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Michelle Kuo: The Critic as Outsider

Thursday, October 25, 2012, 6:30–8:00 p.m.

The New School, Tishman Auditorium

66 West 12th Street

20 Years VLC => Free Admission

Critics today are taken to be the consummate insiders: complicit, compromised, knowing. But is this the whole story? 

Michelle Kuo, Editor in Chief of Artforum International, looks at the ways in which the critic is still very much an outsider, not least to the unwieldy objects and subjects of her address. Drawing on her experience at one of the foremost publications on contemporary art, Kuo poses new ways of grasping judgment, style, and matter—the relation between how things look and what they do, between what we see and what we decide.

Michelle Kuo has been editor-in-chief of Artforum International since 2008, for which she has organized issues around topics such as art and new media, collaboration, and the legacy of Ab Ex. Kuo is a doctoral candidate at Harvard University in the History of Art and Architecture, writing a dissertation titled: “To Avoid the Waste of a Cultural Revolution”: Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), 1966-1979. Her research focuses on the relationship between art, technology, and the postwar think tank—as specifically realized in the organization E.A.T., founded by Robert Rauschenberg, Billy Klüver, Robert Whitman, and Fred Waldhauer—in order to facilitate collaborations between artists and engineers. In addition to Artforum, she has contributed articles and reviews to BookforumOctober, and The Art Bulletin, and has contributed to many publications and exhibition catalogues for institutions such as the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; and the Hayward Gallery, London. From 2005 to 2007, Kuo was the Wyeth Predoctoral Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.