Curated by SAIC faculty members Ellen Rothenberg and Daniel Eisenberg, the Re:Working Labor exhibition was developed through a two-year research process in collaboration with re:work, the IGK International Research Centre “Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History” at Humboldt University in Berlin. The project included an international symposium in fall 2018 at SAIC and culminated with this fall 2019 exhibition.
Re:Working Labor offered critical and creative responses to the complexities of contemporary labor, from global perspectives of waged labor to the pressing issue of anthropogenic climate change in a world driven by accumulation, expansion, and acceleration. Featuring work by local, national, and international artists, the exhibition offered a host of perspectives and reflections on the possible futures of labor and the nature of work. The exhibition included four anchor projects: a performative action by Mierle Laderman Ukeles and a new work by Ukeles made in collaboration with SAIC alumnus Julian Flaven in addition to earlier documentation of her historic work, Touch Sanitation; an installation of Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki’s global project, Labour In a Single Shot, coupled with a 17 day free workshop for 22 Chicago participants conducted by Ehmann and Eva Stotz that will add to the work’s ongoing archive; a newly commissioned work by Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama; and a screening series comprised of five contemporary media programs curated by Aily Nash and Andrew Norman Wilson entitled Image Employment that included video work by national and international artists Yuri Ancarani, Stephanie Comilang, Kevin Jerome Everson, Cao Fei, Harun Farocki, Fabien Giraud and Raphaël Siboni, Riar Rizaldi, Pilvi Takala, Ryan Trecartin, Leilah Weinraub, Li Ziqi.
These anchor works were supplemented by a series of smaller scale projects in counterpoint. Many of these projects came out of the research undertaken during the symposium included contributions by artist teams Josh Rios, Anthony Romero, and Deanna Ledezma; Julia Pello and David Hall; John Preus working with local high school apprentice/collaborators, and the Chicago based Sweetwater Foundation; Caroline Woolard and Jessica Cook-Qurayshi; and individual artists Nneka Kai, Carole Frances Lung, Stephanie Rothenberg, and Gregory Sholette. These additional projects provided a complex web of associations and interweaving concerns.
Screening Curators: Aily Nash and Andrew Norman Wilson
Curatorial and Exhibition Coordinator: Trevor Martin
Exhibition Design: Steven Plaxco
Programming Directors: Hannah Barco and Lauren Steinberg
Curatorial Assistant: Almudena Caso Burbano
Graduate Curatorial Assistant: Monica Rose Morris
Production Assistant: Julian Flavin
Designer: Sonia Yoon
Amy Beste, Senior Lecturer, Art History, Theory and Criticism
Tom Buechele (BFA 1989, MFA 2017)
Pablo R. Garcia, Associate Professor, Contemporary Practices
Allison Green (MA 2009)
Sarah Hicks (BFA 2005)
Mary Jane Jacob, Professor, Sculpture and Director, Institute for Curatorial Research and Practice
Shaina Lund (MFA 2014)
Frédéric Moffet (MFA 1998), Associate Professor, Film, Video, New Media and Animation
Julia Pello (MFA 2017)
Bert Schlingmann (BFA 1996)
Jeff Ward (MFA 2002)
Emilie Yardley-Hodges (BFA 2015)
Kate Zeller (MA 2008)
Additional special thanks to The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation Staff, Sauce and Bread Kitchen, and to the dedicated staff and student teams who support the exhibitions and programming at the SAIC Sullivan Galleries.
For program information please visit sites.saic.edu/reworkinglabor