History of the program
Initiated in 2000 through support from the Missouri Arts Council, the Visiting Critic and Curator Program (VCCP) is designed to engage Kansas City artists in a dialogue with nationally recognized curators and critics. Hosted on a biennial basis by the Artspace, VCCP invites submissions through an open call to artists as well as submissions from Kansas City artists and M.F.A. and B.F.A. candidates in their final year.
VCCP invites a nationally recognized critic or curator –– alternating between critic and curator for each program –– to select a group of Kansas City artists for individual studio visits and discussions in Kansas City. The program opens up a dialogue between a Kansas City artist and a critic or curator from outside of the region and exposes the visiting critic or curator to the dynamic contemporary arts scene in Kansas City. The Artspace organizes a public lecture by the visiting critic or curator as the culmination of the program.
The first "Kansas City Flatfile" exhibition was held at the Artspace in 2001 in conjunction with the "Pierogi Flatfiles" exhibition featuring flatfiles from Joe Amrhein's Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn, N.Y. The "Kansas City Flatfile" has since become a biennial invitational exhibition featuring a wide range of work by emerging and established artists from the Kansas City area.
The exhibitions include two-dimensional work in various media including drawing, photography, print, painting and mixed media. All of the work is contained in individual portfolios enclosed in flatfile cabinets. Visitors are invited to browse the files and handle the work, which offers a unique and personal viewing experience. In addition, the exhibition includes a videofile featuring a variety of time-based work which viewers can select and watch at their leisure.
Throughout the exhibitions guest curators from the Kansas City area and surrounding region are invited to curate temporary salon-style presentations from the flatfiles. The "Kansas City Flatfile" exhibitions have a studio-like characteristic for the participating artists and the public and encourage a natural exchange of ideas and practices through a hands-on approach.
The "Kansas City Flatfile" provides an opportunity for a wide range of Kansas City artists to show their work to an equally diverse audience, which often includes arts professionals and collectors in the Kansas City area and beyond. Artists are invited to participate and submission to the Artspace's Visiting Critic and Curator Program places artists on this list.
Pictured at left: Artist, alumna and Greenlease Gallery director Anne Austin Pearce reviews an artist portfolio with a Rockhurst student.