Laura Raicovich and Michael Hall on “Culture Strike”

Book Talk: Laura Raicovich
April 7, 6–7 pm, EST
Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery

The Art Students League is proud to present a book talk with writer and curator Laura Raicovich, followed by a conversation with Raicovich and The League’s Artistic Executive Director, Michael Hall. The evening will focus on Laura’s incendiary 2021 publication, Culture Strike: Art and Museums in an Age of Protest, which investigates how cultural institutions have come under fire in recent years as concerned members of the arts community have mobilized in critique of sources of museum funding. Protests have affected and targeted institutions all over the world from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Abu Dhabi Guggenheim, and the Akron Art Museum. Laura will read excerpts from Culture Strike in the Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery of The League, where copies will also be available to purchase. Raicovich and Hall will then engage in a conversation about the book’s themes both as they relate to The League and to the broader art world beyond our walls. This live talk will be Laura’s first in-person event in New York City since the book’s release in the summer of 2021.

As former Director of the Queens Museum, Laura helped turn a New York municipal institution into an arts-driven and community-based commons, organizing high-powered exhibitions that also served as political protests. In January 2018, Laura resigned after a dispute with the Queens Museum board and city officials. This public controversy followed the museum’s responses to Donald Trump’s election, including her objections to the Israeli government using the museum for an event featuring Vice President Mike Pence. In her accessible prose, Laura examines key moments in the museum’s recent history and provides historical context for the current controversies. She explains how art museums were founded as colonial institutions marked by an ideology of neutrality that masks their role in upholding conservative, capitalist values, and makes suggestions for ways museums might be reinvented to serve the public better.

Laura Raicovich is a New York-based writer and curator whose book, Culture Strike: Art and Museums in an Age of Protest, was published in June 2021 by Verso Books. She recently served as Interim Director of the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art, was a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at the Bellagio Center, and was awarded the inaugural Emily H. Tremaine Journalism Fellowship for Curators at Hyperallergic. While Director of the Queens Museum from 2015 to 2018, Raicovich co-curated Mel Chin: All Over the Place (2018), a multi-borough survey of the artist’s work. She lectures internationally and in 2019-20 co-curated a seminar series titled Freedom of Speech: A Curriculum for Studies into Darkness at the New School’s Vera List Center for Art and Politics, from which she is co-editing an anthology of writings on the subject. She also is the author of At the Lightning Field (CHP 2017) and co-editor of Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production (OR 2017).


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