Studio Systems at the American Academy in Rome

Next week the exhibition Studio Systems opens at the American Academy in Rome. Long mythologized as the locus of artistic creation, the studio has undergone a sea change in the past fifty years as artists have reconfigured and diversified the sites of their activity. Conceptual practice since Marcel Duchamp’s Readymades and Andy Warhol’s factory has generated new forms and sites of creative endeavor that often exceed the limits of the studio proper. In 1971, in the heyday of Minimalism, French artist Daniel Buren launched a critique of the double bind of the work of art produced in the studio. Remaining cloistered in the artist’s private realm, the work suffers “total oblivion,” whereas removing it from that sphere alienates from its origins. John Baldessari, in a class entitled “Post Studio Art” offered at CalArts in the early 1970s, went so far as to predict the demise of the traditional studio. In the same period, however, Philip Guston, in paintings such as The Studio (1969), reclaimed the studio as a necessary, if fraught space, central to his self-reflexive, but epic allegorical project. This exhibition aims to plumb some of the tensions governing contemporary studio practice issuing from these respective trajectories.

At the American Academy in Rome – where Guston lived and worked during three important junctures in his career – the studio as a purpose-built architectural space remains a vital locus for fertile artistic exploration and production.  This exhibition will explore the status and diverse interpretations of the studio in line with current modes of production that are often less dependent on a clearly defined studio environment. What does it mean to work in the studio now, as it increasingly cedes its privileged position as the exclusive laboratory for contemporary artistic practice to more mobile, itinerant, digital and global networks?

In conjunction with the Academy’s annual Open Studios, which provides free access to the inner workings of Fellows’ ongoing projects in studios throughout the McKim, Mead & White Building, this focused show will feature ways in which the studio has been constructed, redefined and interrogated in recent art.

The exhibitions includes work by: Yuri Ancarani, Richard Barnes (Fellow 2006), Anna Betbeze (Fellow 2014), Suzanne Bocanegra (Fellow 1992), Petra Cortright, Marcel Duchamp, Philip Guston (Fellow 1949, Resident 1971), Josephine Halvorson, Dawn Kasper, Bryony Roberts (Booth Family Rome Prize).

Studio Systems is curated by Peter Benson Miller, Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome.

A series of events have been organised in conjuction with the exhibition:

Peter Schjeldahl – The Critic as Artist: Updating Oscar Wilde
12 May 2016
6:30pm, AAR Lecture Room

Inaugural Lecture
Theaster Gates – The Sermon on the Buildings
19 May 2016
6pm, AAR Lecture Room

Dawn Kasper – On Desire or THE METHOD
26 May 2016
6:30pm, AAR Gallery

Bryony Roberts – Corpo Estraneo
16 June 2016
6-8pm, TBA

American Academy in Rome – via Angela Masina 5, roma
Opening Thursday 19 May, 6pm-9pm