Collaboration supports long-term sustainability for an imperiled global arts ecosystem. Collaboration is our expression of a fundamental commitment to the transfer of ideas across places, times, and communities and to relationships of mutual benefit. We place value in forms of knowledge that have been enriched and changed by competing perspectives.
Rivers’s collaborators are not chosen for their similarities—whether in size of organization, budget, institutional structure, or role in the arts and culture community. Our differences abound and are glaring. Our collaborators include a community-based historical archive, residencies, independent publishers, public institutions, and non-profits working across the globe and ranging in size and scale. Like rivers, our collaborative organ grows across geographies and follows the work. But in every instance, we find consensus with our partners around art as forms of thought—constructed, tested, and reshaped across communities and through transmission—and a commitment to knowledge informed by the periphery.
We are currently building a global network of long-term partners with whom we are developing future projects. Artists and their work lead us into new communities and histories.
Through a foundational partnership with Amistad Research Center (ARC) in New Orleans, Rivers centers material history in contemporary art. Together, Rivers and Amistad commit to the full life cycle of the archive. At the heart of our partnership is the Amistad/Rivers Artist Research Residency, supported by Mellon Foundation. Together we welcome artists from around the world for sustained research in Amistad’s archives and in the community of New Orleans. The artists’ discoveries direct expanded digitization, preservation, and management of the archive, as well as its expanded distribution through publications, exhibitions, and live events and performances. Through this collaboration, artists lay new digital pathways for future research. Each season, Rivers commissions new work to enter into and grow the archive and together we imagine the living archive in new forms and contexts. Amistad and Rivers’s collaborative projects begin and end in New Orleans, but, in between, travel globally and enter into expanded networks of partnership.
Rivers and the California African American Museum (CAAM) in Los Angeles sustain a long-term, iterative program exploring the histories and futures of Black abstraction and the relationships between politics and form, visibility and legibility, media and technology as well as the distribution of knowledge and information. Together we have presented Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch (2021), Troy Montes Michie: Rock of Eye (2022) and Helen Cammock: I Will Keep My Soul (2023).
Rivers proudly collaborated with the Bronx Museum of the Arts for the organization of our inaugural exhibition, Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch, which was on view in the Bronx from September 9, 2020 to April 4, 2021. The related publication was released by Yale University Press in April 2020. Link
Rivers is proud to partner with MASS MoCA to present the exhibition Yto Barrada: Ways to Baffle the Wind. A partner committed to inquiry into the shapes and possibilities of cultural platforms and their service to the complex community of the Berkshires valley, MASS MoCA joins Rivers to present a body of work that pushes against boundaries and examines human relationship to the natural world.
Rivers’s collaboration with Cassandra Press is a manifestation of the generative power of partnership. Born out of our relationship with CAAM, our collaboration between Rivers and Cassandra Press involves both CAAM and Amistad Research Center (ARC) and and consists of an exhibition, printed matter, and hands-on programs—all extending outward ARC’s vast archives.
Following many years (and three books) of collaboration, the principals of Rivers and Siglio Press reforge a serial institutional partnership with the 2021 release of Troy Montes-Michie: Rock of Eye. Rivers takes inspiration from Siglio’s commitment to “uncommon books that live in the rich and varied space between art and literature.” Together, Rivers and Siglio explore liminal spaces with artists who test the forms and technology of print publications.