João Ribas: Just what is it that makes the contemporary so different, so appealing?

November 1, 2012 / 7:00pm


Nesnadny + Schwartz Visiting Curator Talk

Among the most compelling curators working today, João Ribas re-introduces this popular MOCA series with a philosophical and practical discussion of “contemporary art.” 

The only thing self-evident about contemporary art is that nothing concerning the contemporary is self-evident anymore. Just what is contemporary about contemporary art? Is it a period, a style, a mood, a genre? Has all art always been contemporary? Or is there something that makes today's contemporary so different, so appealing? As a relationship to the present, the "contemporary” may yet come to reveal, in the end, its untimeliness. João Ribas, Curator of the List Visual Arts Center at MIT discusses art and the museum's relationship to history and contemporaneity.
João Ribas is Curator at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was previously Curator at The Drawing Center, New York.  He is the winner of four consecutive AICA Exhibition Awards (2008-2011) and of an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award (2010).  His recent curated exhibitions include In the Holocene, an exhibition on art as speculative science (MIT List Visual Arts Center, 2012); Stan VanDerBeek: The Culture Intercom  (Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, 2011); and Manon de Boer (Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, 2011). A widely published critic, he is a frequent contributor to various publications, as well as to catalogs and monographs, including Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present (Forthcoming, Wiley Blackwell, 2013); Cheyney Thompson (Walter Koenig, 2012), and (Untitled) 12th Istanbul Biennial (Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, 2011). He is the editor of several publications, including Otto Piene: Lichtballet, and Frances Stark: This could become a gimick [sic]..., a collection of the artist’s writings. He is a frequent visiting lecturer for institutions and organizations and was previously adjunct faculty at the School of Visual Arts, New York, and at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

Initiated in Fall 2003, and continuing at our new building, the Nesnadny + Schwartz Visiting Curator Program brings distinguished curators to Cleveland to conduct one-on-one studio visits with local artists as well as deliver a public lecture. The program provides artists with professional exposure and critical feedback from accomplished art world professionals. See the NSVC webpage for more information about applying to the program.