Since I didn’t get the question from the audience via Skype, I could try to reply here. I actually don’t think these museums are populist. The Fondation LV in the Bois de Boulogne is more or less catering to the same people, who visit the LV stores and some tourists, and the museums on Saadiyat Island to first class tourists. And I am very critical of the canon these institutions, alongside the collectors’ museums, are trying to make. Their collections resemble “investment portfolios” rather than offering a contextualization of art and social history.

For me the mid-range institutions are more interesting, the Kunsthalles and public museums. Although most of them are experiencing severe budget cuts and therefore are not in the position to choose their sources of funding in order to avoid budgets connected to unethical trade or restrictive public money, there might still be a small room to maneuver. And here experiences made in artist-led or curator-run quasi-institutions (which I think are different to project spaces) of open access, inclusion, playfulness, adhocracy, dialogical experience, transnational ties, and relationships that go beyond economic interests could be translated into the software of mid-sized institutions. The antagonistic relation of a critical “content” of institutions (exhibitions, lectures, conferences…) and their neo-liberal economies is getting worse. Therefore I think the next phase of institutional critique has to include critical management.


Thanks, Anna and sorry for the slip. I went back and edited my post to reflect your point. Thank you thank you! CP

One of my favorite consistent sidenotes of the symposium has been the ever-present periodic table of the lecture room in Kent Hall. It would appear to have a permeating effect on everyones subconscious. Beginning yesterday with theorist Tom Mitchell’s description of himself as a noble gas, conceptual artist Irena Haiduk as a liquid, and painter Kerry James Marshall as a solid, a few more jokes have been made at its expense.

Riffing off the In. portion of the symposium, this morning Anthony Huberman posed a question to the audience, “Does anyone know what No. 49 is? In?” To no ones surprise at 10AM on a Sunday morning, not a single person in the audience had any idea.

In the spirit of concentration, I have stared intently at the periodic table these last two days, and remembered its notable inception. The Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev constructed the table more or less around 1869, designing it around a series of ‘known’ elements of Earth. Perhaps more importantly, Mendeleev designed it with the notion of the many unknown elements of Earth. He had the foresight to know that composing the table with gaps reserved for the unknown actually left room for a more grounded future—for the unknown that was inevitably to come.

I can’t help but consider this in context to the reoccurring questions of the roles that the artists, institutions, and audiences play in the current climate of contemporary art. Echoing Huberman’s questions to artist William Pope.L:

What do we do about instability, incoherence, and instincts?

In essence, the foreseen elegance of the periodic table is possibly what makes Pope.L’s work such an enduring and enigmatic thing. To paraphrase Pope.L’s responses: We want everything, and then there’s a feeling of loss when we realize we can’t have it. Ignorance is a good thing that isn’t necessarily celebrated in the art world. If we accept that our control—as artist, critics, curators, and thereby institutions, is always limited—perhaps we should just embrace the inevitable, let the tension rub.