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Marcel Duchamp, A Guest + A Host = A Ghost, 1953 © 2000 Succession Marcel Duchamp ARS, N.Y./ADAGP, Paris.
The Theoretical Show

Open Call for Proposals juried by:

  • Larissa Harris, curator, Queens Museum of Art
  • Naima J. Keith, assistant curator, the Studio Museum in Harlem
  • Prem Krishnamurthy, director & curator, P!; founding principal, Project Project
  • David Senior, bibliographer, Museum of Modern Art Library

All exhibitions start as proposals. In theory, they are all perfect—at least in the eyes of those writing them. But few, if any, are realized to the extent that their creator had originally hoped. What if there was a way to freeze that original moment, when an idea is still fresh and unhampered, pristine and pure?
Recently an intelligent show, scheduled at EFA Project Space for late 2014, unexpectedly fell through. Perhaps this show was only ever meant to be theoretical—not an exhibition with objects. We decided to take this opportunity to think about the relationship between exhibition spaces, curators, and artists, and to consider what exactly it is that we do, as one of many nonprofit spaces in New York that facilitates exhibition-making. “Guest + Host = Ghost,” Marcel Duchamp punned. The assumption is that the gallery is the host and the curator is the guest. But is the gallery also a guest who gets the honor of seeing a show develop? And is the curator a host who does everything within her power to make the show the best it can be? Then are the artists guests of the curator, or hosts of the viewers? And who, or what, is the Ghost?
There are boundaries we face as producers of exhibitions, as hosts and as guests. What if these boundaries didn’t exist? As a way of thinking about these roles and their implications, we are opening our doors to all aspiring and working curators through an open call for the most outrageous, audacious, impossible exhibition proposals imaginable. Please send us proposals for shows regardless of practical limitations—submissions may include any number of artists alive or dead (or none at all), use any locations on this planet (or off), and assume a budget that is limitless. An esteemed jury—Larissa Harris, curator, Queens Museum of Art; Naima J. Keith, assistant curator, the Studio Museum in Harlem; Prem Krishnamurthy, director & curator, P!, and founding principal, Project Project; and David Senior, bibliographer, Museum of Modern Art Library—will evaluate the proposals and select the most outrageous and wonderful to be presented as gallery-ready objects, developed in consultation with the jurors and our staff.
The only stipulations are that proposals should be no longer than 500 words and must in some way respond to the following terms and phrases (suggested by our jury):
Small is beautiful
Flipped on its side
Turned over
All of the proposals, excepting those with content that is deemed offensive, cruel, or inappropriate, will be printed and placed on view in the EFA Project Space gallery for visitors to read.
Please join us in creating The Theoretical Show, a show of exhibitions that could happen only in our dreams.
Deadline for proposals: September 1, 2014
Dates of Exhibition: November 14th–December 20th, 2014

Send proposals to with the subject line: theoretical show. Inline email only; no attachments please.

Currently on View: FAILING TO LEVITATE
June 6 - July 3, 2014

Artists: Anhoek School (orchestrated by Mary Walling Blackburn and Rafael Kelman), A Pattern, Malin Arnell, Ethan Breckenridge, Dillon de Give, Bill Dietz, Danyel Ferrari, Rachel Higgins, Mitch McEwen, Glendalys Medina, Jen Rosenblit
Curated by: Kerry Downey and Natasha Marie Llorens
With guest speaker Heather Love

Failing to Levitate is a platform to think about failure and vulnerability in art practices that are based in the social, in the encounter between people. The project links spaces, bodies, objects, and events in order to consider the ways we gather, socialize, and are affected by the physical conditions of shared space: elevators, board rooms, cars, group exhibitions, Times Square, dance floors. . .

Read the complete press release here.

Tonight, July 1st, 7pm

In conjunction with the exhibition Failing to Levitate, Rachel Higgins and Danyel Ferrari present the projects created via their mobile structures over the course of the exhibition, and Glendalys Medina performs a song about transformation, titled "Caterpillar."

At EFA Project Space, 2nd Floor of EFA Center (323 W. 39th St., Manhattan)
EFA Project Space, launched in September 2008 as a program of The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, is a collaborative, cross-disciplinary arts venue founded on the belief that art is directly connected to the individuals who produce it, the communities that arise because of it, and to everyday life; and that by providing an arena for exploring these connections, we empower artists to forge new partnerships and encourage the expansion of ideas.
The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (EFA) is a 501 (c) (3) public charity. Through its three core programs, EFA Studios, EFA Project Space, and the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, EFA is dedicated to providing artists across all disciplines with space, tools and a cooperative forum for the development of individual practice.
EFA Project Space is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Private funding for the program has been received from Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

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