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In the Present Moment: Buddhism, Contemporary Art and Social Practice

In the Present Moment: Buddhism, Contemporary Art and Social Practice is a major multi-phase research and exhibition project led by AGGV Curator Haema Sivanesan. The project takes a chronological and thematic approach towards examining the impact of Buddhism on art in North America from the post-war period (c1950) to the present. The project — which encompasses artist residencies, an international research convening, publications, and ultimately an exhibition — considers how Buddhism has contributed to the development of new ideas in contemporary art. It examines how Buddhism proposes new meaning and social purpose for art and artists. In turn, the project considers how artists have contributed to the development of “modern Buddhism”, referring to those forms of Buddhism that have adapted to contexts of modernization and globalism, tracing a history of trans-national and cross-cultural encounter.

The project centres on artists who have drawn on Buddhism as a “methodology” of contemporary art practice. International artists who are significant to this history include, Mark Tobey, John Cage, Yoko Ono, Robert Filliou, Allan Kaprow, Pauline Oliveros, Marina Abramovic among numerous others. Canadian artists who are significant to this history include Nobuo Kubota, Jack Wise, Kalsang Dawa, Tomoyo Ihaya, Dylan Thomas, Chrysanne Stathacos.

This project contributes to a growing body of curatorial and scholarly projects concerned with understanding the impact of Buddhism on a history of contemporary art. Research support is generously provided by The Robert H N Ho Family Foundation, Hong Kong and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, New York.

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The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in partnership with the University of Victoria presents:

In the Present Moment: Buddhism, Contemporary Art and Social Practice
A Research Convening

This research convening brings together professional artists, practising Buddhists, and scholars from a range of disciplines to better understand Buddhist influences in contemporary art in North America. Resisting orientalized notions of Buddhism as a timeless, unchanging, passive tradition, this convening explores how diverse artists have drawn on Buddhist ideas and practices as a “methodology” of art practice, shifting the focus of inquiry from the art object to processes of artistic creation.

Location: University of Victoria

Oct 25, 2019, PUBLIC LECTURE AND PERFORMANCE
Kay Larson, writer, art critic (New York)

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Oct 27, 2019, PUBLIC LECTURE
Suzanne Lacy, artist (Los Angeles) with Jodie Evans co-founder CODEPINK (Los Angeles)

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FOLLOW THE PROJECT ON FACEBOOK

Q&A WITH HAEMA SIVANESAN

Image credits (left to right):
Mark Tobey, Untitled 1957, sumi-ink on wove paper, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. C D Graham in recognition of the artists 85th birthday, AGGV1975.060.001 | David Khang, Bleeding Book, Linea Lingua, 2004, video still (detail), courtesy of the artist | Michael Zheng, Learning/Diamond Sutra 2013, Durational performance; 120mins, courtesy of the artist, San Francisco