Jessica Cochran, curator of exhibitions and programs at the Center for Book and Paper Arts, traveled to Portland State University May 17-19 for the annual Open Engagement conference, which explores topics related to art and social practice. This international conference sets out to explore various perspectives on art and social practice and expand the dialogue around socially engaged art making. Cochran’s trip was funded through a Clinton Hill Curator’s Grant in order to research the upcoming CBPA exhibition Social Paper, which Cochran is co-curating with Melissa Potter along with curatorial and research assistance from several graduate students. The upcoming exhibition will address hand papermaking in relation to socially engaged art practice, featuring projects from the 1990s to the present.
Cochran visited talks and lectures on topics related to craft, activism, public space and institutions at many venues, including the Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland State University and the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. Speakers included Claire Bishop, Michael Rakowitz, and Harrell Fletcher.
“The myriad perspectives of the artists, educators, curators, activists and museum administrators was invaluable,” said Cochran. “At this conference I was able to asses the broader landscape of socially engaged art, so that we can hone our own curatorial narrative in relation to what’s happening in the bigger picture. What is the current dialogue in other fields of discourse (or other parts of the world), and how does it relate to our interest in paper-driven social art practices?”
Social Paper opens at CBPA on January 30, 2014.