Art Papers Learn

Tal Beery & Jemma Desai in Conversation

ART PAPERS contributors Jemma Desai and Tal Beery discuss Desai’s text in the Spring 2022 “Gaming the System” issue, “What Do We Want From Each Other After We Have Told Our Stories” and Jemma’s larger project This Work isn’t For Us. They will also look back at Beery’s text from ART PAPERS Summer 2020 issue, “Living and Working in Other Worlds,” in which he calls for making new worlds from the deconstructed raw material of our most stolid and faltering institutions.


From “What Do We Want From Each Other After We Have Told Our Stories”:

Recently, I wonder how to write about those (of us) who enter the space of the arts sector/film industry/ARTWORLD™ with hope and desire, and are met with so little care.

These same people distribute the visibility that supports artists in institutions whose only currency is spectacle. They must exhibit with and about care, and care care care as if care were an ever-present commodity and not a finite resource that requires replenishing. They are present as a barrier, metabolizing the imperial structures of our colonial cultural institutions and providing, often through genuine care and genuine politics, the possibility of political commitment through making, showing, and engaging art.

Jemma Desai is based in London. Her practice engages with film programming through research, writing, and performance. She is currently undertaking a practice-based PhD on practices of freedom in the arts.

Tal Beery is an artist, educator, and Chief Development Officer at the Hurleyville Performing Arts Centre in the Sullivan Catskills of New York State. His work considers the links between aesthetics, institutional design, and political imaginations. A serial institution-maker, Beery is co-founder of Eco Practicum, an artist-run school for ecological justice; founding faculty at School of Apocalypse, examining the connections between creative practice and notions of survival; and founding member of Educational Ecologies Collective, a consulting firm generating resources for institutions of higher education to promote climate justice. His written work and interviews have appeared in numerous publications and his personal and collaborative works—especially with the collective Occupy Museums—have been exhibited in museums and galleries in the US and Europe, including the 2012 Berlin Biennale, Brooklyn Museum, and the 2017 Whitney Biennial. His current curatorial project, Owning Earth, considers the relationship between art and epochal change.