Bruce Presents: Curator, Collector, Critic, Creator: What is ‘Contemporary Art’ Today?

Thursday, September 10, 2020 — 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Bruce Presents: Curator, Collector, Critic, Creator: What is ‘Contemporary Art’ Today? 

Bruce Presents: Curator, Collector, Critic, Creator: What is ‘Contemporary Art’ Today?

To understand the world of contemporary art, think of the artist as the hub, with an array of stakeholders—among them, curators, collectors, critics—as the spokes. Each has a stake in the other; together, they’re a symbiotic ecosystem in which artistic insight, social prestige, and great wealth hang in the balance. 

Join a fascinating conversation between a major contemporary artist and the professionals whose livelihoods are linked to their work on Thursday, September 10, 2020, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, when the Bruce Museum hosts a Zoom webinar: Curator, Collector, Critic, Creator: What Is 'Contemporary Art' Today?

Participation in the Bruce Presents virtual program, for the benefit of the Bruce Museum, is $25 for Museum members, $35 non-members. Reservation link is provided below or call 203-869-0376; a link to join the conversation on Zoom will be sent to registered attendees one hour prior to the program. Support for Bruce Presents, the Bruce Museum’s monthly series featuring thought leaders in the fields of art and science, is generously provided by Northern Trust and Berkley One, a Berkley Company.

Artist and author Joe Fig.

Central to the September 10 discussion about contemporary art today is Joe Fig, an artist and author known for work that explores the artistic creative process and the spaces where art is made. His paintings, sculptures, and photographs have been exhibited at the Bass Museum of Art, the Bruce Museum, Chazen Museum of Art, Fleming Museum, New Britain Museum of American Art, Orlando Museum of Art, Parrish Art Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Toledo Museum of Art. His work can be found in numerous private and museum collections, including the Bruce Museum. Author of the critically acclaimed Inside the Painter's Studio and Inside the Artist's Studio, Fig is currently the Chair of Fine Arts and Visual Studies at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota. 

Fig’s exhibition of new paintings, entitled Contemplation, opens at the Cristin Tierney Gallery in New York Cityon September 1, and continues through October 17.

Chronicling the artist’s travels across the country, the paintings in Contemplation present versions of a similar scene: people looking at art. Some are in galleries, others in museums. Settings run the gamut from crowded blockbuster shows where the visitors take prominence, to quiet and intimate portraits of an individual completely absorbed in an artwork. 

This series of works began in 2016 as an exploration of an ongoing, routine activity for members of the art-loving public. In the era of COVID-19, it has taken on a sense of melancholy and nostalgia, pitted against the backdrop of a pandemic. Images that once communicated open-ended moments of rumination are now charged with a sense of loss. In Fig's words, “It will never be the same again.”

With her deep familiarity with Fig’s body of work and global perspective on the contemporary art market, Cristin Tierney lends expert insight to this conversation. Tierney has owned a contemporary art gallery in New York City since 2010 and has served as an advisor to a number of private collectors and institutions since 2000. Prior to founding her advisory firm, she was a consultant for many years at Christie's Auction House. Tierney has also served on the boards and committees of numerous non-profit organizations, including Reynolda House Museum of American Art and the Lower East Side Printshop. She has a Master's Degree from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and has taught graduate-level seminars at NYU on the history of the art market as well as undergraduate art history. 

Collector Monroe Denton has been part of the contemporary art scene for decades, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in modern art history and criticism at the School of Visual Arts, Purchase College SUNY, Queens and Brooklyn Colleges CUNY, Stern College (Yeshiva University), and other institutions. Denton writes for various U.S. and European periodicals and journals and has lectured at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, as well as at various venues in Europe and the U.S. He also serves on several museum and art-project boards and committees. Denton has been gathering works, primarily contemporary art—including artwork by Joe Fig—for a number of years, or, as he says, “as I can afford them.”

Adding a critic’s eye, and voice, to the discussion is Christian Viveros-Fauné. Born in Santiago, Chile, Viveros-Fauné has worked as an art critic, curator, gallerist, and art fair director for over 25 years. He was awarded Kennedy Family Visiting Fellowship in 2018 and a Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Grant for short-form arts writing in 2009. In 2011, he was named Art Critic in Residence at the Bronx Museum, and has lectured at Yale University, Pratt Institute, and Amsterdam’s Gerrit Rietveld Academie. 

Viveros-Fauné is Chief Critic for Artland and writes regularly for ArtReview; Sotheby’s/Art Agency Partners’s in other words, and The Art Newspaper. He presently serves as Curator-at-Large at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum and Visiting Critic at the NYU Steinhardt Department of Art and Education. He has curated numerous museum exhibitions around the world and is the author of several books. His most recent, Social Forms: A Short History of Political Art, was published by David Zwirner Books in 2018.

Rounding out the panel is Dr. Amy Gilman, Director of the Chazen Museum of Art at UW-Madison. Dr. Gilman joined the Chazen in 2017, following distinguished service at the Toledo Museum of Art, most recently as deputy director. As director of the Chazen, Dr. Gilman oversees all administrative, financial, and curatorial duties for the museum. Dr. Gilman earned her doctorate in art history at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and master of fine arts in photography from Columbia College in Chicago. She earned a bachelor’s performance studies degree from Northwestern University. 

Leonard Jacobs, producer of the Bruce Presents series, will serve as moderator for the September 10 program, Curator, Collector, Critic, Creator: What Is 'Contemporary Art' Today?

Conceived by Suzanne Lio, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director of the Bruce Museum, and launched in 2019, Bruce Presents has received enthusiastic reviews for its topical programming about the arts and science. The most recent Bruce Presents was on August 6: Energy Storage Technologies for Earth—and Other Planets.  

Explore the world of contemporary art as a Curator, Collector, Critic, and Creator of Art discuss today’s art world from their various perspectives. 

Join the conversation among artist, Joe Fig, gallerist, Cristin Tierney, art critic, Christian Viveros-Fauné, and curator, Dr. Amy Gilman as they discuss their professional connections and today's art market. For the benefit of the Bruce Museum, this program is $25 for Museum members, $35 for non-members.

Support for Bruce Presents, the Bruce Museum’s monthly series featuring thought leaders in the fields of art and science, is generously provided by Northern Trust and Berkley One, a Berkley Company.


Joe Fig (American, b. 1968), Who’s Afraid of Barney? (Barnett Newman), 2008, Mixed media, 14 x 15 3/4 x 12 1/4 in. Gift of Joe Fig, Bruce Museum Collection, 2017.07


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