The MacKenzie Art Conversation Series invites you to take part in discussions about the future of art and the way it is presented. Launched in the fall of 2014, the MacKenzie continues to bring world-renowned thinkers to Regina, and provides a platform for public presentations intended to foster discussion and creativity in Saskatchewan and beyond. This series features a diverse range of topics affecting public art galleries and museums in the 21st century. Topics span the issues of our time including media, technology, site and context, community, architecture, identity, pedagogy, politics, and economy.

The conversations are free and everyone is welcome to attend.


Upcoming presentations

Jeff Funnell: Notes from the Inquest
Thursday, January 25, 2018, 7:00 PM
A Stranger's Pose: Notes on Intimacy, Writing, and Criticism

Join us for an evening with author and critic Emmanuel Iduma. 

Join us at the Gallery for an artist talk and exhibition tour of Notes from the Inquest with artist Jeff Funnell. 


Past Presentations:

Emmanuel Iduma
Thursday, September 14, 2017, 7:00 PM
A Stranger's Pose: Notes on Intimacy, Writing, and Criticism

Join us for an evening with author and critic Emmanuel Iduma. 

Emmanuel Iduma is the author of the novel The Sound of Things to Come and co-editor of Gambit: Newer African Writing. He holds an MFA in Art Criticism and Writing from the School of Visual Arts, New York, where he is also a faculty member. He has contributed essays on art and photography to a number of journals, magazines, and exhibition catalogues, and is the editor of Saraba magazine, which he co-founded. He co-curated the Nigerian Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. A Stranger’s Pose, his book of travel stories, will be published in 2018.

Sara Raza
Thursday, April 27, 2017, 7:00 pm
Site & Specificity: The Cross Circulation of Art & Ideas

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Curator Sara Raza presents Site & Specificity: The Cross Circulation of Art & Ideas. Raza's work investigates how geography, langage, and cultural heritage influence artistic practice. This public talk focuses on cultural diversity and curation, and is presented as part of the MacKenzie Art Gallery's Art Conversation Series.

Sara Raza is the Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Middle East and North Africa based at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, where she recently curated But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise. Born in the UK in 1979, she earned her MA in Art History and Theory and BA (hons) in English Literature and History of Art both from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and pursued studies towards a Ph.D. at the Royal College of Art, London. She was most recently the winner of the 11th ArtTable New Leadership Award (2016) for women in the arts, previously she was awarded the Arts Council’s of England’s Emerging Curator’s Award (2004) and was a finalist for the Walter Hopps Award (2015). Her forthcoming book, Punk Orientalism: Central Asia's Contemporary Art Revolution, will be published by Black Dog Publishing in 2018. Read more...


Daniel Jewesbury:
Saturday, April 30, 2016, 3:00 pm
Art and its Publics in “Post-Conflict” Northern Ireland

Artist Daniel Jewesbury joins the MacKenzie’s Art Conversation series in The Candahar to discuss the notion of “post-conflict” in Northern Ireland following the past two decades of the peace process. What role does art play within conversations about social redevelopment and peacebuilding in regenerating cities? How do the social, political, and economic mechanisms imposed upon it undermine its efficacy and integrity? Jewesbury will look at several projects that attempt to take alternative approaches to the problems of using, inhabiting, and constructing social and public space in a perpetually-regenerating city.

Daniel Jewesbury is an interdisciplinary artist working in film and video installation, photography, text, and performance, and is a Lecturer of experimental cinema and photo-imaging at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland.
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Amanda Cachia

Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 5:30 pm
MacKenzie Art Gallery, Shumiatcher Theatre
Curating Disability and Access: Ethics, Pragmatics, Effects

This presentation will explore the dynamics of curating exhibitions that focus on disability as its central theme. This will be illustrated by looking at a number of recent and upcoming projects organized by curator and scholar Amanda Cachia. These projects include What Can a Body Do? (2012), Cripping Cyberspace: A Contemporary Virtual Art Exhibition (2013), Composing Dwarfism: Reframing Short Stature in Contemporary Photography (2014), Performing Crip Time: Bodies in Deliberate Motion (2014), LOUD silence (2014-2015), Marking Blind (2015) and Art of the Lived Experiment (2015). Through each of these exhibitions, Cachia will demonstrate how she established access as a creative methodology, and maintained sustained engagement with the ethics and practicalities of curating disability-related subject matter. Cachia argues that part of the decolonizing work of disability studies is for curators to start practicing these curatorial strategies in order to “crip” art history and the mainstream contemporary art world.

Amanda Cachia is an independent curator from Sydney, Australia and is the 2014 recipient of the Irving K. Zola Award for Emerging Scholars in Disability Studies, issued by the Society for Disability Studies (SDS). She is currently completing her Ph.D. in Art History, Theory & Criticism at the University of California, San Diego, where her dissertation will focus on the intersection of disability and contemporary art.

Jen Budney

Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 7 pm
MacKenzie Art Gallery, Shumiatcher Theatre
The Art Museum as "Imbecile Institution" - Why Art Museums Are So Hard to Change

Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929) was an American economist who coined the term "imbecile institution" to describe systems of thought and governance that no longer served the needs of society yet were difficult, if not impossible to change. As early as 1917, the museum reformer John Cotton Dana identified the art museum as belonging to this category of organization. Was it true? Is it still true?

Budney's talk will explore a variety of theories about why art museums are so resistant to change, and how this may be true even if the content of what they do – the art they collect and present to audiences – can be challenging and even radical. She will address what conditions would need to be present for substantive change to occur, where we might see examples of this happening, and why we should care about changing the museum at all.

Jen Budney is an independent writer and curator who has held positions with the Mendel Art Gallery, Kamloops Art Gallery, Canada Council for the Arts, Gallery 101, and Flash Art International, and she is a PhD candidate in Public Policy at University of Saskatchewan.

Trevor Smith

Wednesday, February 11, 2015, 5:30 pm
MacKenzie Art Gallery, Shumiatcher Theatre
In the Present Tense: Artists and institutional transformation

Trevor Smith is the Curator of the Present Tense at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. At PEM Smith leads a cross-departmental team, working to embed contemporary creativity across the breadth of the museum's activities.

PEM has undergone a remarkable expansion and transformation of its mission over the last 20 years. With well over a million objects in its collection, the PEM draws some 250,000 visitors a year. Drawing connections between historical expression and contemporary creativity is of significant importance in the visitors' experience. Founded in 1799 by the first generation of global entrepreneurs in the United States, PEM's global collections are marked by intersections of cultures, disciplines and technologiesthat continue to drive creativity and cultural change today. Smith’s talk will focus on the role of artists in institutional transformation, taking his curatorial work at the Peabody Essex Museum, the longest continuously operating museum in the United States, as a case study.

Smith will discuss the complex layers of consideration that have gone into actively commissioning works from artists such as Candice Breitz, Susan Philipsz, Michael Lin, and Charles Sandison, and producing interdisciplinary projects with Celeste Boursier-Mougenot and Nick Cave.

Trevor Smith is the Curator of the Present Tense at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. At PEM he leads a cross-departmental team working with artists and other creative agents to explore expressions that emerge at the intersections of cultures, disciplines, or technologies.

Paul Chaat Smith
Wednesday November 19, 2014, 5:30 PM
Are You Experienced

Returning to the city that gave him his first big break, Paul Chaat Smith reflects on his time in the prairies twenty-two years ago, when he spent the summer of 1992 as critic in residence at the Dunlop Art Gallery. He remembers that the sun never really seemed to set, Canada was still reeling from Oka, the Internet was still just a rumor, and the house band at a favored local bar played Hendrix covers, night after night.

Smith’s talk will focus on the evolving national narratives of the United States and Canada, and the changing role of Native people in those narratives over the past two decades. The national narratives have long been battlegrounds as activists in both countries have fought to rewrite the story. He asks, do national narratives still matter as they once did? Do they even exist anymore?

Eduardo Aquino
Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 5:30pm
Beachscape: The Rediscovery of Public Space on the Beach

The beach remains in the imagination of the urban dweller as an ideal escape. The beach can be considered as a “weak system” starting from a comparative analogy, for example, between the work of Richard Serra (hard system) and Gabriel Orozco (weak, soft system). Orozco discusses the beach itself through his work "Table of Sand", alluding to the phenomena of the beach as a “weak system”--the elements and processes that generate perennial flexibility, open programming, mediation between city and nature, platform for social interaction, proposing the beach as a model to think an "open architecture” and more engaging public spaces.

Eduardo Aquino graduated in Architecture and Urban Studies in Brazil and holds an MFA in Open Media from Concordia University, Montreal. He has a long-standing research and creative practice concerning public space, and has realized projects for galleries and urban spaces in North America, South America and Europe. Aquino has been a program and policy consultant on public art and interdisciplinary arts for the Canada Council for the Arts and the Winnipeg Arts Council. He holds a Doctorate from the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, for which he realized a project on beachscapes. He is the co-author of Complex Order: Intrusions in Public Space (Winnipeg: Plug In Editions, 2009). An Associate Professor at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba, he teaches design studio, theory, history and technology. Aquino is a recipient of a National Award from the National Arts Foundation in Brazil, and a Design Award from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. He is part of the international design team spmb. 

Nancy Princenthal
Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 5:30 PM
Agnes Martin: Lines of Thought

A presentation on the art and life of Agnes Martin, including her early years in Saskatchewan and Canada, where she lived until the early 1930s. Agnes Martin was one of the leading abstract painters of the 20th century, and also a lyrical writer. Her works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the MacKenzie Art Gallery, among others. Princenthal’s talk will also discuss Martin’s place in the several art communities in which she participated including Taos, New Mexico in the 1940s and 50s, and New York City’s Coenties Slip from 1957 to 1967.

Nancy Princenthal is a New York-based critic and former Senior Editor of Art in America, for which she continues to write for regularly; other publications to which has contributed include Artforum, Parkett, the Village Voice, and the New York Times. Her monograph on Hanna Wilke was published by Prestel in 2010; her essays have also appeared in monographs on Shirin Neshat, Doris Salcedo, Rober Mangold, and Alfredo Jaar, among others. She is co-author of two recent books on leading women artists, including The Reckoning: Women Artists of the New Millennium (Prestel, 2013). At present Princenthal is writing a book about Agnes Martin. Having taught at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College; Princeton University; Yale University, Rhode Island School of Design, Montclair State University, and elsewhere. Princenthal is currently on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts in New York City.






Image: MacKenzie Art Gallery Curator Timothy Long in conversation with Wilf Perreault, 2014