This exhibition was on view from September 1, 2020 to May 31, 2022.

Carpenter Center Conversations

In Conversation Publications

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In Conversation: Cauleen Smith and Amber Esseiva

About the Exhibition

When COVID-19 forced us to close our galleries on March 13, 2020, rather than rushing to online programming, we took a pause as the world seemed to both slow down and change drastically almost overnight. On April 9, nearly a month after the early closure of his exhibition, artist Tony Cokes joined philosophy professor and critic Christoph Cox in our first Zoom public program. It was a “meeting” rather than a “webinar.” As such we could scroll through the many screens of attendees from all over the world and were heartened to see both familiar and new faces joining us in the still nascent form of digital community. That public meeting brought attendees from all over the world together in ways we longed for during the beginning of the pandemic and early remote work mandate.

When we realized that we would likely remain closed through the next academic year, we wanted to find a way to hold on to the sense of artist-centered community that our Cokes/Cox program had fostered. We settled on the conversation format—mostly between participants with existing relationships—to bring the warmth, comradery, and the easy yet rigorous exchange that can occur between familiars. Then, we devised a plan to transcribe the audio recordings of these conversations, and work closely with the programs’ participants to edit them into a keepsake illustrated booklet that would be mailed—for free—to anyone who wanted one. Zoom events can feel very ephemeral. Once you close your laptop, they disappear. These booklets, we hope, make these wonderful conversations more tangible, more useful, and even more beautiful in their bright colors and elegant design by Chad Kloepfer.

We have now published our full series of nine booklets, documenting the Carpenter Center’s In Conversation series between April 2020 and April 2021. The series was edited by John Ewing and Laura Preston and coordinated by Sir Porte. While we are no longer able to mail booklets, interested readers can still pick up select remaining copies at our gallery front desk on the third floor of the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts.

Videos of each program are on our website, and if you missed receiving copies in the mail, you can still download each booklet as a PDF. See the full list below. 

- Dan Byers

John R. and Barbara Robinson Family Director

Please email [email protected] if you have issues accessing the PDFs or a question about the series.


Spring 2020

In Conversation: Tony Cokes and Christoph Cox
April 9