University of Southern California USC

November 3 — Rochelle Steiner

Professor, Critical Studies
USC Roski School of Art & Design

“Art on the Move”

Seminar Description: For decades, artists have presented their works in public spaces. Most typically we think of public art as Steiner finalsculptures in parks and plazas, or murals on the facades of buildings, which appear either through civic invitation or individual intervention. But contemporary artists have also taken great interest in the language of the streets, including billboards and electronic signs as well as modes of transportation. Busses, subway cars, and metro stations are among the platforms that have fascinated artists and are providing spaces for engaging the public—through both official sanctioned channels and more independent avenues. These artworks are gestures set into motion, circulating and crossing the public routes as people traverse the city. They are art on the move.

Speaker Biography: Rochelle Steiner is a leader in the visual arts with deep experience in the US, UK, and Asia as the director of a high-profile a non-profit arts organization; dean in a major research university; senior curator in major art museums; and project manager for complex exhibitions and public art projects. She has significant knowledge of modern and contemporary art, architecture, urban issues, and performance, with strong international networks, and 20 years of experience at the forefront of public institutions working closely with artists, staff, faculty, and trustees.

A recognized curator and writer, she has organized over 60 major art exhibitions and large-scale public art projects in the United States and Europe. She was the lead author of a monograph on Korean artist Do Ho Suh’s drawings (DelMonico Prestel) in 2014. She is currently curating a retrospective of John McCracken’s work and editing a monograph on artist Sarah Charlesworth. In 2011 Steiner curated 6 Under 60, an exhibition about six emerging international cities for the 2011 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, and since 2010 has lead an ongoing interdisciplinary faculty research group at University of Southern California on Emergent Cities globally, focusing on issues including urban planning and cultural development, public spaces and placemaking, technology and the development of smart cities.

From 2010-12, Steiner was Dean of the Roski School of Art and Design at University of Southern California, where she holds a tenured professorship in critical studies and teaches courses in curatorial practice and public art studies. As Dean, she was responsible for the vision, administration and day-today operation of the Roski School, with an annual budget of $10 million. She provided oversight for 21 full-time and 50+ part-time faculty comprised of professional artists, designers, curators and scholars; 30+ full-time and 20+ part-time staff; and 450 undergraduate and graduate students. During her deanship, she led an Academic Review self-study and devised comprehensive 5-year strategic plan for improvement, as well as renovated the Roski School’s 36,000-square-foot facility including classrooms, studios, digital labs, and fabrication facilities, and 12,000 square-foot, 24/7 off-site graduate facility. In addition to hiring both full- and part-time faculty of nationally renowned artists and designers, she increased faculty opportunities with the establishment of the endowed Robert A. Day Professorship, and created an endowed Distinguished Scholarship in Sculpture in collaboration with renowned alum, artist Robert Therrien.

Steiner served as a consultant to the Miami Art Museum (now Pérez Art Museum Miami) in 2009-10, developing a plan for the museum as it embarked on construction of a new 150,000 square-foot Herzog & de Meuron–designed facility. In this role, she worked with Board of Trustees and senior staff to shape the vision and develop a 3-year strategic plan to advance the museum’s collection, exhibition, and education programs in the existing and new facilities. She has also served as a consultant to The Sterling and Francine Clark Institute and other arts institutions developing programs in contemporary art.

From 2006-09, Steiner was Director of Public Art Fund in New York, a leading presenter of art in public spaces. Under her leadership the non-profit organization commissioned 35 public art projects with established and emerging international artists, including Olafur Eliasson’s The New York City Waterfalls, which is one of the most ambitious works of public art to have been realized to date. Other major projects include public commissions and exhibitions by Chris Burden, Peter Coffin, Anish Kapoor, Damien Ortega, Sarah Morris, and Sarah Sze, all presented in New York City’s outdoor public spaces. During her directorship, Public Art Fund’s annual operating budget of $2.5 million and staff of 10 grew with the addition of $15.5 million in privately raised funds for Eliasson’s Waterfalls and a team of over 100 working closely with city, state and federal agencies, and private developers.

As Chief Curator at the Serpentine Gallery in London (2001–06), Steiner curated one-person and group exhibitions with internationally acclaimed artists including Glenn Brown, John Currin, Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, Ellsworth Kelly, Takashi Murakami, Gabriel Orozco, Nick Relph & Oliver Payne, Cindy Sherman, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. From 1996 to 2001, she was Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Saint Louis Art Museum, where she organized the large-scale group exhibition Wonderland, which included new works by Ernesto Neto, Olafur Eliasson, Jennifer Steinkamp, and others, as well as the Museum’s Currents contemporary exhibition series, including one-person shows with Peter Doig, Tom Friedman, Elizabeth Peyton, and Gary Simmons, among many others.

Her more than 50 essays and interviews with artists have appeared in numerous exhibition catalogues, journals and magazines including Parkett, Modern Painters, Art Review, and World of Interiors, published in the United States and Europe.

Steiner earned PhD and MA degrees in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester, and a BA from Syracuse University in English and Advertising. In 2009 she was one of ten fellows selected for the Center for Curatorial Leadership program, in association with Columbia University Business School’s Executive Education program.

Discussant: David Sloane, Professor, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

Full-length Recordings: Recordings will be available on YouTube and iTunesU one or two weeks after the seminar.

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    USC Sol Price School of Public Policy