Bio Mike Watson

Curator – Public Media at Perpetuum Mobile (PM) / Artists at Risk (AR)

Mike Watson works on many of aspects of PM/AR’s daily operations, including internal development and external liaisons, strengthening international networks, fundraising and development of future residencies, online presence, and social media profile.

Mike Watson (born UK) is a theorist, critic and curator who is principally focused on the relation between culture, new media and politics. He has written for Art Review, Artforum, Frieze, Hyperallergic and Radical Philosophy and has curated events at the 55th and 56th Venice Biennale, and Manifesta12. In 2019 he will publish his second book for ZerO Books, Can the Left Learn to Meme?: Adorno, Video Gaming and Stranger Things. He holds a PhD from Goldsmiths College.

Mike has written widely on the relationship of art to social class and curated a conference on this subject at the Royal College of Arts, London, entitled The Elephant in the Room. From 2008 to 2018 he lived in Rome, Italy, where he closely followed emerging art activist movements, such as Teatro Valle Occupato, MACAO, and their forerunner the Isola Art Center. His book Towards a Conceptual Militancy (ZerO Books, (2016) explored the potential of political-art declaration, concluding that the art world should turn its resources towards community use. This followed upon earlier research into the possible use of art spaces for fostering an alternative education system, undertaken in residence with Nomas foundation and culminating in a conference at the MACRO museum including Mark Fisher, David Blacker, Adelita Husni Bey and Lorenzo Romito among other speakers.

The School of Narrative Dance, as part of Oulu: A Social Ecosphere, 2019, Curated Mike Watson, Artist Marinella Senatore. Photo: Kari Arontie.

Watson has also curated exhibitions with Chto Delat (Subterfuge, 2014, at The Gallery Apart) and Oliver Ressler (A double solo show at Fondazione Pastificio and The Gallery Apart in 2017-2018) and recently curated one edition of Marinella Senatore’s School of Narrative Dance, in Oulu, Finland. He holds a Doctorate in Philosophy, specializing in Aesthetics form Goldsmiths College and taught as an adjunct Professor for 3 years at John Cabot University and the American University of Rome. He has VJ’d at the MACRO Manifesta12, The Galleria Nazionale dell’arte Moderna, Rome, in collaboration with Simone Bertugno (electronica) as LOAL.

Links to Writing:

Radical Philosophy Texts

Art Review Texts

Artforum Texts

Frieze Texts


Machines of Loving Grace. Official Collateral event of the Venice Biennale, 2015. Artists: Mike Watson, Harold de Bree

There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people at Transnational Capitalism Examined, The Gallery Apart and Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, Rome, 2017. Curated Mike Watson, Artist: Oliver Ressler

Deaf Shoes at Politics of Dissonance, Manifesta 12, Palermo, 2018, Curated Mike Watson, Artists Rena Raedle and Vladan Jeremic

SOS Sauna Boat at the Venice Biennale 2013, Curated Mike Watson, Artists: Harold de Bree, Nick Tulinen, Laut Rosenbaum

Grotesque Games at We Have Nearly Lost Control, Macro, Rome, 2018, Curated Mike Watson, Artists: Robert Pettena, Ignazio Giordano, Francesca Sandroni, Valeria Rugi

The AR Secretariat is generously funded by Koneen Säätiö – Kone Foundation.


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