How does the urgency behind the foundation of an alternative art space change over time? Alternative venues for younger art practitioners exist in numerous institutional forms. Often they are reactions to an immediate need in a specific context, born to fill a gap located by its founders. An alternative is always in opposition to something. But what is that? And what happens when the gap is no longer there and the original urgency is replaced by new objectives?
Organized by Helga Christoffersen (MA candidate at Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College) and Erik Pauhrizi (the Asian Cultural Council Grantee for Visual Art and one of the founders of Buton Kultur, Indonesia), this event gathers the founders of six alternative spaces located in New York, Copenhagen, and Bandung to discuss their respective agendas, their positions within the art world, and their ambitions for the future. It is no secret that alternative spaces provide more established sectors of the art world with an important platform to engage with new voices and ideas. The attempt to locate what is new has an obvious connection to the alternative spaces that gives artists their first exhibition and enters them into circulative systems of information. What often starts as a group of individuals joining ambitions and funds can develop into new types of institutional structures, new types of archives, and exhibition venues. A certain cultural capital comes with this development, one that can be exchanged and grants visibility within larger super structures. What started as an “alternative” might “get on the map”; alternative spaces might become part of the institutional landscape, taking part in fairs and museum exhibitions. The question is how we can address the alternative with this development in mind. If we locate an original urgency, what happens when it is altered or even abandoned, and what steps into its place?