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Ulrik López, 'Summon Song I' (detail), Totonaca double head, 2018-2019. Object replicas, fabricated archeological site, and sound. Courtesy the artist, with support from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant.

Telfair’s Jepson Center hosts exploration of modern collections and their origins

SAVANNAH, GA (June 17, 2021) — Telfair Museums in Savannah, Georgia is excited to welcome the traveling exhibition Never Spoken Again: Rogue Stories of Science and Collections.

Curated by David Ayala-Alfonso, Never Spoken Again—on view at Telfair’s Jepson Center from June 18 through Sept. 12, 2021—reflects on the birth of modern collections, the art institutions that sustain them, and their origin stories to reveal a universe of erasures, violence, and fortuity. Considering how institutional collections organize our lives, Never Spoken Again brings together artists whose works open up a critique of material culture, iconography, and political ecologies.

The works on view make use of the language of the museum display and the ethnographical video to uncover stories of colonial exploitation, myths, fake currencies, war games, and the slow violence of systematic racism that historically underpin collecting practices. These practices examine not only the collected objects and the systems of distribution that facilitate their circulation, but also the disciplines and subjects of study that they trade in. Together they open the field for considering our agency in how our histories and futures may be constituted otherwise.

Artists include Morehshin Allahyari, Maria Thereza Alves, François Bucher, Giuseppe Campuzano, Alia Farid, Sofia de Grenade, Roni Horn, Laura Huertas Millán, Ulrik López, Carlos Motta, Erkan Öznur, David Peña Lopera, Claudia Peña Salinas, Michael Rakowitz, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Reyes Santiago Rojas, Ed Ruscha, Daniel R. Small, and Felipe Steinberg. The exhibition tour is organized by Independent Curators International. Telfair’s presentation is organized by Erin Dunn, associate curator of modern and contemporary art.

“I’m thrilled about Never Spoken Again opening at the Jepson, as I’ve discovered Telfair Museums to be a fantastic sounding board for the project,” Ayala-Alfonso said. “The history of the museum, as well as the stories and legends that live in the popular imagination of Savannah, speak loudly to the ideas that motivate this exhibition.”

“In conversation with the historical exhibition Progressive Regression: Examination of a 19th-Century Museum on view at the Telfair Academy, Never Spoken Again offers a present-day reflection of museum histories and the ownership of knowledge through the incisive work of an incredible group of internationally-recognized contemporary artists,” Dunn added.

About the exhibition:

Never Spoken Again: Rogue Stories of Science and Collections is a traveling exhibition curated by David Ayala-Alfonso and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI). It is the result of a new series of programs, pioneered with the support of the Hartfield Foundation, aimed at providing opportunities to alumni of ICI’s Curatorial Intensive as they move through the stages of their career, and reflecting ICI’s commitment to fostering and championing new curatorial voices who will shape the future of the field. Never Spoken Again is made possible with the generous support of ICI’s Board of Trustees and International Forum, with additional support from SAHA.

                    

 

 

 

 

About the curator:

David Ayala-Alfonso is a Colombian curator, artist, and researcher working between Bogotá and London. Ayala-Alfonso has been Curator in Residence and Academic Coordinator at FLORA ars+natura in Bogotá, and lectured in different art schools in the US and Colombia. He has published books and articles on interface theory, Latin American art history, artist-run spaces, performance studies, visual studies, urban sociology, anthropology of education and artistic interventions in the public realm. He is also an occasional collaborator for different academic publications as a writer and a translator. Recent work as a curator and as part of the art collective Grupo 0,29 has been featured at Museos de Arte at Banco de la República in Bogotá, South London Gallery, the David Rockefeller Center at Harvard University, the BMW Guggenheim Lab, Concordia University in Montreal, Columbia College in Chicago, and Centro Cultural La Moneda in Santiago. He has been awarded the Fulbright Grant, the AICAD post-graduate Teaching Fellowship, the ICI-Dedalus Award for Curatorial Research and the Early-concept Grant for Exploratory Research at SAIC. Ayala-Alfonso holds a MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Specialization in Art Education from the National University of Colombia, and is preparing publications on critical heritage, and art in the public realm to be released in 2019.

About ICI:

Independent Curator’s International (ICI) supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement. Curators are arts community leaders and organizers who champion artistic practice, build essential infrastructures and institutions, and generate public engagement with art. Our collaborative programs connect curators across generation and across social political and cultural borders. They form an international framework for sharing knowledge and resources–promoting cultural exchange, access to art and public awareness for the curator’s role. Learn more at http://curatorsintl.org/exhibitions/never-spoken-again.

About Telfair Museums:

Opened in 1886, Telfair Museums is the oldest public art museum in the South and features a world-class art collection in the heart of Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District. The museum encompasses three sites: the Jepson Center for the Arts, the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, and the Telfair Academy. For more information visit telfair.org.