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Curating.info

Contemporary art curating news and views

Article: On an artist as a one-time curator

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Monday, August 28. 2006 • Category: Musings

From "(Not) Gay Art Now" Curator Jack Pierson Comments on His (Exceptional) Show" by Bryant Rousseau, on artinfo.com:

What advantages might an artist have in assembling a show over a more traditional curator?

"I wasn't interested, and I don't think most artists would be, in making a checklist of artists to include six months in advance. I'm in awe of curators who can put three works next to each and create these incredible associations, but a lot of the best work in this show got included at the last minute. I think you gain a lot by spontaneity, by artists just trusting their subliminal instincts, by building a show's aesthetic on the fly."

Would he curate again?

"I love curating, and I'd do it professionally if I could make a living at it."

And how does spending time in a curatorial role impact his own art making? "It gets me more free, more charged up to try a little of everything," said Pierson.


"Building a show's aesthetic on the fly" strikes me as an interesting sentiment. While this particular artist/curator incorporates spontaneity into his process through the selection of works, I think most curators could and do achieve this with a combination of exhibition design and creative installation of the works themselves. Focusing on a "checklist of artists" as the only creative act seems to radically diminish the role of curator, which of course includes tasks ranging from mind-numbingly banal to incredibly fun.

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