‘Why be an artist?’ (after Leigh Hobba and Noel Sheridan)

An exhibition and film project by Oisín Byrne and Vaari Claffey.

Friday, 2nd December - Wednesday, 15th February 2023

'Why be an artist?' (after Leigh Hobba and Noel Sheridan) 

Exhibition opening Thursday 1st December 2022, 6.30PM—8.30PM. 
NCAD Gallery Holiday Closure 19th December 2022—3rd January 2023

Image credit:  Oisín Byrne, still from Why Be An Artist? (after Leigh Hobba and Noel Sheridan), 2022, NCAD Gallery.

'Why be an artist?' (after Leigh Hobba and Noel Sheridan)
An exhibition and film project by Oisín Byrne and Vaari Claffey
Kevin Atherton
Isadora Epstein
Gary Farrelly
Leigh Hobba
Séamus Nolan
Grace Weir
Noel Sheridan

The NCAD Gallery is delighted to announce the exhibition and newly commissioned film, 'Why be an artist?' (after Noel Sheridan and Leigh Hobba), 2nd December 2022—15th February 2023. This film - directed by Oisín Byrne and produced by Vaari Claffey - takes as its starting point (artist and late director of the NCAD) Noel Sheridan’s performance work, Why be an artist?. In the work, filmed by Leigh Hobba in 1994, Sheridan talks through a series of reasons NOT to be an artist, most of which come down to commitment, integrity and an unwillingness to instrumentalise art.

Knowing that this has great resonance for artists, and bearing in mind that artists are very far from a homogenised or cohesive set of practitioners with shared goals or approaches, this project invites practising visual artists (with varying relationships to Sheridan and NCAD) to respond to Sheridan’s s provocation on film - using his rhetorical device as a means to explore their own concerns, be they political, social, aesthetic or ecological.

The invited artists; Kevin Atherton, Isadora Epstein, Gary Farrelly, Séamus Nolan and Grace Weir, respond to the work in a variety of registers, both paying homage to and challenging Sheridan’s narrative content and performative approach. Starting from this blend of humour and pedagogy, the responses are scripted and performed by the artists and interpreted and staged by the filmmakers to produce an intimate but expanded reflection on artmaking.

'Why be an artist?' (after Noel Sheridan and Leigh Hobba)

  • Tuesday 29th November, 2022, 5PM Introduction to the artist, Noel Sheridan 
    Brian Hand, artist, lecturer and Head of Sculpture and Expanded Practice Department, NCAD, discusses the late NCAD Director, Noel Sheridan's artist practice.
  • Friday 2nd December, 2022, 1.15PM 'Why be an artist?' Artists Roundtable Conversation
    'Why be an artist?' artists, Kevin Atherton, Isadora Epstein, Gary Farrelly, Séamus Nolan and Grace Weir discuss their processes in making commissioned work in response to the filmed performance 'Why be an artist?' by Noel Sheridan, with Oisín Byrne and Vaari Claffey - moderated by Alice Butler, Co-Director of AEMI (Artists' and Experimental Moving Image) and introduced by Sarah Glennie, Director, NCAD.
  • Tuesday 31st January 2023, 1.15PM A Walk-Through the Archive
    Valerie Connor, visual arts curator and educator (lecturer in the School of Media at Technological University) invites us on a walk-through of the Noel Sheridan exhibition archive material from her time as Curator at Project Arts Centre, Dublin.
  • Tuesday 7th February 2023, 1.15PM Why be a curator?
    Vaari Claffey, independent curator and producer of Why be an artist?, invites us to reflect on the historical nomenclature associated with the curatorial role and the use of the word 'and' in this context.
  • Tuesday 14th February 2023, 1.15PM On Collecting for Archives
    Christina Kennedy, Senior Curator: Head of Collections at Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) discusses some highlights from the Noel Sheridan Collection and Archive.
  • Tuesday 14th February 2023, 5.30PM How be an Artist? (After Noel Sheridan)
    Convened by artist Frank Wasser - 'How be an Artist?' is a performative discussion that will posit the question of how artists conduct their practices and survive within, through and outside of the socio-economic and political infrastructures and institutions that sustain their practices. The event will feature contributions from Wasser and specially invited artists, Austin Hearne, Michelle Malone, Cam A. and Adam Gallagher. This event will also provide a performative platform for audience participation. All are welcome. 
    This talk is hosted by CFA at NCAD. CFA is a ground-breaking partnership between NCAD, IADT and UCD. Together we offer new skills, fresh networks and opportunities for learning throughout your life and career.

Contact: Anne Kelly, Curator, NCAD Gallery.

NCAD Gallery, 100 Thomas Street, Dublin, D08 K521, Ireland.
Contact: Anne Kelly, Curator NCAD Gallery | In Public Programmes gallery@staff.ncad.ie.
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