The Task

Screening and Conversation with Leigh Ledare

Saturday, October 27, 2018
1:00 – 4:00 pm

Frye Auditorium

For his feature-length film The Task (118 minutes), Leigh Ledare convened a three-day conference in Chicago involving thirty strangers and ten psychologists trained in the Tavistock method—a mode of group psychological analysis wherein participants help analyze one another by investigating modes of authority and identity as they relate to factors such as race, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomics. Importantly, Ledare modified the dynamics of this method by including his own presence as the artist, and that of his film crew and cameras, as they shift between observers and collaborators during the course of the meetings.

Edited chronologically, the film documents the increasingly fraught conversations of the group as participants scrutinize one another, examine the supposed “task” at hand, and question established structures of authority both inside the conference room and outside of it. In doing so, Ledare lays bare the tensions and contradictions that course beneath American society, while calling attention to the power relations that bind artist, subject, and viewer in the making and display of works of art.

Ledare will talk about his work and the process of making The Task following the screening, concluding with an audience Q&A.

The work of artist Leigh Ledare (American, b. 1976, Seattle, Washington) maps psychosocial relations inscribed within the various orders of photography, language, and public and private social constructions. Ledare’s exhibitions and projects have been exhibited extensively in the US and abroad. Recent exhibitions include: The Plot, The Art Institute of Chicago (2017); Vokzal, The Box, Los Angeles (2017); as well as numerous group exhibitions including the 2017 Whitney Biennial, The Whitney Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Manifesta 11, Zurich (2016). Ledare's work has also been the subject of major surveys at Charlottenborg Kunsthal, Copenhagen (2013), and WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels (2012). Publications by Ledare include: Double Bind Conversations (Art Resources Press, 2015), a book length dialog co-authored with Rhea Anastas; Ana and Carl and some other couples (Andrew Roth, 2014), a collaboration with Nicolas Guagnini; Leigh Ledare, et al. (Mousse Publishing, 2012), edited by Elena Filipovic; An Invitation (Leroy Neiman Center for Print Studies, Columbia University, 2012), a photolithography edition; Double Bind (MFC-michèle didier, 2012); and Pretend You’re Actually Alive (PPP Editions and Andrew Roth, 2008). Ledare was a 2017 John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Ledare Lives and works in New York City where he teaches in the MFA programs at Columbia University, New York University and Yale University.

Leigh Ledare, The Task (still), 2017. Single channel video (color, sound), 118 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and The Box Gallery, Los Angeles.


Free tickets are available on a first-come-first-served basis, and may be picked up at the desk in the foyer outside the auditorium thirty minutes prior to the start of the program. There is no late seating, so please arrive early. As a special benefit, Frye members may reserve free tickets in advance to guarantee seating. To reserve, call 206 432 8289 or email at least two days prior to the event. Each member may reserve two tickets and may claim their tickets one hour prior to the start of the program.