Documentation video of FAILUREtalks dinner symposium

by Julie Casper Roth


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you are invited to join us

This spring the MFA program in the University at Albany Department of Art is delving into questions about FAILURE as a means for discussing artistic process and production. Programming around these issues is being developed and archived on this blog.

Please join us for a dinner and conversation with our Visiting Artists on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 7pm at

The Boor Sculpture Center, University at Albany. *Parking info.*

Presenters: Kambui Olujimi, Nao Bustamante, David Shapiro

Moderator: Shane Aslan Selzer

Please RSVP by March 6, 2011 to

FAILUREtalks is also cosponsoring a public lecture by Pepón Osorio as part of the ACT series at The University Art Museum on March 21, 2011 at 7pm.

Additionally, Osorio will hold a roundtable discussion on issues pertaining to failure, for graduate students on campus.

FAILUREtalks is a series of programs supported by University at Albany Department of Art, the Graduate Student Organization, and the University Art Museum.

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FAILUREtalks is a symposium at a dinner party in our shop

You are invited to a dinner on March 22, 2011  at 7pm  in The Boor Sculpture Center, University at Albany. Please RSVP at

FAILUREtalks is a forum to address instability, rejection and perhaps (although not necessarily) progress. It takes the form of a dinner party where 4 invited guest artists will present about their work in terms of failure and process.

The impetus for this event comes from a climate of failure and a prevailing culture of FAIL. This year the University at Albany announced plans to cut the French, Italian, Russian, Classics, and Theater Programs, making a national statement about the future of a publicly funded humanities education. Failure is like the elephant in the room; the collapse of programming, the uncertainty of jobs, and the pressures within an individual practice – these anxieties come into the studio and go back out.

John Currin gave a lecture this summer in Maine where he showed sixteen slides of a single painting that he was having difficulty resolving over the course of a two year period. The many incarnations of the painting and the struggles to resolve and rework it gave insight into Currin’s process from an alternate perspective, a departure from the formal “artist talk”. It begged questions about what fails in the format of the practiced art lecture. We rarely see the failed moments, the project that didn’t make it into the portfolio, the breakdown of a project inside the studio that causes another path to be taken, the miscalculated bushwhacked path of making and doing.

So the question is; if we can create a scenario that promotes vulnerability, a dinner party among peers, can we end up with a different kind of artist talk. One about failure and missteps? What can we learn from our admissions of failure individually and collectively? When we FAIL, then what happens?

– Shane Aslan Selzer   December 21, 2010
(artist, adjunct lecturer University at Albany Graduate Fine Arts)


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