Based in New Orleans, Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought (Rivers) recognizes art as forms of thought shaped by geographic, social, political, environmental, and economic histories. As an organization, Rivers commits 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, and society—and share transdisciplinary seasons of inquiry online, in galleries, in print publications, and through deep collaborations with partner organizations.
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.
Operating at the periphery of a country and its capital, we seek to shape art and social histories through rigorous scholarship, equitable and sustainable models of production, and long-form relationships with organizations who share in our convictions and curiosity. Through our foundational partnership with Amistad Research Center (ARC), we acknowledge material history as a foundation for contemporary art & thought. And through our global network of partners, we see to it that our collaborations reach far and wide. We look for new models of art presentation and prize ideas that materialize in the margins of books and societies.