October 9, 2019 - Walker Art Center - Interdisciplinary Initiative, 2016–2020
October 9, 2019

Walker Art Center

[1] Maria Hassabi’s STAGING2017, photo: Walker Art Center. [2] Theaster Gates's Lumber Song, 2017, courtesy the artist. [3] Jason Moran with his installation STAGED: Slugs’ Saloon (2018), photo: Walker Art Center. [4] Laure Provost, 2017, photo: Gene Pittman. [5] Faye Driscoll, 2019, photo: Maria Baranova. [6] Resonance: A Sound Art Marathon, 2019, photo: Malanda Jean-Claude. [7] Rabih Mroué, 2019, photo: Bobby Rogers. [8] Meg Stuart, 2019, photo: Pierre Ware.

Interdisciplinary Initiative, 2016–2020

Walker Art Center
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The Walker Art Center announces the online launch of a multiyear Interdisciplinary Initiative (2016–2020), made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The initiative specifically supports the Walker’s commitment to artists working at the intersection of the performing and visual arts, both making work and presenting it across gallery, stage, and public space. Through the initiative, the Walker has explored new approaches to the documentation, conservation, and acquisition of interdisciplinary artworks; conducted research and published new scholarship; worked toward modeling new directions for curating, commissioning, developing, and presenting the work of interdisciplinary artists; and continued efforts to strengthen the interpretation of interdisciplinary works in the museum’s collections.

All work completed to date within the Interdisciplinary Initiative can now be explored through a dedicated section of the Walker’s website. The Interdisciplinary Initiative includes eight newly commissioned artworks or productions by a diverse range of artists; expanded records on key interdisciplinary works in the Walker’s collection, several of which were acquired during the initiative; the production of a series of new video interviews with participating artists; and a number of dynamic online publishing projects. These projects are part of three interrelated areas of work:

Research initiative: Designed to broaden and deepen institutional understanding and capabilities, this aspect has included exchanges with a think tank of professionals in the field and an interdisciplinary fellowship program at the Walker to train emerging curators in this hybrid practice. It has also involved deep research into interdisciplinary works in the collection. This new scholarship is presented through expanded online collections records of key works by Trisha Brown, Maria Hassabi, Meredith Monk, Jason Moran, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Robert Rauschenberg, Tino Sehgal, and Ron Vawter.

Production initiative: Over the arc of the initiative, the Walker has supported artists in the making of new interdisciplinary works, producing commissions and projects that move freely between galleries, stage, and public spaces. The initiative includes eight multipart projects by artists Faye Driscoll, Theaster Gates, Maria Hassabi, Jason Moran, Rabih Mroué, Laure Prouvost, and Meg Stuart as well as Resonance: A Sound Art Marathon, featuring Tarek Atoui, Heather Barringer, Philip Blackburn, Jules Gimbrone, Walter Kitundu, Haroon Mirza, Mankwe Ndosi, Camille Norment, Matana Roberts, Christine Sun Kim, Craig Taborn, and Preston Wright.

Advancing new practices: The Walker’s work during the initiative has involved investigating how and when to apply museum-quality standards to the growing field of presenting, commissioning, and acquiring interdisciplinary works and the artists who make them. Such works often require uniquely developed forms of production, documentation, preservation, archiving, and collecting as well as adapting methods of curatorial practice.

What is meant by the term interdisciplinary? At the Walker, it describes the institution’s mandate to follow and embrace ways that many contemporary practitioners work, which since the 1960s has often meant loosening boundaries between artistic labels—painting, film, dance, performance, music, sound—in favor of a more open and flexible view toward the art experience itself. For decades, the Walker’s world-renowned collections and commissions have featured generations of artists whose works expand the possibilities of art through the merging of disciplines.

Following this launch, the second phase of the Interdisciplinary Initiative, to be released in Spring 2020, will encompass two new volumes of the Living Collections Catalogue, online publications that surface texts from scholars and artists, audio and video content, and never-before-seen materials from the Walker’s rich archives.

The Walker Art Center’s Interdisciplinary Initiative is made possible with generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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