Handling Controversy and Working with Difficult Subject Matter

Svetlana Mintcheva

Advance registration is required. To sign up, follow this link

This participatory workshop will offer the opportunity to discuss the challenges of organizing exhibitions featuring potentially controversial work or difficult subject matter. Presenting such work often requires negotiations with community stakeholders, board members, the artist/s, and others. Art organizations also need to consider how such work is framed in terms of display and accompanying materials and are sometimes confronted with decisions about keeping or removing specific pieces. Finally they need to prepare for potential controversy and develop a media strategy. For small organizations without dedicated PR and education departments, all this could be quite a challenge.

The goal of the workshop is:

  • to share expertise that would equip small organizations to stand up for their curatorial vision and to negotiate effectively with a variety of stakeholders;
  • to create a network of support;
  • to inform participants about available resources and organizations that could assist in moments of crisis.

Svetlana Mintcheva, who directs the Arts Advocacy Project at NCAC has been conducting curatorial seminars on the subject of negotiating controversy for the last two years, in partnership with the Association of Art Museum Curators, New York University and the Art & Law Program.

Advance registration required. Sign up here. space is limited to 20 people and registration will close when we are at capacity. Registrants will receive some preliminary materials.

Call for presenters: Have you had to deal with difficult subject matter or controversy recently – or are you expecting to have to do so? If so, please let the convener know if you would like to speak about your experience at the workshop and get feedback from the group.

Contact: Svetlana Mintcheva, Svetlana [​at​], 212-807-6222 ext. 103