Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought

Based in New Orleans, Rivers Institute recognizes art as forms of thought, shaped by geographic, social, political, environmental and economic histories. We commit to research at the confluence of diverse bodies of knowledge. We support artists in the construction of alternative futures—literal course shifts in art, landscape, & society—and share transdisciplinary seasons of inquiry on-line, in galleries, in print publications and through deep collaborations with partner organizations.

Critically positioned at the Mississippi River Delta, at the southern tip of the American South and the upper limit of the Global South, we believe the challenges of the 21st century are not hard to see from here. And yet, Rivers Institute is not defined by any single place, but rather by a set of conditions. Our perspective, informed by both long rootedness and displacement, confers us with a reverence for what has long gone unnoticed and a curiosity about all that we do not know. Rivers carry ideas, goods, and people from here to there and from there to here. Rivers Institute recognizes exchange and estrangement as tools for radical discovery and empathy. We learn from artists who share in this conviction and provide a context and support for their research and practices.

This organization is born both of belief in and experimentation about the potential for an institution, operating outside of financial and historical art centers, to shape art and social histories and futures through rigorous scholarship, equitable & sustainable models of production, and profound exchange with other organizations who share in our convictions and curiosity. In an historically under-resourced cultural economy, we value artists, cultural workers, and the broader networks that support and service art practices. We look for new models of art presentation. We place value in the ideas that materialize in the margins of books and societies.

~~ Rivers Institute is proud to co-organize the exhibition Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch with the Bronx Museum of the Arts.  To ensure health and safety, the exhibition opening has been postponed until Fall 2020 and will open in coordination with Rivers Institute’s inaugural programmatic season.

~~ To learn more, please join our mailing list by clicking here.

Updated: May 13, 2020 2:09 PM

Please return in September when we launch our programming on-line and in galleries.