Art Spaces Archives Project at CAA 2009 [Press Release]

Posted August 05, 2010 by admin

January 2009

AS-AP sponsored 2009 College Art Association Panel:
"Mitigating the Obvious Culture and the Search for Broader Humanity: Bridging the Gap Between Us and Them"
an Art Spaces Archives Project [AS-AP] panel to be held at the
College Art Association's 97th Annual Conference
Los Angeles Convention Center
Concourse Meeting Room 405, Level 2
1201 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, California

Art Spaces Archives Project [AS-AP] is pleased to announce a panel discussion entitled "Mitigating the Obvious Culture and the Search for Broader Humanity: Bridging the Gap Between Us and Them," to be held at the College Art Association's 97th Annual Conference on Wednesday, February 25, 2009, from 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM at the Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 South Figueroa Street, Concourse Meeting Room 405, Level 2.

The panel will feature Edgar Arceneaux, Artist / Project Director, Watts House Project; Cindy Bernard, Artist / Director, The Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound; Co-Founder, MOCA Mobilization; Joshua Decter, curator, critic, and Director of the Master of Public Art Studies: Art in the Public Sphere Program at USC; and Stephen Saiz, President, Board of Directors, Self Help Graphics and Art. Moderating the panel will be David Platzker, former Project Director of AS-AP, a non-profit initiative formed in 2003 to assess and survey the state of the archives of alternative and avant-garde art spaces throughout the United States. In 2007, AS-AP partnered with the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard (CCS Bard), an exhibition, education, and research center dedicated to the study of art and curatorial practices from the 1960s to the present day. David Platkzer is the president of Specific Object, a New York City gallery and bookstore.

Over the last five years Art Spaces Archives Project [AS-AP] -- -- has presented panels at the annual College Art Association Conferences that have addressed archives by investigating institutional holdings, living and defunct alternative arts organizations, and first hand narratives of creation and secondary investigations into the alternative / avant-garde movement.
The 2009 panel will explore the impact of visual arts groups, programs, and public installations upon groups not necessarily considered likely targets by the contemporary art establishment.

AS-AP has actively spoken about "spaces," or structures of presentation -- alternative spaces, performance spaces, printed spaces, artistic collaborations, and arts networks. AS-AP has discussed access, acquisition, preservation and the use of archival materials as a direct means of understanding our cultural capital. However, in doing so AS-AP has also emphasized that the notion of "our" is an endemic issue. That is while "our" spaces are intended to be some form of alternative to the status quo of artistic presentation the audience remains a subset of people already attuned to contemporary art. More specifically, our audience is comprised of individuals predisposed to alternative modes of address or presentation.

Within "our" community there have been ongoing dialogs regarding education and / or outreach to broaden the understanding of alternative movements, essentially as a means of indoctrination with an underlying desire to bring new visitors to "our" spaces on an ongoing basis. This broadening of audiences has multiple goals of increasing understanding, soliciting new constituencies, and broadening fiscal stability. The underlying methodology in this endeavor is most often framed as bringing new people into the spaces themselves, and less frequently moving beyond the construct, or confines, of "our" spaces.

For this year's CAA panel our panelists will be addressing alternatives to alternative spaces -- artists, arts organizations, and public sculpture (or private sculpture in public spaces). The panel will question how or if "alternative alternative" arts groups can successfully integrate or infiltrate into society or culture beyond the confines of museum, gallery, "white cube," or other defining spaces that have previously been codified as recognized venues for art. How can arts groups activate society, culture, or individuals who are either outside the artworld or perhaps antagonistic to the subversive potential of the arts within their communities? Are there concert examples of successes and failures? What can be done to bridge the gap between us and them or should the search for broader humanity be curtailed and declared a failure?


Edgar Arceneaux is the Director of the Watts House Project (WHP) an artist-driven urban revitalization project centered around the historic Watts Towers in Watts, California.
WHP is a large-scale artwork-as-urban-development engaging art and architecture as a catalyst for expanding and enhancing community. The neighborhood surrounding the Watts Towers presents a stark contrast to the well-maintained aesthetics of this national monument, and currently the residents have limited means to capitalize socially or economically on this cultural currency. WHP operates with the understanding that social and economic challenges are tied to basic ecological problems and aims to develop an incremental, nuanced and sustainable model that marries ecological concerns and practices with social and cultural remedies. Arceneaux is also an artist living and working in Los Angeles. His multivalent practice includes drawings, collaborative installations, community-based social sculpture initiatives and large-scale film projects. His recent solo shows include "The Agitation of Expansion" at the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia (2008), "Snake River" at the REDCAT Gallery in Los Angeles (2006), and "The Alchemy of Comedy…Stupid" at ArtPace in San Antonio, Texas, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects (2006). Arceneaux is currently included in the 2008 California Biennial and a one-person exhibition at Albion, London. The Watts House Project website is

Cindy Bernard is known for photographs and projections that explore the relationship between cinema, memory, and landscape including the widely exhibited series "Ask the Dust." She is a recipient of grants and fellowships from the J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for the Visual Arts, Art Matters Inc., California Arts Council, Anonymous Was a Woman, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Bernard is creator of the experimental music series "sound." as well as the founder and director of The Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound (SASSAS). More recently, Bernard co-founded the advocacy group MOCA Mobilization, which utilized social networking to rally support for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. SASSAS' website is and Bernard's own site is:

Joshua Decter is a critic, curator, art historian and theorist. He is a regular contributor to Artforum, and has organized exhibitions at PS1 in New York, The Center for Curatorial Studies Museum at Bard, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Apex Art in New York, The Kunsthalle Vienna, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, among other institutions. Decter has been an advisor to the inSite (Art Practices in the Public Domain San Diego/Tijuana) organization since 2003, and was a curatorial interlocutor for the inSite_05 San Diego/Tijuana Interventions exhibition project. He has organized numerous public conferences, including "The Situational Drive: Complexities of Public Sphere Engagement," in collaboration with inSite San Diego/Tijuana and Creative Time, New York, presented at The Cooper Union, NY, in May 2007. From 2003 to 2007, Decter was a member of the graduate faculty and graduate committee at Bard's Center for Curatorial Studies. He has also taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York, UCLA, Art Center College of Design, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As the Director of the Master of Public Art Studies: Art in the Public Sphere Program since the fall of 2007, Decter is transforming this graduate program into a platform for the critical examination of complexities of community engagement, modes of collaborative and participatory art production, the historical and contemporary conditions of site/location-specificity, among other topics. The Master of Public Art Studies: Art in the Public Sphere Program's website is:

Stephen Saiz is the president of the Board of Directors for Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG), a nationally recognized center for Latino arts that develops and nurtures artists in printmaking. Saiz, a Los Angeles native, has been a patron of SHG since the early 90's and a Board member since 2005. Saiz received his Bachelor's Degrees in Psychology and Mass Communications from the University of California at Berkeley and holds an MBA from the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business. Saiz, who currently works for the Walt Disney Company, brings more than 10 years of business experience to the SHG Board. Over the past 30 years, Self Help Graphics and Art has emerged as the leading visual arts cultural center which serves the predominantly Chicano/Mexicano community of Los Angeles. In that time, SHG has earned national acclaim for its programs and services, which promote the contribution of Chicano/Latino art and culture to the American landscape. Located in the heart of East Los Angeles, SHG has been a popular and vital community resource for the creation and presentation of art and culture. Self Help Graphics and Art's website is:

David Platzker is the former Project Director of AS-AP and the President of Specific Object, a New York City gallery and bookstore. From 1998 through 2004 Platzker was the Executive Director of the New York City non-profit institution Printed Matter, Inc. He is also the co-author, and co-curator - with Elizabeth Wyckoff - of "Hard Pressed: 600 Years of Prints and Process" (International Print Center New York and Hudson Hills Press, 2000); and - with Richard H. Axsom - the book and exhibition entitled "Printed Stuff: Prints, Posters, and Ephemera by Claes Oldenburg : A Catalogue Raisonne 1958-1996" (Madison Art Center & Hudson Hills Press, 1997), which was awarded the George Wittenborn Award for Best Art Publication of 1997 by the Art Libraries Society of North America. Platzker has also curated numerous contemporary art exhibitions and commissioned works by artists including Larry Clark, Erin Cosgrove, Meg Cranston, General Idea, Jenny Holzer, Reverend Jen, Allan Kaprow, among many others.

About Art Spaces Archives Project

Art Spaces Archives Project [AS-AP] is a non-profit initiative founded by a consortium of alternative art organizations, including Bomb Magazine, College Art Association, Franklin Furnace Archive, New York State Council on the Arts [NYSCA], New York State Artist Workspace Consortium, and The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
With funding provided by NYSCA, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, AS-AP has a mandate to help preserve, present, and protect the archival heritage of living and defunct for- and not-for-profit spaces of the "alternative" or "avant-garde" movements of the 1950s to the present by compiling a national index of alternative arts spaces, assessing preservation needs, and helping to establish best practices for contemporary art related archives. AS-AP's website,, serves as an online resource for information pertaining to collections and repositories containing the archives of the avant-garde, tools to assist in archiving, and other aids for scholars interested in alternative or avant-garde movements.

About the Center for Curatorial Studies

In January 2007 AS-AP merged with the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard. CCS Bard is an exhibition, education, and research center dedicated to the study of art and curatorial practices from the 1960s to the present day. In addition to the CCS Bard Galleries and the newly inaugurated Hessel Museum of Art, CCS Bard houses the Marieluise Hessel Collection of more than 2,000 contemporary works, as well as an extensive library and curatorial archive that are accessible to the general public. The Center's two-year graduate program in curatorial studies is specifically designed to deepen students' understanding of the intellectual and practical tasks of curating contemporary art. Exhibitions are presented year-round in the CCS Bard Galleries and Hessel Museum of Art, providing students with the opportunity to work with world-renowned artists and curators. The exhibition program and the collection also serve as the basis for a wide-range of public programs and activities exploring art and its role in contemporary society.

For more information please contact Ann Butler, Project Director, AS-AP, or call 845.758.7566