It’s the last day of the year, and charities are sending you last-minute appeals for donations. If you would like to donate, we definitely encourage that! (And if you can’t spare a big amount, please consider a small monthly donation, which is easy to set up — we love those!) But the purpose of this post is actually a little bit different.
In 2018, the Pitt began another transformation, from a gallery-as-platform to a platform that no longer needs a gallery.
We did this because the world around us demands more interventions by artists, and contemporary culture that can be found outside of the familiar tropes of exhibitions. Contemporary art is possibly not for everyone — it’s difficult, founded on philosophy and history that is unfamiliar to many people, and on the experimental edges it may not even be recognizable as art sometimes.
But contemporary art, and new culture in general, is needed, and artists need room to develop ideas and ways of working in order to make art. If we want to provide this room, we need to stop treating artists as independent contractors who deliver a fully-realized exhibition or project and then disappear back into the studio. And if we think that contemporary art is needed, we have to provide meaningful access to it. The passive model of putting work on the walls, opening the gallery doors, and waiting for people to arrive is inadequate for giving people meaningful access to contemporary culture.
So we’re moving beyond that. We have given a hint of what the future looks like this year, with projects like Non-Regular, the latest iteration of Wrong Wave, and #tearitdown2018, and the opening of the 8EAST social space. We’re moving out of the gallery, and reaching a larger public in new ways; we’re promoting critical awareness of social problems in a way that we hope has tangible outcomes; and we’re still UNIT/PITT, irreverent and full of surprises.
Please follow us in 2019 and see what else we have in store. One more thing: I have been director of the Pitt since 2010, and have taken it through a revival and two transformations so far, but my time is drawing to a close. We’ll be announcing a new director in early spring if everything goes well.
Thanks for your support. We hope we see you, and you see us, in 2019!
Kay Higgins, Executive Director