#ListeAsks Julie Boukobza, Head of the Luma Arles Residency Program, Arles

Julie Boukobza, Credit: Sophie Bramly
Julie Boukobza, Credit: Sophie Bramly

As you won’t be in Basel this June, what are you doing instead?
So Liste started exactly one year ago today. And right now, I am working from home on the selection of the new residents for the Luma Arles Residency Program together with the Core Group and editing something for the new Cura fanzine about my late father’s nightclub, Les Bains Douches. 

What is something that you never thought would happen but that has now happened as a result of the lockdown?
The idea of all the borders being closed is something I still cannot wrap my mind around. The current situation in America is also something on my mind—it’s inspiring to see mass demonstrations have such immediate effect, and hopefully they will usher in much-needed long-term progress. 

In what ways has the current state of uncertainty and unpredictability changed your attitude or approach towards curating? 
It hasn’t changed my approach towards curating; rather, it has changed me personally for the time being. I am more pragmatic, prompt to change things and imagine new scenarios—something being cancelled is no longer a tragedy, except for schools!

What kinds of actions do you think are most needed and/or most effective in supporting young artists during the current situation?
To call and ask for updates, to do more studio visits than ever, and make donations that help them. Artagon in France, for example, has a great initiative for this: artagon.co/fr/fonds-de-soutien. 

How can younger and less established galleries that are representing emerging and yet-to-be-discovered artists approach you as a curator in a time of online-only exhibitions, fairs, etc.? 
I am not a big fan of online outreach. I wrote individually to all my girlfriends who run up-and-coming galleries to ask about how they’re dealing with everything. So far they’ve been surviving, but who knows what will happen after this very abstract summer. 

Have you discovered any new artist during the lockdown? 
To be honest with a kid at home and télétravail, there was no time to discover anything besides binging the news and cookbooks. In my case, discovery only happens when the mind is free and at peace. 

Can you tell us about one of the very first artists you discovered at Liste and how they’ve become important to or played a role in your curatorial practice? 
My favourite memory of Liste is from a few years ago: After discovering the whole fair I asked a bunch of strangers if they wanted to go swim with me in the river outback. That’s how I met the artist Than Hussein Clark, who I have collaborated with since then.

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