What does support look like? Support comes in many forms and it has different meanings in different contexts and eras. At a moment in the field of contemporary arts—artists, education, institutions, organizations, publishing—when numerous entities speak to and vie for limited audiences and resources, the topic of support is paramount. Finance and infrastructure—money and space—are seen as support. While these are often necessities, support is much more nuanced. Support is community. It is critical reflection. It is administration. It is attention. Frameworks, conversations and questions are forms of support. Support is advocacy and engagement. It is trust, autonomy and confidence. Systems are support, the known constants to use, work around, and advance. Support is time. I know many readers could draw a list of their own. But further to the above: what does support look like? The appearance (or call it aesthetics) of support is the culmination of many factors, more than a singular pillar. None of the above provides equal grounding and many are needed together in order to build, nurture and maintain something, to hold it. The combination of pillars in the end becomes an undergirding where the totality is greater in value than individual pieces for providing conditions for work and practice to be made possible.
The theme “Support” corresponds with our eighth Case Studies exhibition, which presents the book Support Structures by the French artist Céline Condorelli. Condorelli (in co-production with artist and curator Gavin Wade and designer James Langdon) offers a dense, rich and varied investigation into the ways support manifests and, in turn, Support Structures provides tools—vocabularies, bibliographies, references, archives—that point our attention to and allow us to think through what support looks like. Support Structures is a manual. Case Studies #8 is organized by Orly Vermes, CCA Curatorial Practice graduate student, and Wei Wang, Curatorial Research Bureau Bookshop Coordinator.
James Voorhies, Chair, CCA Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice