Andrea Andersson, Founding Director and Chief Curator of Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought, conducted a free, public conversation on September 17, 2020, virtually hosted by Atlanta Contemporary. Accompanying Andersson for the conversation were Kara Tucina Olidge, Ph.D. is a scholar, arts and educational administrator and the Executive Director of the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University and Cameron Shaw, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the California African American Museum (CAAM) in Los Angeles. In addition to this event and as part of Art & Dialogue, Andrea conducted virtual studio visits with eight Atlanta Artadia Awardees over the course of one week.
Andrea Andersson serves as Founding Director and Chief Curator of Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought. Previously she worked as The Helis Foundation Chief Curator of Visual Arts at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans where over the past five years she organized and toured exhibition including Adam Pendleton: Becoming Imperceptible, Rashaad Newsome: Mélange, Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen, Jockum Nordström: Why is Everything A Rag, Sarah Morris: Sawdust & Tinsel, Keith Calhoun & Chandra McCormick: Labor Studies, Zarouhie Abdalian: Production, Hinge Pictures: Eight Women Artists Occupy the Third Dimension, Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires, Meg Turner: Here & Now, and welcomed touring exhibitions from Jacqueline Humphries, Akosua Adoma Owusu, and Senga Nengudi. Together with Siglio Press, she edited artists books with Adam Pendleton and Cecilia Vicuña, as well as the group artists book Hinge Pictures. In 2018, she edited the critical anthology, Postscript: Writing After Conceptual Art. Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch, co-edited with Antonio Sergio Bessa, is forthcoming from Yale University Press. She has taught at Barnard College and New York University. She is an alumna of Stanford University (B.A.) and Columbia University (M.A., M. Phil., Ph.D).
Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought is located in New Orleans, Rivers Institute recognizes art as forms of thought, shaped by geographic, social, political, environmental and economic histories. We commit to research at the confluence of diverse bodies of knowledge. We support artists in the construction of alternative futures–literal course shifts in art, landscape, & society—and share transdisciplinary seasons of inquiry on-line, in communities, and in our galleries. Critically positioned at the Mississippi River Delta, at the southern tip of the American South and the upper limit of the Global South, we believe the challenges of the 21st century are not hard to see from here. And yet, Rivers Institute is not defined by any single place, but rather by a set of conditions. Our perspective, informed by both long rootedness and displacement, confers us with a reverence for otherness and curiosity about what we do not know. Rivers carry ideas, goods, and people from here to there, and from there to here. Rivers Institute recognizes exchange and estrangement as tools for radical discovery and empathy. We learn from artists who share in this conviction and provide a context and support for their research and practices. This organization is born both of belief in and experimentation about the potential for an institution, operating outside of financial and historical art centers, to shape art and social histories and futures through rigorous scholarship and equitable, sustainable models of production. In an historically under-resourced cultural economy, we value artists, cultural workers, and the broader networks that support and service art practices. We place value in the ideas that materialize in the margins of books and societies.
Kara Tucina Olidge, Ph.D. is a scholar, arts and educational administrator and the Executive Director of the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University. She is the former Deputy Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a branch of the New York Public Library based in Harlem. Prior to joining the Schomburg in 2012, Olidge was the Director of the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a nonprofit organization serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in Newark, New Jersey. Her scholarly work focuses on the intersection of art, critical cosmopolitanism and community activism.
Cameron Shaw is the Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the California African American Museum (CAAM) in Los Angeles, where she guides the curatorial and education departments, as well as marketing and communications. Shaw was previously the co-founder and executive director of New Orleans-based Pelican Bomb, a non-profit contemporary art organization that presented a forum for exhibitions, public programs, and arts journalism. She has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2008. Her writing frequently focuses on the history of Black art and image practices since 1960, and has been widely published, including in The New York Times, Art in America, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and BOMB Magazine, as well as in numerous books and exhibition catalogues. She was awarded a Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for Short-Form Writing in 2009 and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation | Art in America Writing Fellowship in 2015.