Mar 17, 2016 | 6:30pm–8:30pm EDT Past Event

Caring/Siting/Researching – Curating Objects and Events Across Disciplines with Liz Thomas and Paul Farber

*Due to a family emergency Michael Rakowitz is unable to attend this event. Rakowitz will continue developing his Desert Home Companion project with Mural Arts Philadelphia throughout the summer and fall and will return to Moore to speak in the course of that process. Curator Liz Thomas will give a preview of Desert Home Companion as part of this event.

This conversation weaves together the practices of two contemporary art curators, Elizabeth Thomas and Paul Farber, who work across exhibition making and public space. With engaged artistic research at the core of both curatorial practices, the event promises to be a rich dialogue about the challenges and possibilities of curating across disciplines and within diverse and complex social settings.

Presented by Graduate Studies at Moore’s Social & Studio Practices program in collaboration with Mural Arts Philadelphia. This event is part of Mural Arts’ ongoing muraLAB event series. For more information, visit: and

Speaker Bios

Elizabeth Thomas is a curator and writer, currently working independently. She recently curated Katharina Grosse’s installation psychylustro along Philadelphia’s Northeast Rail Corridor and is working developing the Michael Rakowitz Project with Mural Arts. Previously, as MATRIX Curator at the UC Berkeley Art Museum, she considered central questions of interdisciplinarity, experimentation, and political and social engagement through commissioned research-based projects with artists such as Omer Fast, Futurefarmers, Mario Garcia Torres, Jill Magid, Ahmet Ogut, Trevor Paglen, Emily Roysdon, Tomas Saraceno, Allison Smith, and Tris Vonna-Michell. Independently she has organized The F-Word, an exhibition on feminism and activism for the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Empathetic an exhibition considering the social and political power of empathy, for Temple Gallery of Art, Philadelphia; and The Believers (co-curated with Nato Thompson), an exhibition about unconventional belief structures embedded within art practices, for MassMOCA, North Adams. As Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at Carnegie Museum of Art, she worked intensively on the 2004-5 Carnegie International and also served as curatorial fellow at the Walker Art Center. She is Senior Lecturer in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. She has a BA in Anthropology from George Washington University, and a MA in Contemporary Art History, Theory and Practice from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Paul M. Farber is a scholar of American and Urban Studies. He is currently a Postdoctoral Writing Fellow at Haverford College. Farber received a PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan. He previously was the Doctoral Fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., and a visiting scholar in the Urban Studies program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Farber’s research focuses on transnational urban history, cultural memory, and creative approaches to civic engagement. His current book project is a study of representations of the Berlin Wall in American art, literature, and popular culture from 1961 to the present. He traces the multifaceted story of how the Berlin Wall emerged as an integral part of the cultural imagination in the United States during the Cold War, especially related to matters of race, gender, sexuality, and national belonging. 

Throughout his research and curatorial work, Farber maintains a continued practice of working directly with artists in order to together engage, revisit, and re-imagine their archives. Farber is the curator of the traveling exhibition, The Wall in Our Heads: American Artists and the Berlin Wall, and is a founding curator of the public art and history project, Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia. He currently serves as the inaugural Scholar in Residence for Mural Arts Philadelphia.