Burton and Judy Onofrio Gallery

January 22, 2016 – May 8, 2016

VIP PREVIEW, 5:30 – 6:30 pm

Art as Social Activism: An Intergenerational Conversation with the Guerrilla Girls and Amanda Curreri, 7:30 pm

Join us for a lively discussion on the occasion of the opening of Rochester Art Center’s Spring 2016 exhibition, Amanda Curreri: The Calmest of Us Would Be Lunatics. Centering on common conceptual threads across their practices, Curreri together with The Guerrilla Girls, will consider visual strategies, how social justice and cultural topics inform their work, and invoking social activism as a methodology for engagement.


Drawing from both archival materials and contemporary content, Curreri’s practice investigates, re-contextualizes, and reflects aspects of cultural production and social histories within actual and constructed radical, feminist, and queer historiographies. For her first solo exhibition in Minnesota, The Calmest of Us Would Be Lunatics emphasizes the active role of the archive, the power of the past to inform the future, and presents a call to action through engagement.

The galleries visually and conceptually correspond with three elements of communication present in the work: language, color, and action. Curreri will present new and recent works including paintings, sculpture, prints, video, and performance. Beginning with an archival room featuring materials from the University of Minnesota’s Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection, the show charts a course that mirrors the artist’s process of discovering past and present models that demonstrate cross-cultural, intergenerational and diverse examples of resistance, organizing, ‘the everyday activist’ and the activity of collecting as preservation, and empowered world-making. The collaboration with the Tretter Collection serves as an intentional decentering of queer history from canonized centers such as New York and San Francisco, to illuminate how Minnesota was and continues to be a site of many ‘firsts’ and pivotal moments in queer history.

A new series of paintings, Eff, will be exhibited around the theme of effigies to various individuals that hold significance for the artist, including the late writer Adrienne Rich, Flo Jo, Tommy Smith and John Carlos. Curreri will also present an iteration of CLAMS, a series of intimate dinners prepared and hosted by the artist where the public is invited to sign up to participate in a dinner of mussels inspired by Italian-American Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti. The work is as much a catalyst for creating conversation around self-organizing communities, neighborhood education initiatives, and local economies, as it is an excuse to spend quality time with people.

From a cancelled Korean television show named Club Daughters of Bilitis (after the first lesbian civil and political rights organization in the United States formed in San Francisco in 1955) to the Black Lives Matter movement, to ERNEST (a group that Curreri is a member of that employs non-hierarchical collaborative working models) the exhibition and related programming are exercises in exploring and encouraging collaboration, calling on the participation of many additional entities such as c3: Initiative, Portland, OR; Tretter Archivist Lisa Vecoli; Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz, writer, archivist, and librarian. From an Art and Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, to readings that have informed and inspired Curreri’s work, engagement with the show is fostered throughout, the efforts combining to demystify the process of creating community by incorporating the exhibition itself as a platform for dialogue and connection.


Born in Boston, MA, Amanda Curreri is an interdisciplinary artist and educator currently teaching as a faculty member at the School of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati, in Cincinnati, OH. Her practice focuses on presenting personal and social histories regarding public experiences of intersubjectivity. Informed by social activism and built within the vernacular of visual language, her work creates frameworks for re-thinking power relationships.

Curreri has recently exhibited at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; Ortega y Gasset Projects, NY; and the Incheon Women’s Biennale, Korea. She is a recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship (2009) and a SF Guardian Goldie Award (2010). Curreri holds an MFA from the California College of the Arts, a BFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and a BA from Tufts University in Sociology and Peace and Justice Studies.

Curreri is represented by Romer Young Gallery in San Francisco, CA.

Amanda Curreri: The Calmest of Us Would Be Lunatics is organized by RAC and curated by Susannah Magers, Curator, Art and Public Engagement.


Saturday, February 27, 2016, 2 pm
Minnesota NICE!: A Presentation by Lisa Vecoli

Lisa Vecoli, Curator of the Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies at the University of Minnesota, will present Minnesota NICE! Making GLBT History in the Heartland. While almost everyone has heard of Stonewall and Harvey Milk, GLBT history was made in big and small ways all over the country. Minnesota has played a role in many important moments in GLBT history. Please join us for this brief survey of Minnesota GLBT history, and the contents of the Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies at the University of Minnesota Libraries.

Saturday, March 5, 2016, 10 – 5 pm
Grand Lobby at Rochester Art Center
Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

Join us for an all-day communal updating of Wikipedia entries on subjects related to art and feminism. We will provide tutorials for beginner Wikipedians, reference materials, and refreshments.

Friday, March 18, 2016, 7 pm
CLAMS: A Socially-Minded Dinner
Burton and Judy Onofrio Galleries

Curreri often works in a more social and participatory way. The CLAMS dinner is a re-occurring hosted event and discussion facilitated by the artist and RAC. Sign up in the gallery space to participate in a dinner of mussels prepared by the artist and inspired by Italian-American Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti.

Lending Library Talks, 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Every 2nd and 4th Saturday each month, January 30 through May 8, 2016
Burton and Judy Onofrio Galleries

Examining ideas, theories and activist ideologies reflected in the work of Amanda Curreri, the Lending Library Talks are an informal reading group that will meet to discuss specific texts the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. Join us for an informal and relaxed discussion of the work in the show and ideas found therein. Check the RAC Facebook group for details on reading list for each meeting.