Publication year:   Author:
Tom Eccles - Everything Will Be Alright

The 2015 FORART Lecture was held by Tom Eccles, who discussed his evolving practice from public spaces in New York to experimental exhibitions, artistic production and monumental installations.

Tom Eccles is the Executive Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS) at Bard College in New York, where he has been since 2005. Eccles built CSS Bard’s Hessel Museum of Art in 2006 and organised the inaugural exhibition of the Marieluise Hessel Collection (Wrestle, 2006). He has since curated a number of exhibitions at the museum with artists including Martin Creed (2007); Keith Edmier (2008); Rachel Harrison (2009); Josiah McElheny and Lynne Cook (2011); Liam Gillick (2012); Haim Steinbach (2013); and Amy Sillman with Cheney Thompson (2014). The exhibition Haim Steinbach: once again the world is flat opened at Bard in 2013 and travelled to the Serpentine Galleries, London, and Kunsthalle Zürich (both in 2014). Eccles commis- sioned the permanent installation The Parliament of Reality (2009) by Olafur Eliasson on the grounds of Bard.

From 2006 to 2010, Eccles was the curatorial advisor to Park Avenue Armory, which included work on the master plan for the artistic programme of the fair. He also curated Ernest Neto’s anthropodino at the Armory in 2009 and Christian Boltanski’s No Man’s Land in 2010, and was consulting curator for Paul McCarthy’s WS in 2013 and Philippe Parreno’s Hypnosis in 2015. He curated the sculpture park for New York Frieze Art Fair in 2012 and 2013, commissioning new works such as Paul McCarthy’s Balloon Dog. He has organised the talks programme at Frieze New York since 2014. Eccles is currently consulting curator for Governors Island in New York, where he has recently commissioned new works by Susan Philipsz, Mark Handforth and Rachel Whit- eread. Since 2006, he has worked with the LUMA Foundation and philanthropist Maja Hoffmann as a member of the “Core Group” of advisors for the development of a major cultural centre in Arles. Other group members include Liam Gillick, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno and Beatrix Ruf. Eccles is also on the board of the Keith Haring Foundation. He is a frequent contributor to ArtReview.

Eccles was Director of the Public Art Fund in New York City from 1996-2005, where he curated more than 100 exhibitions and projects with artists including Louise Bourgeois, Janet Cardiff, Mark Dion, Dan Graham, Barbara Kruger, Pierre Huyghe, Ilya Kabakov, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Nam June Paik, Pipilotti Rist, Lawrence Weiner, Rachel Whiteread, and Andrea Zittel. He has organised a number of outdoor projects at institutions in New York, including Museum of Modern Art (Tony Smith og Francis Alys), The Whitney Museum of American Art (the Whitney Biennials in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006) and The New Museum (Paul McCarthy).

Eccles graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1989 with an MA in Philosophy and Italian. He studied philosophy, aesthetics and semiotics at the University of Bologna from 1985-87. 

Watch Tom Eccles' lecture on Vimeo

Catherine Malabou on Plasticity: The Phoenix, The Spider and The Salamander

The FORART Lecture 2014 was given by Catherine Malabou, Professor at the Center for European Modern Philosophy, Kingston University (UK). Malabou discussed the concept of plasticity that has been central to her work at the intersection of philosophy and neuroscience.

Prior to the lecture, Catherine Malabou presented her topic as follows: “In this lecture, I would like to present the concept of plasticity, which has become a major category in fields such as philosophy, the arts and psychology, but also and mainly in neurobiology and cell biology, to name just a few. Starting with a general definition of this concept, I will then analyse how the concept helps us to move away from previous conceptions of the relationship between subjectivity and materiality and open new ones, which include a new vision of the mind, the body, and of meaning altogether. In order to tie all these questions together, I chose to interpret a sentence, taken from Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit: “The wounds of the Spirit heal, and leave no scars behind.” In this sentence, Hegel speaks of “recovery,” of healing, of the return, of the reconstitution of the skin after a wound, that is, of plasticity. I would like to suggest that three readings of this sentence are possible: a dialectical reading, a deconstructive reading, and a third reading that I will call post-deconstructive. This will help me to stage three moments of the history of philosophy: Hegelianism, deconstruction and post-deconstruction. These three readings come from three ways of understanding recovery, healing, reconstitution, return, or regeneration. I will present these three readings via three paradigms of recovery: the paradigm of the phoenix, the paradigm of the spider, and the paradigm of the salamander. Each time, I will see how the central meanings of plasticity (forming, explosion, healing) are always and intimately linked together.

Catherine Malabou, Professor at the Center for European Modern Philosophy at Kingston University, graduated from the École Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines (Fontenay-Saint-Cloud). She received her agrégation and doctorate from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, where she worked under the supervision of Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion. Her doctoral thesis became the book The Future of Hegel, Plasticity, Temporality, Dilaectic (Routledge, 2005). Central to Malabou’s philosophy is the concept of “plasticity,” which she derives in part from the work of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and from medical science, for example, from work on stem cells and from the concept of neuroplasticity. In 1999, Malabou published Counterpath, co-authored with Jacques Derrida (Stanford UP, 2004). Her book The New Wounded (Fordham UP, 2012) concerns the intersection between neuroscience, psychoanalysis and philosophy, thought through the phenomenon of trauma. An increasing commitment to political philosophy has coincided with Malabou’s exploration of neuroscience, which is first evident in her book What Should We Do With Our Brain? (Fordham UP, 2008) and continues in the book Changing Difference, The Feminine and the Question of Philosophy (Polity books 2012). 

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