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Meeting Point  #7: Shelley Rice & Chantal Pontbriand

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Shelley Rice talks with Chantal Pontbriand, about her youth and her professional career in the art world, from her debut as a founder of the magazine “Parachute”, until now, as she prepares “Live of Performers“, an exhibition at La Ferme du Buisson and “The Yvonne Rainer Project”, a series of screenings devoted to Yvonne Rainer at Jeu de Paume, Paris.

In this Meeting Point, Chantal Pontbriand explains the reasons which led her to get involved in performance art, which she considers an attitude, a way of working, not an artistic subgenre. With Shelley Rice, they evoke the socio-political context of the 1960s and 1970s in Montreal, opening the city to the world, the development of the market that marked the art world at that time. The review « Parachute » and the festival “New Dance” that she produced were true events, which carried reflexion on human exchanges throughout the world, on communities and politics, on the place the body could occupy in art. Then, as a curator, she has always paid great attention to the scenography, as a kind of choreography, questionning how one could move and get physically involved inside the exhibition space… Her “Yvonne Rainer Project” at the Jeu de Paume and La Ferme du Buisson certainly came from her desire to reactivate the issues related to performance today and to reassess its meaning inside art.

“Art is a tool to exercise our minds, that can lead to political reinvention”. 
Chantal Pontbriand, 2014

Trio A (The Mind Is a Muscle, Part I), (1966), Yvonne Rainer. Performed by Yvonne Rainer in 1978. 10 min., 7 sec. © Yvonne Rainer

Chantal Pontbriand, curator and critic, is the founding director of PARACHUTE, a contemporary art magazine, for which she conducted 125 numbers between 1975 and 2007. Her work focuses on issues of globalization and cultural hybridity. She has curated numerous international events, exhibitions, festivals and conferences, mainly in the fields of performance, multimedia installation, video and photography. From 1982 to 2003, she led the FIND (Festival international de nouvelle danse) in Montreal. In 2010, she was appointed Head of Exhibition Research and Development at Tate Modern, London. She is currently Associate Professor at the Sorbonne / Paris IV in curatorial studies and founding director of PONTBRIAND WORKS [We_Others and Myself_Research_Knowledge_Systems], which gathers her activities. In 2013, she received the General Governor of Canada Award for her exceptional contribution to the visual and media arts.

Shelley Rice is an Arts Professor at New York University, with a joint appointment between the Department of Photography and Imaging and the Department of Art History. A historian and critic of photography and multi-media art, a curator and journalist whose columns have appeared in The Village Voice, The Soho Weekly News and Artforum, her books include Parisian Views, Inverted Odysseys: Claude Cahun, Maya Deren, Cindy Sherman, The Book of 101 Books (ed. Andrew Roth) and monographs on contemporary artists like Vik Muniz: Obras Incompletas, Candida Hofer: In Portugal (with José Saramago) and, most recently, Xing Danwen to be published in 2014 by Prestel. A Guggenheim, Fulbright and Hasselblad Fellow, winner of the PEN/Jerard Award for Non-Fiction essay, Rice was named a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters in France in 2010. She served as Invited Blogger for the online magazine of the Jeu de Paume Museum in 2012, and is currently the NYU Remarque Fellow and an Invited Professor in the Department of History at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.

Screenings “The Yvonne Rainer Project” at the Jeu de Paume
Exhibition “Lives of Performers” at La Ferme du Buisson
Yvonne Rainer: Dances and Films, a multimedia portfolio by the Getty Research Institute