Flux Night Scores with Nato Thompson

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Nato Thompson.

Flux Night is on hiatus this year but will be back on October 3, 2015, with another star curator at the helm: Nato Thompson, chief curator of Creative Time in New York. Creative Time is well known for its temporary yet substantial public art projects, such as its At 44 1/2 series, which played an artist’s video every hour on the MTV HD billboard screen in Times Square.

Thompson, a veritable ball of energy, joined the organization in 2007 and immediately set about organizing its ambitious Creative Time Summit, which launched in 2009. It brings together artists whose work addresses social and political issues. This year is the first that the conference will not take place in New York; it’s going on the road, to Stockholm, Sweden, November 14-15.

He was also responsible for Kara Walker’s recent smashing sugary success A Subtlety, and such other memorable projects as Paul Chan’s Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007) and Mike Nelson’s A Psychic Vacuum (organized with Peter Eleey), a labyrinthine, mind-bending installation in a disused building on the Lower East Side.

According to Flux Projects, the 2013 Flux Night, curated by Helena Reckitt, drew 20,000 people. Not all of them were there for the art, however, as the event has become as much a Castleberry Hill street party as it is an art exhibition.

“We decided to pause Flux Night for a year in order to spend time growing the event,” says executive director Anne A. Dennington in a press statement.” “We want to increase the scale of the projects and find more ways for them to connect with our audience.” (A strategy that Art on the BeltLine might want to consider.)

Prior to Creative Time, Thompson was curator at MASS MoCA, where his 2004 show “The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere” was a harbinger of his career trajectory. That same year, he received the College Art Association’s award for distinguished writing in its Art Journal. His book Seeing Power: Socially Engaged Art in the Age of Cultural Production was published by Melville House in 2012.

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