In connection with the exhibition “Jill Johnston, The Disintegration of a Critic”, Plattform invites to a conversation between the curators of the show, Megan Francis Sullivan, Fiona McGovern, and Axel Wieder, moderated by Kristian Vistrup Madsen.
The conversation will discuss some current interests in the work of Jill Johnston, in which autobiography, historical narrative, and political activism overlap. An important raconteur of the avant-garde movements of the 1960s, such as Judson Dance Theater and Fluxus, she was also an outspoken radical feminist and pushed the boundaries of criticism and fiction. The three curators, joined by writer and critic Kristian Vistrup Madsen, will discuss their collaboration and the process involved in approaching Johnston’s work, addressing the questions: How to write about art, and how to make an exhibition about writing?
The conversation will be followed by a screening of “Town Bloody Hall” (Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker, 1979, 88 min). The film documents a 1971 debate between Norman Mailer, the author of “The Prisoner of Sex”, and four feminist writers – Germaine Greer, Diana Trilling, Jacqueline Ceballos, and Jill Johnston.
The conversation will be in English, and will be streamed live on our website, Facebook and Vimeo.
“Jill Johnston, The Disintegration of a Critic” is a research project and publication dedicated to the cultural critic, writer and lesbian icon Jill Johnston (1929–2010). Starting in the early 1960s, Johnston made a name for herself though a recurring dance column in the New York-based weekly newspaper The Village Voice, chronicling the avant-garde movements at the time. Her observations expanded to include her own life and social and political surroundings, leading to the book “Lesbian Nation” (1973), which soon became a radical-feminist classic. Her personal and reflected style of writing, and the way in which she linked culture to political observations, broke with established notions of criticism and became influential for following generations of critics and writers. The exhibition focuses on the writing of Jill Johnston as a unique practice in the context of the post-1960s avant-garde and explores links between artistic practices and social politics.
Megan Francis Sullivan is an artist living in Berlin.
Fiona McGovern is an art historian, writer, and curator based in Berlin. Since 2018, she holds a junior professorship in curatorial practice and art mediation at the University of Hildesheim.
Axel Wieder is the director of Bergen Kunsthall.
Kristian Vistrup Madsen is a writer and critic based in Berlin. His writing has been published in Artforum, Frieze, Kunstkritikk and Glänta, among others.
Plattform is Bergen Kunsthall’s lecture series connected to our exhibition programme and wider contemporary debates. Supported by Fritt Ord.
Please join us also on 8 June at 15:00 for a workshop with the artist and filmmaker Petra Bauer: On Feminist Organizing and Resistance.