Joshua Decter

.I’ll go back to Walter Benjamin…“A political tendency is the necessary, never the sufficient condition of the organizing function of a work. This further requires a directing, instructing stance on the part of the writer…An author who teaches nothing teaches no one. What matter, therefore, is the exemplary character of production, which is able first to induce other producers to produce, and second to put an improved apparatus at their disposal. And this apparatus is better the more consumers it is able to turn into producers – that is, readers or spectators into collaborators.

Joshua Decter is a New York-based art critic, curator, art historian, theorist, educator, and editor, whose writings have been extensively published over the past twenty-five years.

Decter’s forthcoming book, “Art is a Problem: Selected Criticism, Essays, Interviews and Curatorial Projects (1986-2011),” will be published by JRP|Ringier in May 2013.

Decter is the co-author of a forthcoming book in Afterall’s Exhibition Histories series, that will analyze the social dimensions of two 1993 exhibitions: “Culture in Action” (Chicago, USA) and “Project Unité” (Firminy, France). This is scheduled for publication in late 2013.

Since the late 1980s, Decter has curated exhibitions for a wide range of museums, alternative spaces and galleries, including P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1), The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Apex Art, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), The Kunsthalle Vienna, and The Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Decter has been a professor at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, The School of Visual Arts in New York, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, New York University, UCLA, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and Bennington College.

From 2007 to 2011, Decter was Director of the Master of Public Art Studies Program at the University of Southern California’s Roski School of Fine Arts in Los Angeles, where he founded a new graduate program, M.A. Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere.

Decter has organized many international conferences, including: “The Architecture of Display: new approaches to exhibition design” at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, 2006; “The Question of the City,” Museumsquartier, Vienna Art Week, 2006; “The Situational Drive: Complexities of Public Sphere Engagement,” co-sponsored by inSite, Creative Time, and The Cooper Union, New York, 2007; and “Participation and Friction: Rethinking Art and Architecture as Public Culture (Architecture, Design Art: Strategies for Survival & Art and Architecture in the Public Sphere of Cities)” at USC in Los Angeles, 2009.

Part 2 of Decter’s interview