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Friday Forum

Man in dark suit with dark beard and glasses smiling
Friday, March 1
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU
601 W. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23220

Dominic Willsdon

Executive Director, Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU

Topic: Museum as Event

Museums used to be spaces with more or less permanent displays of objects that you could visit whenever. Contemporary museums are different. They are as much temporal as spatial, as much about the schedule as the map. Nothing is a better index of this change, over the last two decades, than the increased presence of performance and other art events in museums. But it is not just about adding new kinds of programs. Contemporary museums don’t just present art events – in some ways, they have become art events. This deeply affects how museums communicate and connect with the public. I would like to describe these changes, from the point of view of my work as a curator of talks, performance and film events, and now as the director of an institute (rather than a museum) for contemporary art.


Dominic Willsdon has been Executive Director of the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU since December 2018. Formerly, he was Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Practice at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006-18) and, before that, Curator of Public Programs at Tate Modern in London (2000-2005). Recent projects include the book Public Servants: Art and the Crisis of the Common Good (2016) and the exhibition Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here (2019).