Curating Carnival

@ 7:00pm

Western Front is pleased to be hosting a public talk by Claire Tancons. As an independent curator and scholar, Claire Tancons has been conducting historical research and producing curatorial projects which reframe the cultural positioning of Carnival, protest movements and other processional traditions. As one of the curators of the 7th Gwangju Biennale (2008), she organized SPRING, a 90-minute procession inspired by the May 18, 1980 uprising in South Korea. As a guest curator for CAPE 09, the 2nd Cape Town Biennial (2009), she organized A Walk Into the Night, a 60-minute procession which was based on the Cape Town Carnival and set against the background of the forced removals of the apartheid era. Tancons spent 2009 traveling and conducting research in over twenty countries in the Caribbean, South and West Africa and Europe for a large-scale project on contemporary carnival and processional arts for CAC New Orleans and other venues (slated to open in 2013).

Curating Carnival is co-presented by Fillip whose forthcoming issue, Fillip 13, will feature a conversation between Claire Tancons and Western Front exhibitions curator Jesse McKee. The article, entitled On Carnival and Contractual Curating, offers a deeper look at the theories and methodologies that Tancons uses to produce her live exhibition projects. The public talk at Western Front will offer a broad view of the research that Tancons has been conducting in the past few years and also addresses a forthcoming project she is preparing for the first iteration of the Harlem Biennial in 2012.


Claire Tancons has held research and curatorial positions at the International Center of Photography where she contributed to Only Skin Deep. Changing Visions of the American Self (2004), at the Walker Art Center where she provided curatorial assistance to How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age (2003) and the Paula Cooper Gallery where she organized Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky’s Path is Prologue: Rebirth of a Nation (2004). Tancons has also organized exhibitions at non-profit art organizations in New York such as Artists Space, Robin Rhode: The Score, 2005, The Kitchen, Ralph Lemon: The efflorescence of Walter, 2007 and The Rotunda Gallery, Mas’: From Process to Procession, 2007, as well as in Port of Spain, Trinidad, Lighting the Shadow: Trinidad in and out of Light, 2004. She has written for Nka, Third Text and Small Axe as well as for a host of exhibition catalogues and lectures and publishes regularly about her work on Carnival at conferences worldwide. Tancons holds an MA in Museum Studies from the École du Louvre in Paris, an MA in Art History from the Courtauld Institute in London and is a former curatorial fellow of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. A native of Guadeloupe, French West Indies, Tancons currently lives and works in New Orleans.