In Progress: Speech and Museums

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People seated in a theater watching a lone speaker on stage.
View of audience during MCA Live: Wu Tsang + boychild, Moved by the Motion, Aug 5, 2014. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

About

… & Museums is a set of convenings that provides a space to explore the roles and responsibilities of artists and museums in light of the current political and social climate. What are the cultural opportunities for things such as unbiased debate, access, inclusion, freedom of expression, and social change as the world around us continues to shift? How might museums adapt their practices and address greater public dialogue in everything from their collection policies to their programming ambitions?

Speech & Museums invites curators and artists to unpack the role of the museum as a conduit for artists' voices as well as an arbiter and narrator of art history. Participating in this iteration are Tempestt Hazel, curator & founding editor of Sixty Inches From Center; Lorelei Stewart, director of Gallery 400 at University of Illinois Chicago; and J. Gibran Villalobos, partnerships and public programs liason at the MCA and faculty lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Arts Administration & Policy.

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About the Speakers

Tempestt Hazel is a curator, writer, artist advocate, and founder of Sixty Inches From Center, a Chicago-based online arts publication and archiving initiative. She is also the arts program officer at the Field Foundation. Over the years she has worked in arts administration, curatorships, and multidisciplinary programming at Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Chicago Artists Coalition, Chicago Park District, and Arts + Public Life at the University of Chicago. Her exhibitions and research have been produced with the University of North Texas, South Side Community Art Center, Terrain Exhibitions, Contemporary Arts Council, Black Metropolis Research Consortium, and University of Chicago, with upcoming exhibitions at the DuSable Museum of African American History and the Smart Museum of Art. Her writing has been published by Hyde Park Art Center and the Broad Museum (Lansing), in Support Networks: Chicago Social Practice History Series, Contact Sheet: Light Work Annual, Unfurling: Explorations In Art, Activism and Archiving, on Artslant, as well as various monographs of artists, including several artist books by Candor Arts.

Lorelei Stewart has organized over 40 exhibitions, including the Joyce Award–winning exhibition Edgar Arceneaux: The Alchemy of Comedy … Stupid (2006). In 2002 she initiated the acclaimed At the Edge: Innovative Art in Chicago series, a commissioning program that encouraged Chicago area artists' experimental practices. Stewart currently serves as Interim Director of the Master of Arts in Museum and Exhibition Studies program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She holds an MA in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, a BA from Smith College, and a BFA from Corcoran College of Art and Design.

J. Gibran Villalobos is an administrator, curator, and art historian. In 2016 he was elected to attend the Advocacy Leadership Institute where he was invited to the White House Office of Public Engagement, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to speak to key issues affecting Latinos in Chicago. He served as the 2017 resident curator at the Chicago Cultural Center where he launched an inaugural summit of Latino artists and administrators across the United States. For this project, he received the Act Up Awards from the Chicago Community Trust, and a Propeller Grant. He has held the posts of Cultural Liaison for the Chicago Park District in the department of Culture, Arts, and Nature, and Public Programs and Partnerships Manager for the Chicago Architecture Biennial. He currently serves on the Auxiliary Board for the National Museum of Mexican Art and on the executive board of The Association of American Culture (TAAC). He is faculty lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Arts Administration & Policy and currently works the Partnerships and Engagement Liaison for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.