Artists of Hawai‘i Juror's Lecture: Michael Rooks

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    Michael Rooks in Venice, where he was Commissioner of the U.S. Pavil…


Artists of Hawai‘i Juror's Lecture: Michael Rooks


Sunday Jun 26 01:00 PM


Doris Duke Theatre

About the Lecture:


Artists of Hawai‘i 2011 juror Michael Rooks shares his views on the shifting nature of virtuosity in art from the 19th century to today.

Throughout the history of art, artists have created "demonstration pieces" to win the favor of judges and critics in prestigious art contests such as the French Salons of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. Similarly, contemporary artists produce ambitious and groundbreaking new work in the hope of being included in high-profile exhibitions such as Greater New York, The Whitney Biennial, and other platforms that can launch their careers. Such work necessarily engages the concept of virtù, or excellence, implying hierarchies of achievements, principles, and values—all of which are contested in today's critical parlance. To privilege a single work of art on the basis of an artist’s virtuosity is indeed downright transgressive in contemporary practice, for the ambition, vision, and skill it reflects often go unrecognized in favor its articulation of the artist’s expertise in critical theory.

The event is free.

As the Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the High Museum in Atlanta, Michael Rooks is responsible for collections and exhibitions of post-1945 art. In August 2010, he served as Commissioner of the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, and co-curated, with Jonathan Solomon of 306090 Books, the U.S. entry Workshopping: An American Model of Architectural Practice.

As Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions and Artist Relations at Haunch of Venison in New York, from 2008 to 2009, Rooks helped to launch the NYC flagship gallery at Rockefeller Center and managed its inaugural exhibition Abstract Expressionism: A World Elsewhere.He organized two subsequent exhibitions at HOV before returning to his career as a museum curator.

Rooks was Curator of European and American Art at the Honolulu Academy of Arts from 2007 to 2008. While at the Academy he developed and implemented an exhibitions program with local and national reach, which included Hawaiian Modern: The Architecture of Vladimir Ossipoff and One Way or Another: Asian American Art Now.

Rooks came to Hawai'i in November 2003 as Curator at The Contemporary Museum, where he helped create a contemporary program with international scope and reach through innovative programming, educational initiatives, public programs and local partnerships. He curated Shaka Nara, an exhibition that gave six local artists the opportunity to work and exhibit work with internationally known artist Yoshitomo Nara. Shaka Nara ran concurrently with the traveling exhibition Yoshitomo Nara: Nothing Ever Happens. Rooks also brought artists Paul Morrison and Michael Lin to Hawaii whose installations are still on view at the museum.

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