Hello, Columbus

By Schwabsky, Barry | Artforum International, November 2000 | Go to article overview

Hello, Columbus


Schwabsky, Barry, Artforum International


"The role of this institution is not to be a collector but rather a producer of culture," explains Carlos Basualdo of the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University in Columbus. He has just been appointed chief curator of exhibitions, replacing Sarah J. Rogers, who had been with the Wexner since its opening (in a building designed by Peter Eisenman and Richard Trott) in 1989 and its director of exhibitions since 1993. Rogers's departure followed that of curator Donna De Salvo for a job at London's Tate Modern. Paraphrasing the legendary early-twentieth-century curator Alexander Dorner, the thirty-six-year-old Basualdo says, "It should be a place that produces energy, that produces the public sphere (at a time when that is so threatened), a kind of powerhouse."

Although Basualdo has amassed considerable curatorial experience over the past few years--for instance, organizing major exhibitions of artists such as Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Helio Oiticica and thematic shows like the recent "Worthless (Invaluable)" at the Moderna Galerija in Ljubljana as well as serving on Okwui Enwezor's six-person team for the next Documenta, in 2002--this is the first time he's taken a staff position. But his intentions sound well adapted to the Wexner's focus on performing arts and media as well as on exhibitions--not to mention its ambition to be, in director Sherri Geldin's phrase, "a creative laboratory" supporting the production of new work by artists as diverse as sculptor/architect Maya Lin, filmmaker Chris Marker, and photographer/video artist Lorna Simpson. …

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