A Wicked Problem

November 14 - December 20, 2014

Opening Reception: Friday, November 14, 6pm - 8pm

At EFA Project Space, 323 W. 39th St, 2nd floor

Artists: Emily Baierl, Greta Byrum & Annabel Daou, Hank Ehrenfried, Caitlin Foley & Misha Rabinovich, Katya Grokhovsky, Oree Holban, Antony Hudek, Felix Kalmenson, Audra Lambert, Clarinda Mac Low, Jennifer Ogburyk, Beth Reitmeyer, Emily C. Thomas and Anuj Vaidya

Selection Committee: Larissa Harris, Naima Keith, Prem Krishnamurthy, and David Senior

Organized by: Claire Barliant, Lauren Bierly, Michelle Levy
Curatorial assistance by: Meghana Karnik and Minzoo Park

A "wicked problem" is a term used by social policy experts to describe an issue that has innumerable causes, is tough to describe, and doesn't have a right answer. Classic wicked problems include climate change and poverty. An unconventional wicked problem would be curating an exhibition. To curate is to propose a shared meaning under incomplete, contradictory, and changing individual imperatives. To curate is to ask a question with no "true" or "false" answer. To curate is to generate a problem that is resistant to resolution.

When an upcoming exhibition fell through unexpectedly, we decided to take this opportunity to think about the relationship between exhibition spaces, curators, and artists, and to consider what exactly it is that we do, as on of many nonprofit spaces in New York that facilitates exhibition-making. For A Wicked Problem, we called on artists and curators to dispose with all practical limitations and envision the most audacious, outrageous, and impossible exhibitions. We asked: "Please send us proposals for shows regardless of practical limitations—submissions may include any number of artists alive or dead (or none at all), use any locations on this planet (or off), and assume a budget that is limitless." (Read the original call for proposals here.) Fourteen of those proposals are partially realized in this show, and were selected by jurors Naima Keith (Studio Museum in Harlem), Prem Krishnamurthy (P! and Projects Projects), Larissa Harris (Queens Museum of Art), and David Senior (MoMA Library).

The selected proposals include turning the gallery into a hotel for small animals, installing artworks on a snowflake or a roller coaster, and launching Richard Serra's sculpture Fulcrum into orbit around Earth among others.

Brochure designed by Kloepfer-Ramsey-Kwon.

The Theoretical Show Blog by Elizabeth Michelman & Edith Doove



Organized in conjunction with A Wicked Problem Reprisals, Reimaginings, and Revisions:
A Series of Events Speculating on What-Might-Have-Been

Tuesday, December 2nd, 7:00pmFinishing Unfinished Films at Film Maker's Coop
Thursday, December 11th, 6:30pmExhibition Redux



"The Perils Of The Possible" by Elizabeth Michelman, Artscope Magazine (full version here)