FRESNO — Independent scholar and critic Neery Melkonian will give a talk on “What Comes After Undoing Denial: Reflections on Contemporary Art and Exhibition Practices in the Armenian Diaspora ” at 7:30PM on Wednesday, November 18, in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, Room 191, on the Fresno State campus.

The lecture is part of the Armenian Studies Program Fall 2015 Lecture Series, with the support of the Leon S. Peters Foundation.

Through several groundbreaking curatorial undertakings, 2015 marked a paradigm shift in the way contemporary Armenian Diaspora artistic practices are contextualized and exhibited globally (i.e. Venice and Istanbul Biennials). Following a brief overview of what came before (i.e. Blind Dates Project, Pratt Institute, NY) or through more conventional practices and institutional settings (i.e. Life 100, Brand Library, LA) this slide presentation focuses on the Armenian participation at international exhibitions that challenge prescribed/inherited perceptions of collective identities.

Melkonian examines how transnational art and exhibition making strategies serve as platforms for newly found subjectivities to undo denial and gain agency by re-inscribing, revaluing, renewing even disrupting, fixed cultural identifications. The talk also addresses the changing role of art patronage, research, publications, education, and social media as they bridge the gaps (i.e. between inside/outside, past/future, local/global, space/place), and anchor the need towards the production of a more connective (art and exhibition) histories.

Neery Melkonian is a New York based independent researcher, writer, curator and lecturer in modern and contemporary art. She is the director of Blind Dates – an ongoing curatorial project which involved thirteen newly commissioned research based artworks created by ‘match-made’ artistic couples whose collaborations deal with the lingering effects of the Ottoman rupture.

As an art advisor she has worked with artists, art history graduate students, collectors and patrons of art, as well as with non-profit cultural institutions. As founding director of NK Arts, a small non-profit dedicated to stimulating economic growth and social recovery – Livelihood Aesthetics – in the disputed and war torn post Soviet enclave of Nagorno Karabagh, Melkonian produced a music, film and dance festivals as well as reactivated artisan cottage industries (2001-2006).

The lecture is free and open to the public. Free parking is available, with parking code 273622, in Fresno State Lots P5 and P6, near the University Business Center.

For more information about the lecture please contact the Armenian Studies Program at 278-2669, or visit our website at

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