Amelia Groom is a writer and art historian. She completed a PhD in art history & theory at the University of Sydney, and in 2018-2020 she was a postdoctoral fellow at the ICI Berlin, as part of the interdisciplinary research project ERRANS environ/s. Since 2014 she has taught theory and writing for the Critical Studies MA degree at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.
Her recent texts have addressed topics including lichen, pareidolia, ventriloquism, blurs, silence, and rocks. She edited the Whitechapel Documents of Contemporary Art anthology on ‘Time’, and her book on Beverly Buchanan’s environmental sculpture Marsh Ruins (1981) is forthcoming in 2021, as part of the Afterall One Work series.
Affiliated Project 2020-21
This project is concerned with gossip, rumour, and hearsay, under the rubric of ‘grapevine epistemologies’. Central to its concerns are questions about what happens when speculation, fantasy, incompleteness, and doubt are allowed to register in the historical record, and within the mechanics of its constitution. The project will eventually take the form of a collection of essays.
One will look at Pheme, the Greek goddess of rumour and scandal; another will centre on ‘Just Gossip’, an unrealised work by the conceptual artist Adrian Piper. Other essays in the collection will consider the possibilities and thresholds of gossip as a social practice, as an artistic medium, as a political tool, as an historical force – and as a research methodology.
Turning to Stone: Rocks and Ruination in Beverly Buchanan’s Environmental Sculptures
ICI Project 2018-20
Over three hot, mid-July days in 1981, the sculptor Beverly Buchanan (1940–2015) constructed her Marsh Ruins, three concrete and shell-based tabby mounds, in the liminal wetlands of the Marshes of Glynn on the southeast coast of Georgia. Within the ICI’s ERRANS environ/s core project, Amelia Groom is conducting a focused study of this environmental sculpture, which exists in an ongoing state of ruination. Drawing from the artist’s unpublished notes, letters and journals from the 1970s and ‘80s, this project considers Buchanan’s complex and historically under-appreciated work, through questions of ecological entanglements; the aesthetics of fragmentation; and the colonial legacies of fracture and dislocation.
The research involves archival work at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art (where the Beverly Buchanan papers are now held), and Groom is also traveling to Georgia and Florida to visit a number of Buchanan’s site-specific works. The travel has been generously supported by a research grant from The Terra Foundation for American Art. Groom’s book Beverly Buchanan: Marsh Ruins will be published as part of the One Work series by Afterall Books and The MIT Press, in the autumn of 2020.