Gavin Kroeber is an artist whose projects and writings poach from visual art, urban theory, and performance. He produces performance events and curatorial projects that are concerned broadly with cultural dynamics of power and in particular with their expression in the poetics of place. His current work is focused on the extreme urbanism of America's Western Sun Belt and redirective approaches to landscape. Recent and upcoming projects include At the Edge of Everything Else, a temporary interdisciplinary social space for artists, architects, and urbanists; the performance-lecture Verdant Cities: A Warning; and the two-day event Dwell in Other Futures: Art / Urbanism / Midwest. He is Artistic Director of the arts initiative New Cities, Future Ruins and half of the event-based collaborative Experience Economies (with Rebecca Uchill) and holds a Master of Design Studies in Art, Design, and the Public Domain from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
This essay, a contribution to PAJ’s 2015 special section on “urban dramaturgies”, describes the emergence of event-based art production mega-venues like New York City’s Park Avenue Armory and Governors Island and analyzes the discourse of experience driving a mutual recomposition of art and the city. Comparing the contemporary event landscape with the city’s historical role in festive-Marxist thought as a landscape of radical events, the piece traces the evolving braid of art and urbanism in Western culture. It asks what an avowal of art’s urban effects and the city’s aesthetic aspects might mean for institutional practices in both of the increasingly blurred arenas of art and urbanism.