“Post-Democracy Paradise-Lost” presentation by Casey Gollan and Victoria Sobel

“Post-Democracy Paradise-Lost” presentation by Casey Gollan and Victoria Sobel

Vera List Center for Art and Politics

Jeffrey Scudder, 2016. Drawing. Courtesy the artist.

August 29, 2016
“Post-Democracy Paradise-Lost” presentation by Casey Gollan and Victoria Sobel

Monday, September 8, 2016, 6:30–8pm

The New School
Wollman Hall
65 West 11th Street, 5th floor
New York City


Casey Gollan and Victoria Sobel are 2015–2017 Vera List Center Fellows whose project is part of the Vera List Center’s Post Democracy cycle of programs. Addressing what they refer to as incisive mission-creep of cultural institutions, Gollan and Sobel LARP a means of building culture that is activated, distributed, and durational. Faced with the wholesale corporate restructuring of cultural institutions, the artists entertain the inevitability of the financialization of educational and cultural systems as well as the possibilities of resituating them.

This artist talk introduces a series of public encounters which will take place at The New School over the course of Gollan and Sobel’s fellowship. A first encounter, with artist Jeffrey Scudder, will take place on October 6.
Victoria Sobel and Casey Gollan’s work grapples with incoherence, non-aspiration, and compromise in the face of entropic institutions, systems, and paradigms. During their fellowship, they will explore alternative models of student governance, transparency, and accountability, informed by their ongoing engagement around the controversial introduction of tuition at Cooper Union, their alma mater. With deep commitment to the possibility of reform and resistance from within educational institutions that are subject to increasing pressures to corporatize, they will enact new forms of collaboration and organizing that stretch the limits of institutional critique, calling for a shared space of “para-institutionality.” They are two of the many co-founders of Free Cooper Union, which coordinated direct actions and creative interventions framing the college’s tuition crisis as part of a national debate on higher education. Free Cooper Union is featured in the nationally aired documentary Ivory Tower (2014), and has been covered by the New York Times, Blouin Artinfo, Hyperallergic, artnet, ARTnews, The New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, and numerous other publications. Sobel and Gollan continue this work para-institutionally, through group engagement, across constituencies, and as individuals. They recently contributed to “Class Dismissed: A Roundtable on Art School, USC, and Cooper Union” for Artforum (2015).


About Vera List Center Fellowships
Vera List Center Fellowships support individuals whose work advances the discourse on art and politics. The appointments provide the opportunity to further develop such work drawing from the academic resources of The New School, to expand on the work in collaboration with students and classes, and to bring it to the public through the Vera List Center’s interdisciplinary programs. Fellowship projects are selected following an open call for applications and relate to the current Curatorial Focus Theme. They can result in performances, concerts, exhibitions, lectures, online artworks, archives, or publications.

From an international pool of over 130 applicants from 25 countries, Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Victoria Sobel and Casey Gollan were selected as the 2015–2017 Vera List Center Fellows by an ad hoc fellowship committee. Formulated in response to the VLC’s 2015–2017 curatorial theme Post Democracy, their proposals are notable for their artistic excellence, political focus, and ties to The New School and Vera List Center scholarship.

Past fellows include Maurice Berger, Wendy T. Ewald, Andrea Geyer, Margarita Gutman, Susan Hapgood, Sharon Hayes, Danny Hoch, Ashley Hunt, Bouchra Khalili, Lin + Lam, Jill Magid, Kobena Mercer, Lorraine O’Grady, Olu Oguibe, Silvana Paternostro, Wendy Perron, Marjetica Potrc, Leslie Prosterman, Alexander Provan, Walid Raad, Sarah Rothenberg, Edward Rothstein, Katya Sander, Robert Sember, Joshua Simon, Elisabeth Sussman, David Thorne, and Jonathan Weinberg.

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August 29, 2016

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