Curating the Self: Suzanne Hudson
Agnes Martin: Night Sea Journey

January 25, 2016

Or Gallery is pleased to present a talk by Los Angeles-based art historian Suzanne Hudson, the first instalment of our new Curating the Self lecture series.


In 1963, Agnes Martin completed a six-foot-square oil on canvas entitled Night Sea. Within the suite of Martin’s classic grids from 1960–1967, Night Sea is as exemplary as it is exceptional, a shimmering realization of control and loss—made manifest in its specific physicality—that Martin would never repeat. In this talk, Hudson argues for the significance of Night Sea in Martin’s turn away from process-based works. After this, as Hudson will elaborate, the struggle to achieve a composition—to say nothing of the struggle for the self that it represents—happened elsewhere, at a safe remove from the art.


In anticipation of this lecture, Or Gallery will host a reading group focused on Hudson’s essay for the compilation Heroine Paint: After Frankenthaler.


Curating the Self is a series of talks that will take the recent expansion of the field of curating as an occasion to explore the construction of identity in relation to the increasingly professionalized discipline of curating as well as the many forms of cultural assemblage (from certain contemporary art practices to the construction of social media personas) that are now also known as curating.


This series is the inaugural program curated by Or Gallery’s new Curator of Discursive Projects, Jonah Gray. Over the coming year, Gray will initiate an open-ended series of talks, podcasts and print-on-demand publications at the Or Gallery. These projects will complement the Or’s exhibition program, but will also go beyond the usual mandate of public programming to simply “animate” exhibitions.

Participant Bios

Hudson is Associate Professor of Art History and Fine Arts at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She writes on modern and contemporary art with an emphasis on abstraction, painting, process, creativity, pedagogy, and American philosophy as it intersects with aesthetics and institutional discourses. She is the author of Robert Ryman: Used Paint (MIT Press, 2009; 2011), the coauthor and coeditor of Contemporary Art: 1989–Present (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), and the author of Painting Now (Thames & Hudson, 2015). She is currently completing a book on Agnes Martin, forthcoming from Afterall Books: One Work/MIT Press.