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Suzanne McClelland and Thierry De Duve In Conversation: "When Is Art Political?"

  • Skowhegan NY Program Space 136 West 22nd Street New York, NY, 10011 United States (map)

Skowhegan and Team (Gallery, Inc.) are pleased to announce a conversation and book signing with Suzanne McClelland and Thierry De Duve to celebrate the release of Suzanne McClelland: 36 x 24 x 36, at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture New York program space. 

Suzanne McClelland: 36 x 24 x 36 assembles four distinct bodies of the artist’s work, made between 2013 and 2015. Featuring thirty-five paintings on canvas and a collection of works on paper, the monograph explores the development of McClelland’s practice in relation to her use of politically charged subject matter, language, statistics, and her own research process. Thierry De Duve contributes an extended meditation on McClelland’s production, paying particular attention to her 2015 exhibition at Team Gallery, “Call With Information.” Through a careful analysis of her installation, De Duve lays the groundwork to pose questions about the efficacy of political art, asking the difficult question of his essay’s title: “When is art political?” In conversation together at Skowhegan, McClelland and De Duve will pick up this question in order to reflect upon the power of images in our contemporary moment.


Since the mid-1980s, Suzanne McClelland (F ’99) has exhibited her work extensively in the United States and abroad. Her practice includes both large-scale paintings and works on paper, often extracting fragments of speech or text from various political and cultural sources and exploring the symbolic and material possibilities that reside within language. Her work has been the subject of solo presentations at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Orlando Museum of Art in Florida, and will be the subject of an exhibition at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary art in 2017. Her paintings are held in numerous public collections, among them the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum in New York City; the Yale University Art Gallery, the Albertina Museum in Vienna, the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. McClelland has twice participated in the Whitney Biennial, in 1993 and 2014, and was recently included in The New Museum’s exhibition NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star, curated by Massimiliano Gioni. She has taught in the Masters of Fine Arts program at the School of Visual Arts, the Department of Visual Arts at Columbia University, and has sat on the Board of Governors at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture since 2000. In 2016, McClelland completed the Lab Grant Residency at Dieu Donné in New York, and is currently an artist in residence at Urban Glass, Brooklyn.

Thierry de Duve is an internationally recognized historian, critic, and theorist of art who focuses on the questions modern art poses to philosophical aesthetics. His English-language publications include Pictorial NominalismKant after DuchampClement Greenberg Between the LinesLook – 100 Years of Contemporary art, and Sewn In the Sweatshops of Marx: Beuys, Warhol, Klein, Duchamp. His books have been translated into a dozen languages in addition to English, most recently Russian and Chinese. His most recent publications in French are two volumes of collected essays: Essais dates 1976-2010, Vol. IDuchampiana and Vol. II, 1983-2006, Adresses. Forthcoming in English are a book tentatively titled Duchamp’s Telegram, based on a series of six essays published in 2012-13 in Artforum, and a book on aesthetics that takes the hypothesis of Kant after Duchamp beyond issues of taste into ethics and politics. Prior to joining the faculty of Hunter College, Professor de Duve taught from 2003-12 at the University of Lille 3, in France. He was Kirk Varnedoe Visiting Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University in 2013, and in 2015, both the Daniel J. Evans Visiting Professor at Evergreen State College in Washington and Theorist in Residence in the MA program in Aesthetics and Politics at the California Institute of the Arts.