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The School of Panamerican Unrest is a public art project that traveled from Alaska to Argentina from May 9 to September 2006, making 30 official stops along the way. The SPU project presented a panel discussion, workshop, reception, and ceremony during its stop in Calgary. Presented by M:ST and the Walter Phillips Gallery (The Banff Centre) the project invited local artists and public audiences to engage in various forms of dialogue about social, political, and cultural issues affecting the various regions of the Americas.
Initiated by Mexican artist Pablo Helguera, and with the support of more than 40 organizations and more than 100 affiliated artists, curators, and cultural promoters in the Americas, The School of Panamerican Unrest responded to the need to support inter-regional communication amongst English, Spanish and Portuguese speaking America, as well as its other communities in the Caribbean and elsewhere, making connections outside its regular commercial and economic links.
Pablo Helguera is a visual artist living and working in New York. His work usually acquires unusual formats, ranging from experimental symposiums, phonograph recordings, exhibition acoustiguides, or nomadic museums. Helguera usually departs from historic research or from interests surrounding the very nature of art, the viewer's perception of it, and the role that art making and culture in general plays in politics and society. He often combines literary and musical strategies, as well as pedagogy and education theory.
Helguera has presented his work at an individual level at the Museum of Modern Art of New York (performance: Parallel Lives, 2003) and at the Royal College of Art de London (Los del Este, 2004, Monique Beudert Curatorial Program). He has also shown his work in various biennials such as the 8th Havana Biennial, San Juan's Poly-graphic Triennial (2004) and PERFORMA 05, New York's first performance art biennial. He has exhibited at the Museo del Barrio in New York, Shedhalle in Zurich, PS1 in New York, MCA Chicago, IFA Bonn, Metropolitan Museum in Tokio, MALBA in Buenos Aires, Ex-Teresa in Mexico City, Sculpture Center, Bronx Museum, and others, as well as in Zagreb, Berlin, Athens, Ljubljana, São Paulo, Bogotá, Chicago, and others. His work has been reviewed by the New York Times, Art in America, Artforum, Tema Celeste and Art Nexus, amongst others. Since 1993, Helguera has focused on the creation of fictional or real infrastructures of commercial, educational, academic or political nature in order to address specific topics. One such project was the Instituto de la Telenovela (2002-2004) which researched the impact of Latin American soap operas at a global level. The project traveled to several countries and offered lectures, exhibitions, performances and publications.
As cultural promotor and educator, Helguera worked for 15 years in US museums, most recently being head of public programs at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1998-2005). As part of his museum career, he organized nearly 500 public programs. He has been the co director of the international forum of contemporary art experts in ARCO, Madrid (2003-05), and was director of the 5th SITAC in Mexico City in 2005 (Symposium of Contemporary Art Theory). He has also been juror of the biennials of Guatemala, Costa Rica, and the national contemporary art competition of San Juan.
He is the author of the books "Endingness" (2005) and "The Pablo Helguera Manual of Contemporary Art Style" (2006). He is represented by Enrique Guerrero Gallery in Mexico City.