Saul Ostrow is an independent critic, and curator, the Art Editor at Lodge for Bomb Magazine and the former Chair of Visual Arts and Technologies at The Cleveland Institute of Art (2002-2012.) In 1996 he terminated his studio practice, after having exhibited nationally, and internationally for over 20 years. In 2011, he founded Critical Practices Inc. (www.21stprojects.org) to promote critical discourse. Its two core programs are: 21StPROJECTS, which sponsors viewings of artists works, and La Table Ronde (initiated in 2012,) which organizes roundtable discussions on critical and theoretical cultural issues. As a curator he has organized over 70 exhibition in the US and abroad. His critical writings have appeared in art magazines, journals, catalogues, and books in the USA and Europe.
Critical Practices Inc. was founded in 2010 and incorporated in 2012 and became a 501.3c in 2014. CPI was created to develop a dynamic network of cultural producers to support the emergence and development of new practices and ideas within the field of critical cultural production. It is our intent to serve a diverse community of producers by creating a dynamic network to facilitate in the shaping of critical discourse and practice.
To achieve its goals, CPI operates “outside” the norms of the institutional and instrumental perspectives of the marketplace. Our programs are neither in opposition to, nor in compliance with, institutional models, instead, we employ the associations and priorities that define the community of critical producers and common goals- objectives to provide a platform for these diverse points of views. We believe that such forums are necessary to advance and sustain critical, theoretical, and artistic practices
To achieve our goals, we seek to redefine the various codes and logics by which we may operate. Our programs therefore deploy portable formats and intimacy to counter the culture of the spectacle. Our programs seek to promote practices that reframe subjectivity and use free and open exchange to contest the commodification, of social knowledge.
CPI is comprised of three major initiatives:
- PROJECTS hosts 6 informal viewings a year of works by visual artists, curators and researchers. These projects are presented in a domestic setting. . The intentions of this program are to move away from the white cube as normative space for the viewing of art by collapsing the boundaries between private and public space. 21ST.PROJECTS’ HomeEntertainment sponsors a spring season of events — including screenings and musical and theatrical performances, as well as the work of performance artists. These events take place in a domestic space before an invited audience.
- LaTableRonde (LTR) organizes 6 roundtable discussions, which provide 30 invited participants an opportunity to informally exchange their views on a ‘pressing” issues relevant to today’s social and cultural environment. Pointedly, these discussions are not A derivative of LTR is Curricula, which is CPI’s apparatus for building networks, and for facilitating the interaction between professionals by engaging in short and long-term ad-hoc collaborative projects.
- LEF(t) Publications LEF(t) is a broadsheet publication printed in limited quantities and are available free at ever changing distribution points (globally). Each LEF(t) is themed and consists of a visual project and three text projects.
Over the short period of time since our founding in 2010, CPI has conducted 31 LTRs (including one in Budapest, and another MAC/Val), have hosted the viewing of 21 artists, and has produce 7 issues (one for the Poznan Biennial in Polish and another in French for Museum of Contemporary Art/ Val de Marne) of LEF(t) publications presenting the work of 19 writers and 7 visual artists. We have hosted 8 panels, performances and artist events. In the 2014 CPI was invited to participate Whitney Biennial (organizing 3 LTRs and 3 issues of LEF(t). Increasingly, CPI has been sought out to organize discussions for such organizations such as Volta, PhotoVille, Site Projects, New Haven and the Museum of Contemporary Art/ Val de Marne, Rhode Island School of Design. In 2016 CPI_e(urope) was founded in Paris, and Tilt in Denver, Co. with the purpose of organizing LTRs.
Because, we think that it is important that our organization function not only as a content providers and presenter but also an organizer, and facilitator of critical production; we are also at present engaged in designing the program Education Through Art for Gallery Aferro, Newark, NJ and have launched the imprint CPInPrint.