“Identity Politics is dead. Long live identity politics!” with Ken Lum



0:00 – Welcome by Barbara Fischer, Executive Director of the University of Toronto’s Art Museum
3:33 – Introduction by Henry Heng Lu
6:20 – Ken Lum presentation
1:27:28 – Q & A

On October 19, 2017, Ken Lum presented “Identity Politics is dead. Long live identity politics!” as part of the Daniels Faculty’s Master of Visual Studies Proseminar series.

This event was a public program of the exhibition Far and Near: the Distance(s) between Us, curated by Curatorial Studies alum Henry Heng Lu, at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery.

Ken Lum spoke about his art in terms of its ambivalent relationship to identity politics, particularly as defined and promoted in the Canadian context of a multi-cultural mosaic. A Canadian mosaic or an American melting-pot are in themselves ambivalent constructions subsuming differences within a nation status imbued with symbolic unity. Deploying a variety of media, Lum’s art is invested in the impossible project of identity formation. Issues of embodiment and encounter are saliently expressed in his art, as both a recursive to self-understanding and more broadly as a means to an understanding of a social landscape increasingly given over to commemorative functioning. In this presentation, he will also speak about his latest curatorial endeavor, Monument Lab. The largest public art exhibition to take place in Philadelphia since the first Centenary exhibition of 1876, Monument Lab is a hybrid public art and history exhibition that examines the stratification of public space as a system of valuations marked by monuments or memorials that are full of canonical character.

Ken Lum is an artist working in a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture and photography. A longtime professor, he currently is Chair of the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

A founding editor of the Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, he has published extensively and a Concordia University Press willing issue a book of his writings in 2018. He was keynote speaker for the 2010 World Museums Conference and the 15th Biennale of Sydney in Australia. He has an active and long exhibition record including Documenta, the Venice Biennale, Sao Paolo Bienal, Shanghai Biennale, Carnegie Triennial, Sydney Biennale and Gwangju Biennale among others.

Since the mid 1990s, Lum has worked on numerous major permanent public art commissions including for the cities of Vienna, the Engadines (Switzerland), Rotterdam, St. Louis, Leiden, Utrecht, Toronto and Vancouver. He is currently working on public art projects for Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto and Yaounde (Cameroon).

Lum has also worked as a member of several architectural/engineering teams doing master planning for various projects, including for Vancouver, Toronto and Seattle.

Lum has also been involved as a curator with several projects, including Shanghai Modern: 1919 – 1949, Sharjah Biennial 2007, in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates and the NorthWest Annual in Seattle. He recently opened a major city-wide public art and history project titled Monument Lab for the city of Philadelphia.

For more information about the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto, visit us at http://www.daniels.utoronto.ca

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