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. Every season we invite artists to become Rivers Artists-in-Residence at Amistad Research Center, where they conduct deep research and employ the archive in work for publications and international exhibitions. The artists’ discoveries direct expanded digitalization, 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.
Together with the California African American Museum (CAAM) in Los Angeles, Rivers plans 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. We begin this study and celebration with the exhibition Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch.
Rivers is proud to collaborate with the Bronx Museum of the Arts to organize our inaugural exhibition, Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch, on view in the Bronx from September 9, 2020 to January 24, 2021. The related publication was released by Yale University Press in April 2020. Link
In advance of the presidential election, Rivers, ARC, and the Xavier Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit collaborate on a cross-city and cross-campus installation and conversation on voting rights anchored by artist Elena del Rivero’s installation Letter from Home (Suffrage). Part of a larger work, a nationwide presentation of nineteen flags, the installation commemorates the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted the right to vote to American women; it also acknowledges the wide-ranging systems of discrimination that prevent many women of color from exercising their right.
Rivers’s collaboration with Cassandra Press is a manifestation of the generative power of collaboration. Born out of our partnership with CAAM, our first collaboration between Rivers and Cassandra Press includes CAAM and ARC and will consist of an exhibition, printed matter, and hands-on programs—all extending outward from the preparatory and material studio plans of artist Sanford Biggers.