Art Exhibits in Downtown Rochester This Fall

In this series the artist Mara Ahmed has re-created her own history by using old, black and white photographs of her ancestors, juxtaposing them against South Asian architectural details, and subverting boundaries by placing them on the wrong side of the India-Pakistan border.
08/22/2019

Over 16 Venues Along East Ave and Main Street to Explore Current Seen (The New Rochester Biennial)


Exhibition Dates: October 4 – November 17, 2019

Opening Reception: First Friday October 4, 6-9pm


The Rochester Biennial returns on October 4, 2019 under the direction of Rochester Contemporary Art Center’s Executive Director, Bleu Cease, as a new focused brand Current Seen. To take place along historic East Ave. and Main St., this multi-venue contemporary art program in Downtown Rochester seeks to bring together new curatorial voices and artists along a contiguous, centrally-located, thread of small to mid-sized venues in the area. Over 16 participating venues will host curated exhibitions of local and national artists related to the general theme: our current moment / our changing city. All exhibitions will open First Friday October 4 and be on view through November 17, 2019.

In 2015, Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo) inherited the brand Rochester Biennial from The Memorial Art Gallery. RoCo’s goal was to work with other small and mid-sized venues to build a multi-venue contemporary art program in Downtown Rochester. For the 2017 edition of RBNL, RoCo, Visual Studies Workshop, and RIT City Art Space (then Gallery r) each presented exhibitions which investigated collaboration and influence, Curated experiences, a “Placemaking Processional,” and a series of progressive artist talks linking the venues. Current Seen expands upon this 2017 bi-annual program to bring together many more community partners and create a contiguous thread of contemporary visual art exhibitions, pop-ups, and public art along East Ave. and Main St.

The program draws upon various Biennial models, yet is largely dedicated to advancing the regional art community and supporting Rochester’s numerous small and mid-sized venues. These venues are laced together through curatorial programming that build upon the complex histories of the geographic region. Like Rochester’s own Wall Therapy, Current Seen features artists ranging from the legendary British filmmaker John Maybury to millennial artists exhibiting for their first solo exhibition post-graduation.

The growing list of programs includes more than 16 exhibitions and numerous events lead by experienced and emerging curators spanning three generations. These upcoming exhibitions highlight social progress, art and activism, racial politics, female objectification, and placemaking among other themes related to Rochester’s ‘current moment.’ A weekly series of Thursday night after parties will take place after exhibition-related events. All participating sites are: free or nearly free, within 2 blocks of East Ave. and Main Street between Prince St. and King St., and nearly all venues will be open Thursdays and Fridays 1 to 9 p.m., and Saturdays 1 to 5 p.m. Some venues are open additional hours and Public Art projects will be available to be experienced 24/7.

Want to Get Involved? There is still time to organize a project in one of several available spaces, or other possible locations of your choosing. Interested parties must make a few basic commitments. If you are interested, contact bleu@rochestercontemporary.org. Current Seen also seeks individuals to “adopt a framework venue” through volunteering time or donating to an individual project at several smaller spaces participating. These venues are extending their capacity to be a part of, and to help build Current Seen. Email bleu@rochestercontemporary.org to get you in contact with the appropriate venue.

Participating Core Venues Include: Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Visual Studies Workshop, RIT City Art Space, and Rochester Public Library.

Participating Framework Venues Include: Corinthian Hall Site, 248 East Ave, 1 South Clinton Ave, 120 East Main, Parcel 5, 62 Scio St, Joy Gallery, Greenwood Books, Douglass Auditorium, 540 West Main, The Liquor Store, The Little Theatre, and Along East Ave and Main St.

To learn more about Current Seen and participating venues, please visit: currentseen.org