Open Engagement, the annual art conference that provides space and time for artists and arts workers to meaningfully engage with, discuss, and problem-solve for major current issues, turns 10 this year. For the occasion, following a 2017 edition in Chicago, it is returning to the Queens Museum for a conference that the organizers note will be “the last in its current form.” They’re going out strong, including marquee presentations by art historian Lucy Lippard and conceptual artist Mel Chin on Saturday and Sunday mornings, respectively. The theme for 2018, appropriately, is “Sustainability,” signaling not only concern for the many relevant issues affecting people around the world, but also for the sustainability of Open Engagement itself.
“What happens to our labors of love when love is no longer enough?,” Crystal Baxley, Jen Delos Reyes, and Latham Zearfoss ask in their curatorial statement. “As a team of five un/derpaid employees, we have worked to create spaces that are fluid, feminist, queer, accessible, restorative, and anti-racist — spaces that are accountable for their aims while also championing radical, visionary, difficult, revolutionary, necessary work.”
In addition to off-site events across the city — including a conversation between former Queens Museum director Laura Raicovich and artist Paul Ramirez Jonas at the Bronx Museum on Friday night — the bulk of the conference’s programming will take place at the Queens Museum on Saturday and Sunday with workshops and talks. Topics and projects addressed will include the treatment of black bodies in public space, the connections between prison sites and resource extraction, a mentoring program for immigrant artists, decolonizing cultural institutions, and much, much more.
When: Friday, May 11–Sunday, May 13 (sliding pay scale starts at $75)
Where: Queens Museum (Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens) and other sites around the city
More info at Open Engagement.