Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought (Rivers) is a non-profit institute for research and publishing, exhibitions and conversations on art informed by diasporic experience. Based in New Orleans, Rivers recognizes art as forms of thought shaped by geographic, social, political, environmental, and economic histories and commits to research at the confluence of diverse bodies of knowledge.
Positioned at the Mississippi River’s Delta, at the southern tip of the American South and the upper limit of the Global South, we believe the challenges of the twenty-first century are not hard to see from here. And yet Rivers 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, what is precarious, and what cannot hold. Rivers carry ideas, goods, and people from place to place. Rivers affirms exchange and estrangement as crucial 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.
Suturing material history and contemporary art practice, archival and curatorial experience, Rivers works in partnership with Amistad Research Center (ARC) to advance contemporary art that makes a study of history. Together we welcome artists from around the world to New Orleans for extended research and study in the development of new work, publications, and exhibitions. Operating at the periphery of a country and its capital, Rivers invests in the knowledge found and materialized in the margins of books and societies, and we work with a global network of partners to share it widely.
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