This special episode of 5 Questions is a live recording of the 10th Critical Conversation: SITE-SPECIFIC, which took place October 26, 2018 at Granite City Art and Design District (G-CADD). Initiated by Gavin Kroeber, this discussion emerges as a community roundtable on site-specific work and the social conditions in which such work is situated. Much of the most important art in St. Louis is marked by a keen sense of site-specificity—attending explicitly to the social conditions that define the city and the region, engaging with the particulars of its neighborhoods and communities. The first half of the decade was arguably defined by celebrated placemaking projects and critical art-activism interventions. This summer saw a number of announcements about ambitious cultural initiatives on the horizon—the Chouteau Greenway, a new affordable artist housing initiative in Gravois Park, and the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Art Challenge grant that St. Louis is a finalist for—all of which promise to use art to re-imagine and even re-shape the urban fabric. In this moment, with St. Louis poised between two intensive waves of site-specific art projects, this roundtable offers a space to consider site-specific art practice. How has work that engages the city shifted in the past decade, and why? What work is happening right now and what spaces of opportunity are emerging? How do local artists want to engage with the major projects that are coming and what independent paths are open?
Thanks to artist and curator Gavin Kroeber for providing introductory comments and facilitating the discussion, and to Galen Gandolfi and Marianne Laury of G-CADD for providing a space for this conversation to take place. This event coincided with G-CADD’s opening of Exhibition #18. Critical Mass for the Visual Arts thanks G-CADD for collaborating, and donating concurrent use of the space for our event.
Critical Conversations is a program by Critical Mass for the Visual Arts that seeks to spark revolution in the St. Louis Artworld. We aim to strengthen vital connections between individuals, institutions, spaces and creative communities, and to set the stage for profound criticism and discussion on a wide range of topics. We inspire action through increased understanding, agency and accountability among creatives, administrators, academics and critics.