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Interview with Dominic Molon

Dominic Molon, newly appointed chief curator at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, tells Flash Art about his new post.

Flash Art: What kind of vision are you bringing to the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis?
Dominic Molon: I think I bring a vision that’s very much informed by how artists intersect with other forms of culture in their work to profoundly alter our understanding of the world. While I feel the most important artists are very much those who change the language of how art is made and dictate the terms for subsequent generations, I feel very committed to work that interfaces with contemporary reality — reflected by the exhibitions I organized with Sharon Lockhart, Liam Gillick, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Gillian Wearing — while remaining fascinated with how artists reposition cultural histories — demonstrated by my thematic shows about art and rock and roll and the artist’s studio.

FA: Prior to this position you were working at the MCA Chicago. How do you feel abut working in a museum that is outside centers like NY or LA. How do you reach the audience of specialists (critics, collectors, editors, etc.) who are mostly based in these cities? Not to mention the European audience.
DM: I’ve just started here in St. Louis so… time will tell how it really feels to be working outside of a “center.” But the programming being done at the ContemporaryArt Museum in the past three or four years was strong and daring enough to catch my attention and that of others in larger cities. I think continuing to do a prescient and forward-thinking exhibition program is the simplest way to reach that audience. I also hope to continue developing relationships with colleagues abroad to further expand the CAM’s international profile.

FA: What shows will you plan for the museum?
DM: It’s too soon to tell really. I am excited by the opportunity to do more first American solo museum exhibitions with younger and emerging artists in meaningful ways as well as focused exhibitions of established artists — looking at a specific body of work for example. This model is already in place with the extraordinary exhibitions on view currently by Elad Lassry and Richard Artschwager. I also feel it is critical to do ambitious, timely, and topical thematic shows both for the museum’s international profile but also to fulfill its role among St. Louis institutions.

FA: Is the current financial situation affecting your choices as a curator? “Less is more” is a real must nowadays?
DM: It hasn’t directly affected programming yet but I expect that it will. I think one simply needs to be more thoughtful, better organized, and imaginative in stretching a budget than in previous years, perhaps.