Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art, Curatorial Practice and Cultural Heritage
Koç University, Istanbul

Guest Curator
David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University

Email: ian [at] aldenrussell [dot] com

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BIOGRAPHY

Ian Alden Russell is a curator, designer and professor based in Istanbul, Turkey. He is currently Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art, Curatorial Practice and Cultural Heritage at Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey. He is also Guest Curator at Brown University’s David Winton Bell Gallery assisting with the 250th Anniversary Alumni Exhibition, featuring works by Taryn Simon, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Sarah Morris, Kerry Tribe, Rob Reynolds, and Dawn Clements. He previously curated the premiers of The Strangest Fruit (2013) by Vincent ValdezWafaa Bilal’s The Ashes Series (2003-2013) and Jin Shan’s My dad is Li Gang! 我爸是李刚! (2012).

With an academic background in intellectual history, archaeology, and heritage studies, he studies the practice of artists and curators in galleries, museums, heritage sites, and public spaces, especially the application of social practice in the constitution of cultural heritage. He is the editor of Art and Archaeology (Springer: 2014), Unquiet Pasts (Ashgate, 2010), and Images, Representations, and Heritage (Springer: 2006), and he is the author of many articles and essays on contemporary art, cultural heritage, archaeology, and critical theory. He is currently editing a new volume entitled Art/Archaeology (Routledge) with Michael Shanks and Mike Pearson, due to be published in 2015. He received his Ph.D. in History from Trinity College, Dublin and has held research fellowships at the University of Notre Dame, University College Dublin, and Brown University.

LIFE AND INTERESTS

Born in Richmond, Virginia and educated in Dublin, Ireland, I completed my undergraduate degree at Trinity College Dublin in Archaeology and Ancient History. I continued at Trinity to undertake a Ph.D. studying the power of the past in contemporary socio-political discourses and, all the while, worked as a contemporary art technician at the Douglas Hyde Gallery.

While I interrogated the role of cultural objects in Irish psycho-social discourse, I received an informal apprenticeship in contemporary art theory and practice with some of the world’s renowned contemporary artists through the Douglas Hyde Gallery. As I shared my misgivings about the reductive and authoritarian role of museums, archaeologists and curators, artists (whose work I was installing) introduced me to Duchamp and the Dadaists and the Surrealists. I became fascinated with how modern art could produce decisive criticism of essentialist and positivist interpretations of objects/images, while over the 20th century archaeology and anthropology seemed to have developed a disciplinary structure immune to these critiques. Simply put, while art became subjective, conceptual and post-object, social sciences became increasingly object-oriented, Cartesian and positivist.

Both art and archaeology deal in things, relationality, process and mediation, and through my PhD, I examined the roots of the schism between these once kindred interests. I studied both the shared history in the predisciplinary work of early antiquarians and the impact of technological progress on the development of distinct disciplines with distinct intellectual agendas and trajectories.

While I had written extensively about the need for collaborative exchanges between artists, archaeologists and heritage professionals, I decided that arguing for change was not enough. So in 2006, I became the change I wanted to see in the world. I began establishing artist residencies within research projects and curating arts exhibitions, commissions, public art installations and interventions. I have been fortunate to work in a number of scenarios from galleries to museums to sculpture parks to site-specific and site-responsive projects in Ireland, UK and the United States. Broadly interested in the creative mediation and recalibration of contemporary temporal and social relations, I strive to open ‘heritage’ spaces or spaces with perceived ‘stopped time’ to artistic activation and intervention.

NOTABLE CURATORIAL PROJECTS

2013
Vincent Valdez | The Strangest Fruit @ David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University

Kelli Rae Adams | Breaking Even @ David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University

Wafaa Bilal | The Ashes Series @ David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University

2012
Jin Shan 靳山 | My dad is Li Gang! 我爸是李刚! @ David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University

rolemodelplaytime @ David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University

Zimoun @ David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University

Betsey Biggs | The Providence Postcard Project @ Brown University

2011
Dennis McNulty | Space Replaced by Volume & Windshield (2011) @ Brown University

2010
Nigel Rolfe @ Sculpture in the Parklands as part of EU Transformations

Fiona Hallinan | Roadscore @ Brown University

Theoretical Archaeology Group 2010 Arts Program

2009
Sean Lynch | Clanbrassil Street ‘Zines

Ursula Rani Sarma | The Home Project

One & Other with Anthony Gormley

Camera Obscura with National College of Art & Design

2008
Ábhar agus Meon Exhibition Series

Fiona Hallinan | The You That Is In It @ Irish Museum of Modern Art

Chronoscope with the Green On Red Gallery

Glass House Stone @ UCD Health Sciences Gallery

2006-present
IRAC

DEGREES

Ph.D. – Trinity College Dublin (2006) – History
B.A. – Trinity College Dublin (2002) – Archaeology and Ancient History

FELLOWSHIPS

2011-present
Fellow in Urban Cultural Heritage and Creative Practice, Brown University, John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage

2010-2011
Postdoctoral Fellow in Public Arts and Cultural Heritage, Brown University, John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage

2009
Postdoctoral Fellow, University College Dublin, John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies

2008-2009
Postdoctoral Fellow, University College Dublin, School of Archaeology

2008
Postdoctoral Fellow, University College Dublin, Humanities Institute of Ireland,

2007-2008
NEH Keough Fellow, University of Notre Dame, Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies

2007
Research Associate, Trinity College Dublin, School of Histories and Humanities, Digital Image Project

HONORS AND AWARDS:

2004-2005 Government of Ireland Broad Curriculum Studentship
2002-2004 Trinity College Dublin Postgraduate Studentship
2002 Award for Excellence, National Student Media Awards, Ireland
2001 News Photographer of the Year, National Student Media Awards, Ireland

AFFILIATIONS

David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University – Guest Curator
Center for Heritage and Society, UMass Amherst – Associate Fellow
Humanities Institute of Ireland, University College Dublin – Associate Fellow
Metamedia Lab, Stanford University
European Association of Archaeologists
World Archaeological Congress
Association of Social Anthropologists

FUNDED RESEARCH

2011-2013
International Seed Grant from the Office of International Affairs, Brown University
For: Urban Cultural Heritage & Creative Practice

2010-2011
Grant from the Office of International Affairs, Brown University
For: The International Graduate Colloquium ‘The Archive and the Ephemeral’ organised with Hollis Mickey

2010-2011
Grant from the Creative Arts Council, Brown University
For: Artist residency and public sculptur commisison for artist Dennis McNulty

2010-2011
Grant from the Creative Arts Council, Brown University
For: ‘The Archive and the Ephemeral’ conversations with artists Corin Hewitt, Miriam Ghani and Chitra Ganesh with Rebecca Schneider and Hollis Mickey

2010-2011
Grant from the Center for Digital Scholarship, Brown University
For: ‘Dynamic Representations’ – a project to develop a new digital application for manipulating and mediating digital image collections

2010
Grant from Offaly County Council via the Heritage Council of Ireland
For: ‘West Offaly Heritage: New media, new audiences’ with John Nicholas Brown Center, Brown University

2010
Grant from Culture Ireland
For: ‘Roadscore’ by Fiona Hallinan at the John Nicholas Brown Center, Brown University

2008
Commissions Grant from the Arts Council of Ireland
For: ‘The You That Is In It’ by Fiona Hallinan at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

2008
Grant from University College Dublin Seed Funding Programme
For: Sixth World Archaeological Congress Fringe & Ábhar agus Meon: Materials and Mentalities

2008
Grant from University of Notre Dame Office of Research
For: Ábhar agus Meon: Materials and Mentalities

2008
Grant from Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, University of Notre Dame
For: Ábhar agus Meon: Materials and Mentalities

2008
Grant from Foras na Gaeilge
For: Sixth World Archaeological Congress Fringe & Ábhar agus Meon: Materials and Mentalities

2006-2007
Grant from Trinity College Research Capacity Building Scheme
For: Digital Image Project

2006-2007
Grant from Trinity College Provost’s Fund for the Visual Arts
For: ‘Reflexive Representations’ Exhibitions