In the early 1990s Los Angeles artist Suzanne Lacy spearheaded New Genre Public Art, an early term for socially engaged art practices within the public realm. Her work countered the traditional understanding of art in public space. A different idea of public emerged, one that suggested active engagement with specific people in specific places.
In 2021 Lacy worked with then director Alistair Hudson to realize What Kind of City?, a large-scale exhibition and subsequent city-wide project at The Whitworth, Manchester, UK. The exhibition presented multiple key works by Suzanne Lacy whilst at the same time serving as A Manual For Social Change on how art could change the city.
Alistair Hudson, now chairman at ZKM, Karlsruhe, is an influential director, curator and writer on social practice art. In their conversation at GAK, Lacy and Hudson will discuss the potential of public art taking their joint project as a starting point.
Suzanne Lacy is a pioneer in socially engaged and public performance art. Her installations, videos, and performances deal with sexual violence, rural and urban poverty, incarceration, labor, and aging. Lacy’s large-scale projects span the globe, including England, Colombia, Ecuador, Spain, Ireland, and the US.
In 2019, she had a career retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and an important installation of her videos in 2021 at The Whitworth in Manchester. Her work has been reviewed in Frieze Magazine, Artforum, LA Times, New York Times, Art in America, Hyper-Allergic and The Guardian. She has exhibited at Tate Modern, The Museum of Contemporary Art LA, the Whitney Museum, Queens Museum, The Contemporary Art Center of Andalusia, the Bilbao Museum, and Reina Sofia Museum.
Also known for her writing, Lacy edited Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art and is author of Leaving Art: Writings on Performance, Politics, and Publics, 1974–2007. She is currently working on What Kind of City, a book with Alistair Hudson. She is a professor at the Roski School of Art and Design at the University of Southern California and a resident artist at 18th Street Arts Center.
Alistair Hudson is the Scientific-Artistic Chairman of the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe since April 1, 2023. He succeeds Peter Weibel, who had headed the institution since 1999.
Hudson is a curator and museum director with broad-ranging international experience. He combines contemporary curatorial expertise with a profound knowledge of the relationship between art, technology and society. From 2018 to 2022 he served as director of two museums in Manchester: the Manchester Art Gallery and The Whitworth. The latter is the art museum of the University of Manchester, where he was also Professor of Useful Art.
In 1994, after completing his studies in art history and fine art, he went to work for the prestigious Anthony d’Offay Gallery in London. From 2000 he served as curator of public projects for the Government Art Collection. From 2004 he was vice director of Grizedale Arts, a ground-breaking art institution and international artists residency programme operating from a farm in England’s Lake District. From 2014 he served as director of the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, where he radically re-invented the museum, working with the residents of the city to give it social purpose.
Alistair Hudson’s concept of a “useful museum” envisions artistic and cultural institutions as centres of social responsibility and transformation. Together with the artist Tania Bruguera he heads the international network Asociación de Arte Útil.
An event within the framework of “Everyone an Island After All?”
In collaboration with Festival Changing City—50 Jahre Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Bremen, Senator
für Kultur Bremen
Der Senator für Kultur der Freien Hansestadt Bremen
Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien im Zusammenhang mit dem Programm NEUSTARTplus Plattformen der bildenden Kunst der Stiftung Kunstfonds
for Alistair Hudson: © ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. Photo: Marvin Systermans