DC Arts Center’s Curatorial Initiative | Labor of Fire

By East City Art Editorial Team on February 12, 2024

Fri, February 16 2024 — Sun, March 17 2024

Fanni Somogyi, Precariously Placed, 2023, Beams, plexiglass, dust collected through sweeping in studio space, Dimensions: 25 x 12 x 24 inches
Opening Reception: Friday, February 16 from 7-9pm

This exhibition is free and open to the public.

As part of The DC Arts Center’s Curatorial initiative, curator Benedetta Castrioto presents Labor of Fire, an exhibition about the economics and the politics of the art world, featuring sculpture, multimedia installations, performance and time-based media.

The selected artists, janet e. dandridge, Julia Kwon, Fanni Somogyi and Isabella Whitfield, turn their artistic labor into a subject of inquiry as well as its means. Tracing within the art object the stories and processes of its own production, they recast the work of art as a fossil of labor itself.

Faced with this collection of practices and works, visitors are invited to reflect on meditation, manual and administrative work, maintenance, care and craft as equally important and connected forms of worldmaking—thoughtful, directed action with the power to shape our social structure.

“I would like visitors to consider all the types of labor they themselves perform in their life, and how and why that work is valued by them and by others. In this reflection, I hope they find a sense of fellowship with artists, who are, in the words of Helen Molesworth, “in and of the world,” produced by it and engaging with it in a multitude of ways, as we all are,” said curator Benedetta Castrioto. “Curating Labor of Fire has been an incredibly formative experience. I am grateful to The DC Arts Center for the opportunity and for being open to a dialogue on equitable institutional practices.”

“Labor of Fire is a call for self-reflection, inviting the custodians of artistic expression to critically examine the very essence of their existence,” said DCAC Executive Director Sean Elias. “I so appreciate the spirit of inquiry inherent in the piece, aimed at forging a path towards a more profound understanding of our collective purpose and impact. It’s also our first exhibition in our newly renovated space and I cannot wait to welcome everyone back to the new DC Arts Center!”

Additional financial support for Labor of Fire was provided by Awesome Foundation DC.

About The DC Arts Center’s Curatorial Initiative

The DC Arts Center’s Curatorial Initiative reflects our commitment to curatorial practice as an integral part of supporting emerging and underrepresented artists. Each year, two apprentice curators are selected to gain experience in planning and mounting an exhibition by working with an experienced mentor curator. The program results in three exhibitions over the course of the year. The first exhibition is curated by the mentor with the assistance of the two apprentices.

Then, each apprentice curators plans and executes an exhibition with the assistance and advice of the mentor. By nurturing new curators, The DC Arts Center hopes to bring fresh perspectives into our programming while assisting a new generation of curators who will take the knowledge they gain into our arts community and beyond.

About The DC Arts Center

The DC Arts Center (DCAC) is the only institution in the greater Washington, D.C. area solely dedicated to fostering underrepresented artists in every discipline. We believe that by encouraging artists of all types and all levels to pursue their passion, community transformation is possible. Located in Washington, DC’s vibrant Adams Morgan neighborhood, DCAC operates a small arts facility which includes two art galleries, a 41-seat black box theater and office space. Founded in 1989 as an accessible alternative arts center in response to eroding support for local artists, DCAC has since become a hub of creativity in the visual and performing arts, receiving local, national, and international attention. Artists of all types, including poets, painters, actors, storytellers, sculptors and performance artists, have been drawn to DCAC from as close as around the corner to as far as from other continents.

The DC Arts Center
2438 18th St. NW