Critical Conversations Lecture: Amanda Donnan @ Reed College

May 20, 2024

Promotional poster for "CRITICAL CONVERSATIONS" event featuring a portrait of a woman with short blonde hair on the right, and event details on the left with sponsors' logos below. Event with Amanda Donnans at Reed College on May 25, 2024, at 3:00 p.m.

Dreaming, doubting: artistic strategies within and against the museum

Saturday, May 25, 2024 at 3:00 p.m. 

Reed College Chapel

3203 SE Woodstock Blvd, Portland, OR

*Free and open to the public

Join us for this Critical Conversations lecture with Amanda Donnan!

It is now widely recognized that museums are not neutral containers for art. As theorized by Brian O’Doherty and Aruna D’Souza, among others, museums are ideological constructs that legitimate art objects as commodities and reproduce dominant (and dominating) ways of seeing the world. In this talk, curator Amanda Donnan considers contemporary artistic approaches to working within and against the museum’s’ collecting, display, and programmatic conventions to propose alternative models. Reflecting on a selection of her recent projects and current research, she addresses the museum’s role as a site of colonialist extraction and Indigenous resistance through Omaskêko Cree artist Duane Linklater’s work; a space of self-care and communality in the participatory “clinic” Group Therapy (2018); and secular temple for the practice of attention in ESTAR(SER)’s collection intervention The Third, Meaning (2022).  

Amanda Donnan is a Seattle-based curator with twenty years of experience in non-profit art organizations. She was formerly Chief Curator & Director of Exhibitions at Frye Art Museum, where she oversaw the artistic program and organized more than thirty exhibitions between 2017 and 2024. Her projects at the Frye include the solo or two-person presentations Jessica Jackson Hutchins: Wrecked and Righteous (2024), duane linklater: mymothersside (2021; traveled to MCA Chicago and Berkeley Art Museum), Dress Codes: Ellen Lesperance and Diane Simpson (2019), and Tschabalala Self (2019), as well as group exhibitions Door to the Atmosphere (2022; co-curated with Srijon Chowdhury) and Group Therapy (2018). Previously Donnan was Curator at Seattle University’s Hedreen Gallery; Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, where she was also part of the 2013 Carnegie International curatorial team; and Production Coordinator at Art21 in New York. She holds an MA in art history and criticism from Stony Brook University and dual BFA and BS degrees in visual arts and art education for museums from Pennsylvania State University.

About Critical Conversations:

Critical Conversations provides a space for artists and cultural producers that is rooted in exchange and inquiry. Organizing partners facilitate a year-round calendar of studio visits for Oregon artists by prominent visiting curators and arts writers, who also offer public lectures and other forms of engagement to our community. Recognizing the nexus between artists and those who reflect upon and present their work, Critical Conversations also sponsors a series of convenings, commissioned writing, and an annual publication that specifically engage Oregon’s curators and arts writers around currents in society and the field. 

Critical Conversations is a collaboration between The Ford Family Foundation and University of Oregon's Center for Art Research in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art at Willamette University, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Portland State University, and the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery at Reed College.