An Organized System of Instructions

Martin Beck
James Voorhies
Keller Easterling

Conversation Documentation
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Artists Space
55 Walker Street

On the occasion of the launch of An Organized System of Instructions, architect and writer Keller Easterling talks with artist Martin Beck and curator James Voorhies about Beck’s two-year exhibition titled Program, which occurred from 2014 to 2016 at Harvard University’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, and the publication that resulted from the project.

The book analyzes, situates and extends Beck’s work with Program, which manifested through a sequence of interventions, installations, events, and publications drawing on the exhibition histories and academic pursuits of the Carpenter Center and Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard. This sequence—each node of which Beck considers an episode—lent particular attention to the founding program of the Carpenter Center (the only building in North America to be designed by the Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier), which sought to cultivate its position as simultaneously an iconic modernist building, school, and exhibition venue.

Edited by James Voorhies with contributions by Beck, Easterling, James Goggin, Alex Kitnick, and Voorhies, An Organized System of Instructions is both a document of Program and an extension of the exhibition.

Martin Beck is a New York-based artist whose works often draw from the fields of architecture, design, and popular culture. In 2017 Beck’s work has been presented in solo exhibitions at the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Vienna, at The Kitchen in New York, and at Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst in Leipzig. Beck's books include Summer Winter East West (2015), the particular way in which a thing exists (2013), The Aspen Complex (2012), and About the Relative Size of Things in the Universe (2007).

James Voorhies is a curator and art historian of modern and contemporary art. He is Dean of Fine Arts and Associate Professor of Contemporary Art at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Prior to CCA, he was the first John R. and Barbara Robinson Family Director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University. His book Beyond Objecthood: The Exhibition as a Critical Form since 1968 was published by MIT Press in 2017.

Keller Easterling is an architect, writer and professor at Yale University. Her most recent book, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (Verso, 2014), examines global infrastructure networks as a medium of polity. The journals to which she has contributed include Domus, Artforum, Grey Room, Cabinet, Volume, Assemblage, e-flux, Log, Praxis, Harvard Design Magazine, Perspecta, and ANY.

Videography by
Iki Nakagawa &
Jason Hirata