Seminario Fundación Cisneros 2012 | The Betrayal of the Contemporary

Seminario Fundación Cisneros 2012

The Betrayal of the Contemporary: Activations, suspensions and projections of the contemporary in art

November 9, 2012

Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas

This edition of the Seminario Fundación Cisneros combines the model of a symposium with the Pecha Kucha format, a creative presentation in which a work is outlined in a simple and informal manner. The seminar gathers artists, writers, art curators and critics, as well as producers in other disciplines and the general public, to consider the many genealogies and languages in the visual arts simultaneously operating in the field of culture.

In addition, the seminar includes an on- and offline exchange program that comprises tours through the university and a number of virtual interventions. Furthermore, in order to contribute locally to Venezuela's cultural development, the seminar has established partnerships with the schools of photography Organización Nelson Garrido and Escuela de Fotografia Roberto Mata, as well as the Capriles film school, whose students will document the seminario's activities. The results of these collaborations will be published both on this website and in media allies.

As the subtitle of The Betrayal of the Contemporary suggests, the seminar is designed as a space to reflect upon and discuss the various attempts to define the contemporary, particularly through the arts. In the process of this discussion, the challenges, both regional and global, are to recognize the tactics, benefits and even the abuse of the plurality of the contemporary definitions. The seminar will cover the philosophical trace between concepts and techniques, as well as technology and experimentation, the battles between the access and the limitations to the markets of ideas and art, and the uses of or references to histories of art and visual culture.


Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, "The betrayal of the new in today's art"

This second edition of the Seminario Fundación Cisneros will reflect upon today's artistic production, and about that which is usually called the contemporary. Several questions motivate the organization of this seminar: what differences have been made between modern and contemporary? Why insist on the need for a diversity of plastic, curatorial, and cultural approaches to contemporaneity? Do language and translation betray artistic work?

Nato Thompson, "Art won and we don't know it: the growth of cultural production and its relationship to the arts"

Art has won and no one knows it. After the last hundred years, the skills of representation and the production of affect have left the specific universe of the arts and have made their way into the logic of everyday corporate and managerial culture. Communications, advertising, and marketing have radically taken hold of the gears of culture and have in many cases transformed the landscape in which people experience images and emotions. In his presentation, Nato Thompson navigates what this new landscape of vast cultural production means for the artist who wants to matter in society.

Nato Thompson is Chief Curator at the New York public art organization Creative Time. He has curated numerous shows that engage the public on questions of historic and political portent, including most recently Trevor Paglenâs The Last Pictures, The Creative Time Summit (2009-2011), Living as Form (2011), Tania Bruguera's Immigrant Movement International, Jeremy Dellerâs It is What it is (2009), and Paul Chanâs acclaimed Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007) among many others. His most recent book Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the Age of Cultural Production is soon to be released by Melville House Publishing.

Mariángela Méndez, "To kiss or bite the hand that feeds you"

When we review the relationship between art and its environment, we find that very explicit representations and models of the world stop half way through and only hinder our understanding of it. It seems better in these cases to use the world as its own model, but this kind of abstraction might ignore the cognitive essence of intelligence that resides only in materialization. It is as if one could separate understanding from reality, into two parts: one that can be resolved through abstraction and one that cannot.

An associate professor in the Department of Art at the University of the Andes in Bogotá, and a graduate of the MA in Curating the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in New York Mariangela has worked as an advisor to the National and Regional Meetings Artists with the Ministry of Culture of Colombia, and the Plastic Arts Management Institute for Culture of Bogota. Among her most recent curatorial projects are Sin Remedio, Galería Al4uadrado (Bogotá, 2008), and Muestras de Laboratorio, Museo Bolivariano de Arte Contemporáneo de Santa Marta (2011).

Claire Bishop, "How do you make a classroom come to life as though it were a work of art?"

Since the 1990s, critics and curators have broadly accepted the notion that participatory art is the ultimate political art: that by encouraging an audience to take part, an artist can promote new emancipatory social relations. Bishop calls for a less prescriptive approach to art and politics, and for more compelling, troubling and bolder forms of participatory art and criticism. Her lecture will focus, specifically, on long-term educational projects by contemporary artists such as Thomas Hirschhorn, Tania Bruguera, Paweł Althamer and Paul Chan.

Claire Bishop is Associate Professor in the PhD Program in Art History at CUNY Graduate Center, New York.  Her publications include Installation Art: A Critical History (Tate/Routledge, 2005) and Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (2012).  She is a regular contributor to Artforum.

Virtual Responses

Through an international network of collaborators that was created to share virtually the contents of this edition of the Seminar, we will connect with other audiences interested in discussing The Betrayal of the Contemporary. After the first and second sessions of the seminar, curators representing each of these institutions will connect virtually from their headquarters to the auditorium by Google Hangout to share their impressions of the presentations.

Inti Guerrero (TEOR/ética) 
TEOR /éTica is an independent project and a private, nonprofit art space focused on research and dissemination of contemporary artistic practices. Since its inception, TEOR /éTica has emerged as one of the most dynamic art spaces in Costa Rica, with regional and international projection, and a growing reputation as a center of thought generation, production of stock documents, and the production of regional and international samples.

María Carmen Carrión (ICI) 
Independent Curators International (ICI) produces exhibitions, events, publications, and training opportunities for diverse audiences around the world. ICI connects emerging and established curators, artists, and institutions, to forge international networks and generate new forms of collaboration.

Ileana Ramírez (Tráfico Visual) 
Tráfico Visual is an online platform where contemporary art and today's cultural dynamics circulate and connect to offer the audience a link in which they can find information -through live streaming and podcasts- on the different artistic and cultural activities in Caracas and all along Venezuela. The purpose is to serve as a mean for dialogue between Venezuelan artists that live in the country and abroad.

Ericka Flores (Lugar a Dudas
Lugar a Dudas is a non-profit independent space. Its purpose is to promote and diffuse artistic contemporary creation through an articulate process of investigation, production and open confrontation. Lugar a Dudas is a laboratory to foment knowledge of contemporary art, facilitate development of creative process, and provoke community to interact through artistic practices.

Eduardo Abaroa (SOMA) 
SOMA is a result of a group of artistsâ initiative to bring together their efforts and develop a unique platform within the cultural realm. SOMA is a program for the professionalization of artists, a forum for conferences, discussions and weekly events, a system of residencies for national and international artists, and an international summer program for artists, curators and art historians.

Manuela Moscoso (Capacete) 
CAPACETE has the purpose of exposing and producing unpublished conceptual and contextual works. It documents its activities and serves as a starting point for the selfmanaging of a group of national and international artists.

Pecha Kucha

Sergio Monsalve, Zuleiva Vivas, Suwon Lee, "Landscapes and mirages"

A filmmaker, a curator and an artist have been asked to address the following questions, using their work, research and impressions of the cultural field to answer them critically: Is there a difference between a natural and a social landscape? How does landscape position but also refer, how does it accept and at the same time question the gaze in our time? If power and intimacy grant privileged access to information, what are the responsibilities of the gaze?

Sergio Monsalve
Tanned in the arts of protest graffiti from an early age, Sergio has been marked by a strong visual radiation exposure of classical cinema, and has successfully passed the shock therapy being submitted as a guinea pig to the Ludovico method of A Clockwork Orange. Since then he embarked on a personal vendetta against its creators Frankenstein style. His secret weapon is film criticism. With it he confronts the demons of his time in the midst of witch-hunts and Apocalypse Now. He writes endlessly, teaches, and makes film documentaries to survive the end of the species.


Zuleiva Vivas
Started her career in the Galería de Arte Nacional, where she confirmed her passion for research and museology. She has curated solo and group shows by renowned Venezuelan and international artists and has been curator for Venezuelaâs representation on the 6th, 7th, and 11th Bienal de Arte de La Habana, Cuba, and in the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007). Author of La desaparición de los límites (Ediciones Fundación Claudio Perna) and La huella y el índice (Editorial Metrópolis, 2008), and has contributed to the Dictionary of Art (London: MacMillan Reference Ltd., 1997), among other publications.


Suwon Lee
Born to Korean parents in Caracas in 1977, Suwon Lee was trained as a photographer in Paris and studied under the tutelage of Nelson Garrido in Venezuela and with Axel Hutte in Spain, with who she has made several photo-trips through Venezuela, Spain and Peru. Suwon Lee was the only Venezuelan artist selected by an international jury to include her work in the publication The Younger than Jesus Artist Directory published by Phaidon Press in 2009, a directory of the best young artists in the world. She is co-founder and co-director since 2005 of the contemporary art space Oficina #1. For more information:

Maria Lind, Muu Blanco, Mari Montes, "Reality and abstraction"

Abstraction in art has generally been associated with the ideas and ideals of modernism, at least in art history. However, abstraction is still a language in current use and development, notwithstanding that the modernist project and its failures have been severely criticized. A curator, an artist and a writer speak of how they approach abstraction today.

Maria Lind
Director of the Tensta Konsthall in Sweden, independent curator and writer interested in exploring the formats and methodologies connected with the contemporary art institution. She was director of the graduate program at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College from 2008â10, curator at Moderna Museet in Stockholm (from 1997–2001) and in 1998 was co-curator of Manifesta 2, Europeâs nomadic biennial of contemporary art. Lind was the 2009 recipient of the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement. A compendium of her essays to date, Selected Maria Lind Writing, was published by Sternberg Press in 2010.


Muu Blanco 
Artist concerned with communicating his experiences abstractly in multiple media. He began his career in painting, drawing, photography and assembly, and later engaged in the production of videos and music. He has been active in the Venezuelan art circuit, within and outside the country, in addition to having a presence on television and radio since the 1990s. Currently, Muu is focused in creating mixed-media art installations. Among his recent projects are the exhibitions Entorno(Caracas) and Caja Blanca Atrapa Moscas(Barcelona, Spain). In 2012, he released the music album Pillos Caracas Boys with the British label ImagenesUK.


Mari Montes
A writer specialized in baseball, Mari Montes is a sports journalist and has worked in radio for more than two decades. Introduced to baseball by her father since early childhood, Montes is fond to the Leones de Caracas and the Baltimore Orioles. Among her works are the childrenâs books Por la goma, 2004 un año por encima del promedio, 2005, el año de Guillén y Lucía, la pelota que soñaba con llegar al Salón de la Fama. She is also the author of the play Tania en pelota and co-author and producer of the documentary Galarraga, beisbol puro beisbol.

Pablo León de la Barra, Mario García Torres, Luis Molina Pantín, "Archives, stories, rumors"

This session convenes a group of artists and cultural figures interested in creating or reflecting on narratives through various artistic practices, from the creation and study of archives and collections, though the completion of stories and rumors. Specialists and enthusiasts present their productions.

Pablo León de la Barra
Independent curator, researcher, editor, blogger, co-director of the Novo Museo Tropical and founder and director of the first Bienal Tropical in San Juan, Puerto Rico (2011). He has curated, To Be Political it Has to Look Nice, apexart and Art in General (New York, 2003); This Is Not America, Beta Loca (San Juan, 2009); Incidents of Mirror Travel in Yucatán and elsewhere, Museo Tamayo (Mexico City, 2011); and Novo Museo Tropical TEOR/ética (San José, 2012). He was recently awarded the first grant for curatorial research trips in Central America and the Caribbean by the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros and Independent Curators International.


Mario García Torres
Mario Garcia Torres is an artist currently living in Mexico City.  His work has been shown, among others, at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, the Musée d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and Tate Modern, London. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions like the 29th Sao Paulo Biennial; the 2010 Taipei Biennial, Taipei; the IX Baltic Triennial of International Art, Vilnius; the 8th Panama Biennal, Panama; the 2008 Yokahama Triennial, Yokahama; the 52nd Biennale di Venezia, Venice and Documenta 13, Kassel.


Luis Molina Pantín
Luis Molina-Pantin lives and works in Caracas. He has participated in major solo and group exhibitions, among which are Valores Humanos, Faria + Fabregas, (Caracas), Estudio Informal de la Arquitectura Hibrida Vol 1., Galería Valenzuela/Klenner, (Bogotá), Galería Marta Cervera (Madrid), and Federico Luger (Milán). His work is represented in public and private collections including The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (Sevilla), Galería de Arte Nacional (Caracas), and Fundación Banco Mercantil (Caracas).

Digital Correspondents

Digital correspondents are relevant people within the cultural and artistic life in Venezuela, who are active in using social networks, have been invited to spark a conversation and participate in dialogue around the ideas presented in the seminar beyond the auditorium.

Roberto Mata (Caracas, Venezuela)
Mata is founder and director of Roberto Mata Taller de Fotografía since 1993. His career began in the 1980's as a photographer of Pandora, Feriado and Papel Literario, El Nacional newspaper publications. Along with teaching, he is a corporate and advertising photographer, a regu;ar cpntributor of diverse print media, and develops his personal work that has earned awards including the Grand Prix 31 ° Aragua National Art Hall (2006). You can follow him on Twitter or Instagram @ RMTF

Ileana Ramírez (Caracas, Venezuela)
A lawyer from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello 2002. Ileana studied a specialization in cultural administration in Washington University. In 2006 she worked as logistics coordinator in Sala Mendoza. She also participated as co-curator of the exhibition âTambién los hombres son museosâ in the first Experimental Curatorial Workshop in Periférico Caracas, 2011. She is currently media coordinator and head of cultural programming at Centro de Arte Los Galpones. In 2009 she created Tráfico Visual, a virtual platform for the communication of contemporary art. Twitter: @traficovisual

Alejandra Villasmil (Caracas, Venezuela)
Alejandra Villasmil is a visual artist, founder and editor of the contemporary art magazine (2010). Between 2002 and 2007, she was Culture correspondent in New York for the Spanish news agency, EFE. She is professor at the School of Art at the Universidad del Desarrollo, where she teaches the Art and Writing Workshop. Besides the website, Artishock develops parallel projects that have helped to activate the visual arts scene in Chile, such as Artishock Radio, art fairs, exhibitions, conferences and workshops. Twitter: @revistartishock

Geraldine Villasmil (Caracas, Venezuela)
She is the founder and editor of avant-garde magazine MONO, a publication interested in art and design trends that is distribute by the newspaper El Universal in Venezuela. She is also director of the communications and public relations agency PR Boca, and hosts a weekly radio program with the editor of the magazine Estampas, Mario Aranaga, in 107.9FM. She is a regular contributor of Elba Escobar and Maria Elena Lavaudâs radio show. Twitter: @revistamono