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Coffee Gatherings


Institution as Material|Recording and Resources

On Wednesday, August 14 at 2:00 PM (EST) our Coffee Gathering featured Nicola Lees, Director and Curator of 80WSE, a non-profit exhibition space for contemporary art located in Washington Square, New York, under the pedagogical wing of its parent organization, the Steinhardt School at New York University.

Nicola discussed the role artists have played as self-organizers, as either curators or presenters of their own art and art by others. She will also discuss the ways artists have unlearned, dis-invented, and deliberately misunderstood how works of art are circulated and displayed within institutional practice.

80WSE supports flexible, long-term engagements with artists, with a programmatic focus on intergenerational exchange, feminist, indigenous, and minoritarian perspectives, and artists whose complex practices have stood outside dominant narratives around contemporary art. Recent exhibitions include, Duane Linklater, Lyle Ashton Harris, Lutz Bacher, Dora Budor, Louise Lawler, Peter Gidal, Patricia L. Boyd and the group exhibitions ‘Dream of Solentiname’.

From 2012-2015 Nicola Lees was the Curator for Frieze Projects; leading the annual not-for-profit program featuring artist commissions, film, and music at Frieze London. In 2015, Lees was also curator of the 31st Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana. Lees was previously Senior Curator at the Serpentine Gallery (London), where she oversaw interdisciplinary, time-based and performance projects and artist commissions as well as Park Nights, initiating the Serpentine Cinema series, and the Serpentine Gallery Marathon (co-curated with Hans Ulrich Obrist) from 2008-2012. Lees has also curated exhibitions at Malmö Konsthall in 2015 as well as Left Pop Bringing it Home at the Second Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art in 2007. At the Irish Museum of Modern Art she worked on key solo exhibitions by Alex Katz, Miroslaw Balka, Georgia O’Keefe, Nalini Malani and a group exhibition curated with Philippe Parreno. Nicola Lees (b. London) lives and works in New York.