Fun Problems with Smart People: A Book Opening

To celebrate the occasion of TOTAL PROOF: The GALA Committee 1995-97 and the newly published twenty-year survey of Grand Arts – one of the commissioning institutions that supported GALA’s In the Name of the Place – join transcendental tour guide Speed Levitch for a dynamic cruise through creative practice, as artists, writers, and thinkers from the Grand Arts constellation take the stage to puzzle out heady questions of risk, magic, pleasure, ghosts, and what comes after art. With musings by Mel Chin and Michael Jones McKean, artist interviews by Maria Buszek, and guest appearances by Rosemarie Fiore, Filip Noterdaeme, Stephen Lichty and many others featured in Problems and Provocations: Grand Arts 1995-2015. Presented by Fathomers and Red Bull Arts New York.

October 17, 20167-9pm
Doors at 6:30pm
Free and open to the public


About Grand Arts and Fathomers:

Grand Arts, a contemporary art project space in Kansas City, MO, quietly but radically tested the limits of institutional and artistic support for nearly two decades. In helping more than 120 national and international artists realize projects considered too difficult, provocative, or complex to attract funding and support otherwise, the gallery achieved insider fame and deep-seated respect as a bastion of generosity and risk. Now, as its final endeavor, Grand Arts gamely interrogates its values, methods, outcomes and legacies in Problems and Provocations: Grand Arts 1995–2015—an indispensable source book on creativity, collaboration and what it takes to realize a major work of contemporary art.

The volume documents 30 key projects from Grand Arts’ previously unexcavated history, by artists such as Alice Aycock, Patricia Cronin, Ellie Ga, Alfredo Jaar, Isaac Julien, Annie Lapin, Laurel Nakadate, Filip Noterdaeme, William Pope L., Tim Rollins & K.O.S., Emily Roysdon, Tavares Strachan and the Propeller Group. Recent annotations and previously untold stories by artists and collaborators complement an archival deepdive of photographs, artist proposals, sketches, notes, internal documents and items of private correspondence. Essays by Pablo Helguera, Iain Kerr, Gean Moreno, Emily Roysdon and Rob Walker explore the models, practices ethics, and futures of art institutions, and a critical study conducted by the research studio RHEI identifies and describes Grand Arts’ distinctive model of support.

Part retrospective, part how-to guide, Problems and Provocations actively leverages Grand Arts’ past to engage problems of theoretical and practical interest to cultural producers moving forward— and serves as essential reading for today’s artists, students, curators and all those interested in tales of unpredictable ventures in the world of contemporary art.

John Salvest, IOU/USA, 2011. (photo: E.G. Schempf)