Helen Molesworth Chews On “Termite Art”

Now, this is an interesting report: ‘Helen Molesworth, who was the chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles until March this year, also faced another challenge with her final show at the museum, One Day at a Time: Manny Farber and Termite Art (14 October-11 March 2019): defining what exactly “termite art” is. For this hybrid show—partly a monograph on the late painter Manny Farber, who in 1962 wrote the underground essay White Elephant Art vs Termite Art, and partly a group show of such termite-tending artists—Molesworth grappled with the meaning of her chosen theme so much that she ends up discussing that in the exhibition catalogue. When she first shared the idea with colleagues, “people would look at me blankly and I would just mumble, defeated, ‘The show is basically about still life,’” she writes in a rare display of curatorial self-doubt.’

Leave a Comment