Conversation with Stephanie Smith + Gavin Kroeber

On Friday 12/1 at 5:30pm, The Luminary will host a public conversation with Stephanie Smith, Chief Curator of the new Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Gavin Kroeber, a St. Louis-based independent curator, artist, writer and Artistic Director of the art initiative New Cities, Future Ruins.

The casual conversation will address the dynamics of situating curatorial and institutional practices in place, as well as the opportunities and challenges of building art platforms tailored to civic context. They will consider some initial questions and challenges that have arisen as they work to establish programs in Richmond and St. Louis, with the intent to open the dialogue productively among those in the room about institution building, place-based practice, and curating within acute civic contexts.

The event will conclude with the opening of new artist-owned exhibition space Monaco next door at 7pm and an art publication pop-up in The Luminary.

About the speakers

Stephanie Smith is a curator, writer, and arts leader committed to critical, collaborative, and experimental forms of museum practice and audience engagement. Her research interests focus on socially-engaged contemporary art, including the intersection of social practice and 21st-century cultural institutions.

Prior to joining the ICA, Smith was Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto, one of the largest art museums in North America. Smith also has extensive experience working with university art museums. Before the AGO, she worked at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art for fifteen years in several roles, including serving as Deputy Director and Chief Curator. She was also a curator at the Rice University Art Gallery in Houston. She began her career as curatorial assistant at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston.

Gavin Kroeber is an artist, curator, and writer. His projects and writings, which poach from visual art, urban theory, and performance, are concerned broadly with cultural dynamics of power and in particular with their expression in the poetics of place. His current work is focused on the extreme urbanism of America's Western Sun Belt and redirective approaches to landscape. Projects in development include the performance-lecture Verdant Cities: A Warning and two public programs in St. Louis: the Fall 2017 social series At the Edge of Everything Else and a Spring 2018 event, The Autumnal City: A Midwestern Festival of Urbanism and Futurism. He is half of the curatorial collaborative Experience Economies (with Rebecca Uchill) and holds a Master of Design Studies in Art, Design, and the Public Domain from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Image drawn from Kroeber's New Cities, Future Ruins project.