Joan Retallack: Avant-Garde in the Anthropocene
Where: The Cooper Union
7 E. 7th St. | 41 Cooper Sq.
212-353-4100 Price: Free
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The historical avant-garde (modernism) embraced the enigma of a cultural space-time construct (Europe) reveling in enlightenment (philosophy) and progress (technology) while producing catastrophes still unspooling. Often ignoring a present tense filled with power and resource grabs (external: colonialism; internal: racist and misogynist exploitation), the avant-garde artist enacted strategies of salvation in visionary futures. Despite the prominence of queer Moms and Pops (e.g., Gertrude Stein and John Cage) the postmodern deus ex machina—true to militarist avant-garde tropes—largely turned out to be the same-old supraheroic patriarchy. How to parse this irony or, better yet, to move on amid current anthroposcenes, anthroposcenities?
Joan Retallack is a poet and essayist. Author of The Poethical Wager, Musicage: John Cage in Conversation with Joan Retallack, Gertrude Stein: Selections, and with coeditor Juliana Spahr, Poetry & Pedagogy, she has published numerous volumes of poetry, including Errata 5uite, Afterrimages, How To Do Things With Words, Memnoir, and Procedural Elegies / Western Civ Cont’d (an Artforum Best Book of 2010) as well as numerous essays on modernist and contemporary poetics, new music, ecopoetics, feminist discourse, and poethical responses to socio-political crises. In 2014 Retallack curated a procedurally structured event at MoMA, “SUPPOSIUM 2014: Beyond Default Geometries of Attention.” A volume based on that event—The Supposium: Thought Experiments & Poethical Play in Difficult Times—is forthcoming from Litmus Press this spring. Retallack is John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Professor Emerita of Humanities at Bard College.
The Intra-Disciplinary Seminar (IDS) Public Lecture Series, designed as an introduction to some of the most pressing questions driving contemporary thought and practice, consists of lectures by artists, theorists, activists, designers, writers, curators, and other practitioners involved in the arts from positions that embody an interdisciplinary approach or that imply new uses for disciplinary traditions.
This year’s series is organized along three general directions: “Open Space: Building”, where we look at the social function of architecture, and how people move through space or build physical or symbolic spaces. “Open Image: Thresholds of Form”, where we think about the practice of image making, as well as the perception and interpretation of aesthetic production. “Open Methods: The (Post-)Colonial Contemporary”, where we wonder how to theorize the present moment, with regard to its political and ethical dimensions. IDS is organized by Leslie Hewitt, assistant professor at the School of Art of The Cooper Union, and Omar Berrada the director of Dar al-Ma’mûn, a library and artists’ residency in Marrakech and an adjunct instructor at The Cooper Union.Buy tickets/get more info now