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Carpenter Center for Visual Arts Presents Antoni Muntadas About Academia

The Carpenter Center for Visual Arts presents Antoni Muntadas About Academia, open through April 7, 2011.

About Academia is the latest project by renowned artist Antoni Muntadas. Muntadas represented Spain at the 2005 Venice Biennial and was the recipient of the Velázquez Visual Arts Prize in 2009—the most important distinction to be endowed on a visual artist by the Spanish state.

Photo: Irina Rozovsky

About Academia addresses the problematic relationship between the production of knowledge and economic power. Upon entering the gallery space, the viewer is confronted by an installation consisting of three video projections that present the most pressing questions concerning the supposed objectivity of academic knowledge by pointing out the corporatization of institutions of higher learning in the United States and the sometimes controversial positions that universities fall into when trying to physically expand amidst disenfranchised communities, as well as falling into possible contradictions with the agendas of university donors.

Curated by José Falconi, About Academia was conceived and produced at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Harvard University over a period of three years. During that time, Muntadas not only researched the history of “academia” as an institution in the Western world—tracing its historical development from its inception in ancient Greece to its scholastic rebirth in medieval times, its re-foundation during the Enlightenment, its establishment in the New World, to its present challenges—but also interviewed a dozen renowned faculty members at Harvard, MIT and other research universities across the United States. Participants include Carol Becker, Noam Chomsky, John Coatsworth, Fernando Coronil, Thomas Cummins, Bradley Epps, David Harvey, Ute Meta Bauer, Doris Sommer, Mark Wigley, and Howard Zinn, among others.
At a moment in which the place of the humanities and the arts are coming under heavy attack within the United States, Muntadas’ project is in itself a poignant reminder of the powerful way in which art can be practiced as a critical tool and how it is important that it continue to be a major component of academia, nurtured and fostered within the university. This critical examination, taken with a combination of rigorous research and a boldness of visual display within the gallery, forms a piece that is as timely as it is urgent.

After its premiere at the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts this Spring 2011, About Academia will be exhibited at the Arizona State University Museum, in Tempe, AZ, and later at the American Academy in Rome.

This exhibition is co-sponsored by the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.

Born in Barcelona, Spain in 1942, Muntadas has lived and worked in New York since 1971. His work addresses social, political and communications issues, the relationship between public and private space within social frameworks, and the investigation of channels of information and the ways in which they may be used to censor central information or promulgate ideas. He works in a variety of media including photography, video, publications, Internet and multi-media installations. His works have been exhibited throughout the world, including the Venice Biennial, Documenta Vl and X in Kassel, the Sao Paulo Biennial, the Whitney Biennial, the Lyon Biennial, the Havana Biennial, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Berkeley Art Museum in California, the Wexner Arts Center in Columbus, Ohio, le Musee d’Art Contemporain de Montreal, le Capc de Bordeaux, France, the Museu de Arte Moderna de Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the Ludwig Museum in Budapest, Hungary and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain. He studied at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Industriales in Barcelona and the Pratt Graphic Center in New York. He has taught and directed seminars at the University of California in San Diego, the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Bordeaux and Grenoble, the CAVS at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the San Francisco Art Institute, the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris, the University of São Paulo in Brazil, Cooper Union in New York and many other institutions. Muntadas has received several prizes and grants including those of the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, Arts Electronica in Linz/Austria, Laser d’Or in Locarno, Switzerland and the Premi Nacional d’Arts Plastiques de la Generalitat de Catalunya. He created works commissioned by the Centre Nacionale des Arts Plastiques in Paris, the Fonds d’Arts Publiques in Marseille, the Public Art Fund in New York, InSite 2005 in San Diego-Tijuana, and Istanbul 2010, and has been resident artist and consulting advisor in several research and education centers including the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, the Banff Center in Canada, Arteleku in San Sebastian, Spain and the University of Western Sydney in Australia.Muntadas is currently Professor of the Practice at ACT/Department of Architecture at MIT and visiting professor at the IUAV in Venice, Italy.

The Department of Visual and Environmental Studies (VES) is the curricular home of a broad range of studio arts and more theoretical studies. The department offers studio courses in areas that include painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, design, film, video, animation, and photography. VES also offers lecture courses and seminars in film history and theory, studies of the built and natural environment, design and urbanism, and contemporary arts.

VES is located in the landmark Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, the only Le Corbusier building in the United States; courses are held in the Carpenter Center, in Sever Hall, and in our studios on Linden Street.

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