Contemporary art curating news and views from Michelle Kasprzak and team

Pick 'N Mix - September 2008

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, August 31. 2008 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
Welcome to the September edition of Pick 'N Mix, my monthly annotated list of curating-related things:

- Map Magazine is a terrific Scottish magazine on contemporary art, and by subscribing to their RSS feed I have discovered a couple of brief notes of interest to curators posted to its website recently: a story and a few quotes from two Spanish curators, Javier Marroquí and David Arlandis, who developed an exhibition during the Edinburgh Art Festival, and another short piece from Daniel Birnbaum, discussing curating 2 Turin Triennial and the 53rd Venice Bienniale.

- Speaking of magazines, one has the feeling that a service like Mygazines won't last long, given its function: it's a massive unofficial repository of magazines, including some pretty major titles. Of course I first browsed the Art and Culture section, which I am sorry to tell you is quite thin. However, pop terms like "curator" into the search box, and see what hidden gems come up from deep within the pages of magazines that don't specialise in art (and chuckle at some of the silly things that come up, too).

- Of special attention to French speakers: a new curatorial association has begun in France. Check out CEA!

- And a quick note for UK residents that once again, the deadline for the Crafts Council Spark Plug Curator awards is approaching fast - get your applications in by September 26.

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Job: Senior Curator, V2_

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, August 31. 2008 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media in Rotterdam, the Netherlands has a vacancy for a senior curator as of November 2008. This is a 4-day-a-week position.

V2_ was founded in 1981 and is currently located in the center of Rotterdam. It has a presentation space, a media lab, a publishing house and offices. V2_ is an interdisciplinary center for art, technology and media that pays special attention to research. Thus, it has many collaborative ties with institutions in various sectors (such as art, universities and colleges, and the business world). This research concentrates on the relationship between art, technology, media and society and is made accessible through public presentations. Over the past 25 years, a growing domestic and international audience has had the opportunity at V2_ to get acquainted with prominent artists, thinkers and projects in the field of art, media and technology through exhibitions, presentations, symposiums and performances. V2_ currently employs 24 permanent staff.

About the senior curator position:
The position is focused on the development of V2_'s presentations, exhibitions, conferences and other activities. The successful applicant will have all necessary knowledge and experience in the interdisciplinary sphere where art and technology meet, and to maintain an international network of contacts in this area. Experience in putting together international, interdisciplinary programs, exhibitions and conferences is a must. In light of the international character of the position, the curator must speak different languages (English at a minimum) and be open to learn Dutch (if needed). Because the position concerns interdisciplinary activities, the successful applicant should be well-informed in multiple fields. General knowledge in media theory is important.

Required attributes:

- An inventive and creative person with a broad vision in the area of art, technology, science and society, who is able to articulate and translate it into presentations for the public as well as research.
- Experience in the conceptualization and realization of exhibitions, conferences and hands-on presentations.
- Maintain an international, interdisciplinary network of contacts in the field of art and technology.
- Outstanding communication skills and be a team worker.
- Good spoken and written command of at least English.
- At least a college or university degree.

The senior curator will work in a small team that is responsible for researching and developing the public events at V2_ and play an important role in developing pubic discourse and theory in the context of V2_'s activities.

The position is part-time (4 days a week), beginning on November 1st 2008 (starting date can be discussed).

Send a cover letter or email with a CV and a short explanation of why you want the job to:

Alex Adriaansens (Director)
Eendrachtsstraat 10
3012 XL Rotterdam
telephone: +31 10 2067272
fax +31 10 206 7271
email: jobs -at-

Applications should be sent as soon as possible, but no later than September 29, 2008.

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Job: Assistant Curator, Art Gallery of York University

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, August 31. 2008 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
Assistant Curator, Art Gallery of York University (AGYU)
$53,728 p.a., Continuing Full-Time
Closing date: September 24, 2008

The Assistant to the Curator is responsible for facilitating the exhibition and collection of original works of art at York University in Toronto, Canada, and the publication of Gallery catalogues and handouts to the public. The position provides a liaison with the Gallery's public (i.e. faculty, staff, students, and general public) and supports the function of Director/Curator.

ADMINISTRATIVE: Assists in long-term planning, scheduling and budgeting of programmes. Assists in preparation of grant requests and summary reports. Responsible for the administration of the permanent collection. Initiates correspondence regarding programmes, operations, and collections. Percentage of time: 35%

CURATORIAL AND REGISTRATION: Assists in research, planning, publicity, and installation of exhibitions. Arranges transport, insurance, customs and security of artworks. Implements the installation of exhibitions. Administers traveling exhibitions. Percentage of time: 25%

RESEARCH AND WRITING: Assists in the compilation, editing, proofing of all gallery publications. Prepares reports on gallery operations, policies and special study reports. Develops and maintains research files and visual documentation. Researches and compiles information on incoming exhibitions for public information. Percentage of time: 15%

SUPERVISORY: Assists in the coordination of Work/Study students, interns, and volunteers. Assists in training, scheduling and work assignments for employees. Assists in preparing time sheets, evaluations and direction for casual employees and volunteers. Percentage of time: 15%

OTHER: Assists in the organization of special projects e.g. seminars, workshops, video screenings and panel discussions. Coordinates Artexte at the AGYU catalogue distribution centre. Other duties as assigned. Percentage of time: 5%


University degree in Visual Arts or equivalent.

2 years' related experience in a gallery or museum, specializing in contemporary art (e.g. research, curatorial assistance, administration of a collection, installation of artwork, etc.).

Word processing, accuracy essential; ability to use basic hand tools; demonstrated skill/ability in the following areas; database management and computerized spreadsheets; excellent written communications skills, including the editing and writing of reports and gallery publications; excellent organizational skills; exercising good judgment; supervision; research; dealing courteously and effectively with people; obtaining and providing information in a clear and concise manner; working under pressure of strict deadlines; working independently.

How to Apply: Please email a complete application package, which includes an application form, covering letter and resume, and quote Posting Number 6213 in the subject of the email to jobs -at- by 4:30 pm on the posted deadline date. The application forms and complete position details can be found at Only those selected for an interview will be contacted. York University is committed to Employment Equity and encourages applications from all qualified candidates.

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Pick 'N Mix - August 2008

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Tuesday, August 5. 2008 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
Welcome to the August edition of Pick 'N Mix, my monthly annotated list of curating-related things:

- I've finished writing a short report on the IKT (the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art) Congress that was held in Montreal in May. Have a read!

- This interview with João Ribas by Ceci Moss on Rhizome is a good read. Quote: "Curatorial practice, to me, is about mediating such frames in the end--different contexts, different readings, different publics."

- "Curator crowds" are all the rage it seems, I've blogged about them briefly before, and they keep cropping up. Recently the Brooklyn Museum of Art produced Click, a photography exhibit that was curated collaboratively by anyone who wanted to take part. Via Art Fag City, I took note of a link to an interview with Jennifer Blessing, curator of photography at the Guggenheim, who offers her thoughts on this phenomenon of "curator crowds". The interview is excellent food for thought.

- Just a reminder to my readers that I really enjoy getting your emails (seems most folks are too shy to comment publicly!). Keep them coming, and any suggestions you might have about what I have on offer here are much appreciated. So send me a note, and then turn off your computer and enjoy the rest of the summer!

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IKT 2008 Congress Report

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, August 3. 2008 • Category: Musings

IKT, the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art, held its annual congress in Montreal from 22-26 May 2008.

More than 130 members attended this year's IKT Congress, the first Congress ever to be held outside Europe. The days were very full, and included visits to major museums and galleries including the Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montreal (MACM), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Dazibao, Galerie UQAM, Oboro, Vox, Galerie Clark, Fonderie Darling, and the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery. In each case, the director and/or curator of the institution was present to give us a personal introduction and tour. The mix of institutions provided a great overview of both the diversity of provision for artists and of the available exhibition spaces for curators in Montreal: artist-run centres, museums, studios, commercial galleries, university-affiliated galleries. The Congress also travelled to Quebec City, taking in the Manif d'Art, Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec, and production centres housed at Méduse. Optional post-Congress activities included short visits to Ottawa and Toronto.

The event was hosted by Parachute, and Chantal Pontbriand and her team ensured that every detail of the visit was perfectly planned. Coaches were arranged to transport the delegates from place to place (which ensured we kept to our packed schedule), refreshments were delicious and abundant, and questions or requests were handled expertly. The hosts thoughtfully included a customized coach tour of the city that covered significant sites in Montreal such as the Expo '67 ruins on Ile Sainte-Hélène, the Habitat buildings, Mont-Royal, and more. When the tour stopped briefly near the summit of Mont-Royal, several curators took the opportunity to get an ice cream and enjoy the view, which was one of many lovely moments.

The timing of our visit was excellent, as it coincided with the inaugural Quebec Trienniale at the Musée d'Art Contemporain (which was a key feature on the schedule), and curators who could find a scant few minutes spare in the action-packed itinerary could also zip up to the Mile-End for the Ateliers Portes Ouvertes (APO) event. Timing was also perfect to sample some of the fruits of the labours of IKT candidates and members. The Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery was hosting Vincent Bonin's exhibition about artists as cultural workers entitled Documentary Protocols II, and also Conceptual Filiations, curated by Michèle Thériault. Louise Déry curated Phenomena at Galerie UQAM, and Marc Lanctôt was part of the team behind the Quebec Triennale at MACM. It was enormously satisfying to see and support the hard work of one's colleagues during the Congress.

Interaction between local artists and the visiting curators was incorporated as an integral part of the Congress. A magnificent evening meal at the Fonderie Darling evolved into a lovely party, and also provided ample opportunity for the IKT members and guests to visit the artists who work at the Fonderie in their studios. As well, curators were able to request meetings with local artists, which were arranged by the Parachute team. These intimate meetings, which consisted of a handful of curators and the artist, were a terrific way for the Congress attendees to delve a little deeper and learn more about specific artists that piqued their interest.

A conference on art and economy was led by Mirjam Westen and included contributions from Jo-Anne Kane, Nina Montmann and Louise Neri. This short conference addressed some of the salient issues involved in the intersection of the fine art world and commercial concerns. A heated question and answer period followed, and the presentations sparked conversations throughout the rest of the Congress.

At the General Assembly, the board presented the financial situation of the past year and decisions were made regarding future Congress locations. It was decided that Congress will be hosted in 2010 by Athens, and in 2011 by Luxembourg and Metz. At last year's Congress, it decided that the 2009 Congress will be held in Helsinki and Tallinn. The board also issued a general request to assist in gathering documentation and information about the early years of the IKT association with a view to creating an IKT archive. The board intends to develop the archive into a significant resource and research tool, documenting nearly forty years of history.

The hospitality and collegiality on offer at the 2008 IKT Congress was truly exemplar, and everyone very much looks forward to Helsinki and Tallinn in 2009. If you have materials to contribute to the IKT archive, particularly of the early years of the association, please get in touch with IKT through the "contact" page on their website.

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