Sam Lewitt Lecture
The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami welcomes New York-based artist and writer Sam Lewitt to the Art + Research Center.
From the artist: “The historical project of site specificity, developing throughout the 60s and 70s and for several generations after, can fairly be characterized as an irrevocable bid to abnegate the ideological illusion of autonomy from art’s social, economic, political, geographic formation. However, this path toward locating the real conditions of production and distribution seems to have become the fully accommodated project of institutional practice and commissioning, municipal agendas, positioning the artist as a global content production machine. What ironically seems to have resulted from the fall-out of site specificity is a universal artistic position. What manifests is particularly sited research on – sometimes genuinely – revealing or pressing data about a site, to be fed back into that site before artists ship themselves to the next location to do the same. The conditions of circulation seem to have superseded those of the specificity of any site whatever. This raises questions about how artists and artworks critically locate themselves in an increasingly distributed and abstract culture of control. This talk will deal with how formal structures ubiquitous to the formal analysis of artistic production, such as the grid and the gradient, are efficiently deployed as epistemic handles on historically specific processes of social control, from logistical technologies and labor management, to concepts that guide scientific research into contemporary thermodynamics, cybernetic governmentality and machinic enslavement.”
Sam Lewitt is an artist based in New York. Selected solo exhibitions include: Swiss Institute, New York (2016), Kunsthalle Basel (2016) and The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco (2015). With Richard Birkett, he co-organized the exhibition and Materials and Money and Crisis at MUMOK, Vienna (2013). His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including the 57th Venice Biennale (2017), A Slow Succession with Many Interruptions, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (2016), Nature after Nature at Fridericianum, Kassel (2014), and the Whitney Biennial (2012). His writing has appeared in publications such as Artforum, Collapse, CURA, Kunstforum International, October and Texte zur Kunst.