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IKT Congress 2022
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IKT Congress 2022
15 - 18 September 2022
IKT, the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art, holds its 2022 annual gathering in the U.S. city of Louisville, Kentucky. One of the first cities to be established west of the Appalachian Mountains, the river city of Louisville has become popularly known as the birthplace of Muhammad Ali and the home of the Kentucky Derby. Like most American cities, however, Louisville has historically struggled with issues of systemic racism and poverty, and the murder of Breonna Taylor in 2020, and the ensuing public protests, have brought the city to international attention. It is a context that has called the region to draw upon its established creative traditions to craft a critical and imaginative response to issues of race, difference, and diversity.
Exploring this vital and active visual arts region, the congress will also visit the neighboring cities of Lexington, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio. The program will include visits to important museums and exhibition spaces in each city, as well as visits to artists’ studios, art school facilities and two significant private contemporary art collections. The main public event of the Congress is the symposium “Global Appalachia,” which will bring together a diverse range of artists, writers, and curators to consider ideas and concerns of place and home in a regional and global context.
IKT Congress 2022 is being hosted by KMAC Museum of Louisville and is supported by Great Meadows Foundation.
Symposium: Global Appalachia
Saturday, September 17, 2022, 2.00pm - 5.30pm | Speed Art Museum, 2035 S 3rd St, Louisville, KY
Global Appalachia is a term that refers to a real, increasingly “global” geographical and cultural region in the United States, and to the realities of recalcitrant geographies—geographies that have persisted across political regimes and therefore might model a kind of resistance (even if they are also always threatening regression).
Although often represented in a monolithic and disparaging way, Appalachia is a dynamic and diverse region defined by mountain peaks and river valleys, barriers and flows, range and depth. As the “backbone” of the United States, Appalachia stretches from northern New York state to Georgia, fueling the nation with resources and labor. Appalachia is also called the “black bone” of the nation, to stress the integral contributions of African Americans to a region often mischaracterized as white.
But more than a geographic space, Appalachia is a cultural space. As Affrilachian poet Nikky Finney writes, in order to understand Appalachia, we must account for its “human geography” because “any portrait of land worth its salt must also include a landscape of its people worth its weight in blood, sweat, and tears.” This includes people of color and white people, indigenous peoples and immigrants, northerners and southerners, rural and urban dwellers, traditionalists, and radicals—all of whom belong to a region that has been framed from the outside as backward, lacking, degenerate, separate, and “other,” despite the nation’s economic dependency upon it.
Over the decades, Appalachia has been systematically mined and marginalized, yet one can readily find parallels to other “hinterland” spaces all over the globe. Mineral and coal mining have polluted the environment not only in Appalachia but also in regions from Siberian Russia to the Amazon rainforests of Colombia and Brazil. The opioid epidemic that has ravaged our region has also decimated vulnerable populations in areas from Eastern Europe to Southern Africa. Meanwhile, the CEOs and shareholders of mining and pharmaceutical corporations whitewash their wealth through philanthropic causes which, in the case of the arts, enriches them further through the enhancement of private collections.
Since the 1980s, curators have used various metaphors for globalism to organize exhibitions: from an old model of “east and west,” to a map of transglobal “trade winds,” to a dispersed network of “platforms,” to an affirmative “archipelago” of the new world order. The IKT 2022 symposium proposes “Global Appalachia” as a term that both extends and intervenes in this ongoing conversation. “Global Appalachia” does not function only as a metaphor, it’s also a method rooted in the specificity of place. Focusing on environmental degradation, racial injustice, and toxic philanthropy, the symposium will explore how regional artists, activists, and curators confront these intersecting issues. Through the lens of this region, the symposium will think critically about problems and solutions that echo around the globe, aiming to foster a dynamic conversation that challenges stereotypes and outdated intellectual modes, and proposing new models for thinking about how art, curating, and activism of this region matter greatly to a global context.
The symposium is co-organized by Miriam Kienle, Jessica Bennett Kincaid, Sarah Lindgren, Toya Northington, Chris Reitz, Julien Robson, Jennifer Sichel, and Joey Yates.
IKT Post Congress 2022
19 - 21 September 2022
Traveling to Eastern Kentucky for two nights, the program of the IKT Post Congress 2022 will include visits to artist studios, institutions such as the Kentucky Artisan Center, Appalachian school of Luthiery, and Appalshop, a 50-year-old multimedia studio. Appalachia is a vast area that stretches from southern New York to north Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. It encompasses 420 counties across 13 states, spans 205,000 square miles, and is home to some 25 million people. Appalachian Kentucky is a microcosm of the region as a whole and is emblematic of a relationship the region has had with the rest of the United States, similar geographically to many places elsewhere in the world.
Appalachian culture is a way of life that dates back to the 1700s, when Europeans began immigrating to America in greater numbers. The culture is diverse and multicultural as people came from all over to settle in the mountains and work the mines. You will hear what artists and curators have to say about life in the mountains in these times, meet local personalities, see and experience visually compelling work, and enjoy the beautiful serenity of the 9th oldest mountain range in the world.
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