Inclusion as a Starting Point: Refiguring The Future

REFRESH breaks down systemic cultural and economic oppression and offers validation, visibility, and new approaches to sustainable artistic practice. Refiguring the Future, our inaugural exhibition, will demonstrate a politically engaged and inclusive vision of what art, science and technology means, bringing special attention to populations that have been historically marginalized including women, trans and cisgender, people of color, LGBTQ+ and disabled artists from around the globe. REFRESH, in collaboration with Eyebeam will include community-based and site-specific projects, a gallery exhibition, and a host of public programming, bringing together a constellation of venues and organizations across New York City in Refiguring The Future which opens in early 2019.

A History of Invisibility

“Do women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum?” The Guerilla Girls asked this question in 1989 but the answer has changed little in the intervening years. A painstaking review of the statistics in 2016 confirmed that more than 90% of winners of a major festival in the arts self-identified as male, and two out of the 100 top selling artists at auction are women. The difference in price between the most expensive female and male artists is also vast; $44.4 million vs. $179 million. Women have been largely excluded from history, criticism, and curation of major art historical movements, even when they participate in great numbers as in the case of Abstract Expressionism.

The field of art, science and technology hybridize art world politics with those of tech and science culture. A comparatively new field, it has inherited and tended to perpetuate the oppressive structures of both domains. Diverse voices are vital to the field but have often been excluded from large artist residencies and projects. Despite this history, we believe art has a tremendous potential in the current cultural climate to open new trajectories and ethical choices by envisioning different possible futures.

A Platform for Change

Art, science, and technology are key social forces but we have yet to see a major retrospective or exhibition in United States grappling with the politics of this cultural interplay. Taking an explicitly political and socially-engaged focus on this intersection, Refiguring the Future is the first dedicated exhibition of its kind.

As the global present becomes increasingly politicized and polemicized it is more important than ever to challenge our ideas of what’s next: to push and probe, tear apart, and re-envision what the future can and should be from the ground up. By showcasing feminist, queer, de-colonial, disabled and historically marginalized artists Refiguring the Future will offer visions of the future outside and beyond the dominant discourse, where we can find new possibilities of real change.