STUDIO CONVERSATIONS: TOM MARIONI, JUDITH TANNENBAUM, RICHARD TORCHIA

Philadelphia, PA

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The annual Studio Conversations series, presented by the MFA in Studio Art program, features leading artists, curators and critics discussing artistic issues and practice across media and international boundaries. The conversations are intended to address the emerging globalization and internationalization of the fine arts and what this means in the 21st century.

The September 23 Studio Conversations features conceptual artist 
Tom Marioni, curator Judith Tannenbaum and artist / curator Richard Torchia.

Tom Marioni, Hammer Museum, 2011, installation for Beer with Friends, courtesy of the artist

[Tom Marioni, Hammer Museum, 2011, installation for Beer with Friends, courtesy of the artist]

Tom Marioni was born in Cincinnati in 1937 and lives in San Francisco. He was a key figure in the emergence of conceptual art in the 1960s, and he founded and ran the Museum of Conceptual Art in San Francisco from 1970 to 1984. In 1981 Marioni was honored as a Guggenheim Fellow, and he founded the Art Orchestra in 1996. Since 1963 his work has been the subject of numerous one-person exhibitions, including The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends Is the Highest Form of Art, Oakland Museum of California (1970); The Museum of Conceptual Art at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1979); Cutting the Mustard, Le Consortium, Dijon, France (1984); The Germans, the Italians, the Japanese, Museo ItaloAmericano, San Francisco, and Yoh Art Gallery, Osaka, Japan (1987); The Artist’s Studio (Starting Over), Capp Street Project, San Francisco (1990); Golden Rectangle, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2004); and Tom Marioni: Beer, Art, and Philosophy (The Exhibition) 1968–2006, Lois and Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati (2006). Marioni’s work has been featured in thematic exhibitions internationally, and he has staged his performances and actions at venues around the world. He was the founding editor of Vision Magazine in 1975 and is the author of Beer, Art, and Philosophy: A Memoir (Crown Point Press, 2003) and other publications.
Judith Tannenbaum was named The RISD Museum’s first curator of contemporary art in 2000. In 2002, she became the Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art, the Museum’s first endowed position, which she held until 2013. She recently relocated to Philadelphia but continues her connection to RISD as Adjunct Curator.  Tannenbaum has organized numerous exhibitions focusing on painting, sculpture, video, and interdisciplinary work--with a particular interest in connections between visual art and performance and relationships among fine art, craft, and design. Exhibitions and publications for RISD include Painting Air: Spencer Finch (2012); Lynda Benglis (2010);Styrofoam (2008); Beth Lipman: After You’re Gone (2008); Wunderground: Providence, 1995 to the present (2006); Betty Woodman: Il Giardino dipinto (2005); Island Nations: New Art from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the Diaspora (2004); On the Wall: Wallpaper by Contemporary Artists (2003); and Jim Isermann: Logic Rules(2000).  From 1986 to 2000, Tannenbaum served variously as curator, associate director, and interim director at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. As interim director of ICA in 1989-90, she became the spokesperson for the defense of public funding for the arts and artistic freedom in relation to the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition originated by ICA.  Among the shows she curated for ICA are: PerForms (1995) featuring the work of Janine Antoni, Charles Ray, and Jana Sterbak; Vija Celmins (1992), a retrospective exhibition that toured nationally; and Interactions (1991), a large group show about collaborations between the visual and performing arts.
Richard Torchia is director of Arcadia University Art Gallery, Glenside, where, since 1997, he has organized solo exhibitions for Ai Weiwei, Dave Allen, Francis Cape, Olafur Eliasson, Amy Hauft, Keith Haring, Candida Höfer, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Donald Moffett, William Larson, and Kay Rosen, among others. Often working in collaboration, he has organized thematic group exhibitions exploring subjects such as the childhood drawings of contemporary artists, nearly imperceptible art works, the sited gesture, photorealist painting, hand-drawn maps, and contemporary images of the sea and sky. Recent publishing and writing efforts include catalog essays for Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s Pandemonium (at Eastern State Penitentiary, 2005), Gabriel Martinez (Samson Gallery, Boston, 2008), and Winifred Lutz (Abington Art Center, 2012). He also edited the first monographs for Philadelphia-based artists Tristin Lowe and Bill Walton, both published by Arcadia in 2007. Working with a team of interns and volunteers, in 2010 he edited an historical index of Philadelphia-based artist-run spaces (from 1969 to the present) that was included in a publication marking the 21st anniversary of Vox Populi, the city’s oldest cooperative. From 1985 to 1987 he directed City Without Walls in Newark, New Jersey, the state’s oldest artist-run space. He relocated to Philadelphia in 1987 to become the inaugural curator of the Levy Gallery for the Arts in Philadelphia at Moore College of Art and Design, a position he held until 1995. During his tenure there he organized over forty exhibitions featuring the work of Philadelphia-based artists, including projects for Kocot & Hatton, Mei-Ling Hom, and Stacy Levy, as well as a retrospective for Philadelphia native William Anastasi (in conjunction with John Cage’s “Rolywholyover  A Circus” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art). Group exhibitions for the gallery examined subjects such as the relationship between art making and housekeeping, the collection and display of everyday objects, drawing and painting on found surfaces, and the persistence of the monochrome canvas.
Tom Marioni, Judith Tannenbaum, and Richard Torchia
Tom Marioni Judith Tannenbaum Richard Torchia