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On this episode of Previously Unknown, we look ahead to Dangerous Art, Endangered Artists, a landmark symposium taking place at Independent  organized by Art at a Time Like This and Artists at Risk Connection. The talks will highlight the challenges of censorship faced by artists around the world and the strong links between art and human rights. On the podcast, we hear from guests Barbara Pollack, the co-founder of Art At a Time Like This, and symposium speakers Laura Raicovich and Xiaoyu Weng, both of whom have confronted issues of censorship firsthand.



Previously Unknown Podcast Episode 6: Dangerous Art, Endangered Artists - Features - Independent Art Fair

Barbara Pollack is the co-founder of Art at a Time Like This, a nonprofit organization providing platforms for free expression to artists addressing pressing issues of the 21st century. This organization’s projects have been covered by publications and news outlets ranging from the New York Times, Hyperallergic, Gagosian Quarterly, the Artnewspaper and Artnet to the Jakarta Post, Bijitsu Tokyo, Latina Prensa and Capital Ethiopia.

Since 1994, Pollack contributed articles, catalog essays and books on emerging art centers, especially China, for the New York Times, Vanity Fair, the Village Voice, Artnews, Art in America and Art and Auction, among others.  More recently her writings have appeared in Ursula, Plus, and Screenbodies.  A leading expert on Chinese contemporary art, Pollack curated Mirror Image: A Transformation of Chinese Identity at Asia Society in 2022, among other significant exhibitions in the U.S. and China.  Pollack has published two books, Brand New Art from China: A Generation on the Rise (Bloomsbury, 2018) and The Wild, Wild East:  An American Art Critic's Adventures in China (Timezone 8, 2010). Most recently, she contributed an essay on a new monograph on Zeng Fanzhi for Hauser and Wirth Publishing. She has been awarded two Asia Cultural Council fellowships and an Andy Warhol Creative Capital Arts Writer grant.

Previously Unknown Podcast Episode 6: Dangerous Art, Endangered Artists - Features - Independent Art Fair

Xiaoyu Weng is an award-winning curator and writer based in New York. Her curatorial and writing practices focus on the impact of globalization, identity, and decolonization, as well as the intersection of art, science, and technology. Most recently, she was the Carol and Morton Rapp Curator, and head of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto, Canada. Previously, she was The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Associate Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, where she curated highly acclaimed exhibitions Tales of Our Time (2016–17) and One Hand Clapping (2018). Featuring newly commissioned artworks by thirteen artists and artist collectives, the exhibitions challenge myths of identity and nation-state constructions. In 2018-2019, Weng served as the curator of the 5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art in Yekaterinburg, Russia. The biennial was awarded the “Best Exhibition of the Year” by the Art Newspaper Russia. Weng was the director and curator of Asia Programs at Kadist Art Foundation (Paris/San Francisco, 2010-2015). She continues to serve as a program and collection advisor for the Foundation. She writes regularly on contemporary art and visual culture and has published widely in catalogues and periodicals.

Previously Unknown Podcast Episode 6: Dangerous Art, Endangered Artists - Features - Independent Art Fair

Laura Raicovich is a New York City-based writer and curator. Her recent book, Culture Strike: Art and Museums in an Age of Protest, was published in 2021 by Verso Books and is being translated into Arabic, Portuguese, and Italian. She is editor and curator of Protodispatch, a digital publication featuring artists’ takes on the local and global conditions that make their work necessary; she initiated the forum with Mari Spirito and Protocinema in 2022. In 2020, Raicovich became a co-founder of Urban Front, a transcontinental consultancy addressing the challenges facing cities through a progressive cultural and activist lens. With a collective of artists, musicians, and culture workers, Raicovich recently opened The Francis Kite Club, a bar/cultural/activist space in NYC’s East Village. She is also working on a new book project titled 31 Women, as well as a podcast series, Cultural Counterpower, produced by Politics in Motion. 

While Director of the Queens Museum from 2015 to 2018, Raicovich co-curated Mel Chin: All Over the Place (2018), a multi-borough survey of the artist's work. Raicovich then served as Interim Director of the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art; was a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at the Bellagio Center; and was awarded the inaugural Emily H. Tremaine Journalism Fellowship for Curators at Hyperallergic. Previously, she held positions at Creative Time, Dia Art Foundation, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Public Art Fund. 

Raicovich is the author of At the Lightning Field (CHP 2017) and A Diary of Mysterious Difficulties (Publication Studio 2014); she is co-editor of Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production (OR 2017) and Studies into Darkness: The Perils and Promise of Freedom of Speech (Amherst Press 2022). She lectures internationally.