Contemporary art curating news and views from Michelle Kasprzak and team

Call for participation: Escalator Visual Arts

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Tuesday, September 22. 2009 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

Wysing Arts Centre invites applications for the artistic retreat The Economics of the Art System.

Following the success of Neither Here Nor There, the second Escalator artistic retreat The Economics of the Art System will take an in depth look at the art market, exploring the financial and cultural economies that drive the industry. After the unprecedented success of contemporary art sales in recent years with the emergence of new fairs, collectors and new markets internationally, the global financial crisis has raised questions about the long term viability of the art market. From commercial galleries, collectors and art fairs, to the influence of auction houses this retreat will question the value of art as commodity and the commercial influences on artists' practices, as well as considering survival tactics for artists, curators and gallerists.

Contributors include: Sarah Thornton, author of Seven Days in the Art World, and Francis Outred, Head of Post War and Contemporary Art at Christies. The retreat will also provide the opportunity for individual critical feedback from peers and invited curators, artists and theorists.

The retreat is open to any visual artist or curator living and/or working in the East of England. 10 artists and/or curators will be invited to attend the retreat following a selection process (details below).


The retreat will take place from 26-29 October 2009. The deadline for applications to attend the retreat is 5pm, Friday 25 September.
Successful applicants will be notified by Friday 2 October.

How to Apply

There is no form to fill in to apply for the retreat. Instead you are asked to answer the following three questions in your application and also to provide the information listed below. Wysing is happy to receive MP3/4 files or DVDs instead of written applications.

1. How is this retreat relevant to your practice at this time? (max 250 words)
2. What do you think you can bring to the retreat? (max 250 words)
3. What would you want to get out of the retreat? (max 250 words)

Please also provide:

- A statement on your practice (max 500 words)
- A current CV
- A selection of 6 images or other material that represents your practice (cds, dvds, etc)

Additional information:

- If you wish to apply for a bursary (see below) then please include this information.
- If you wish to book a bed in our farmhouse (see below) then please include this information.
- Please also include information on any dietary or access needs.

Selection Procedure

Following submission, retreat participants will be selected by the Royal College of Art's MA in Curating students and lecturers, with Wysing's Curatorial Team (Donna Lynas and Lotte Juul Petersen).

Selection will be based on proposals received following the Call for Participation and will be based on the information provided as described in How to Apply.


Wysing can provide free accommodation in our farmhouse. All rooms are for multiple use and we are not able to offer individual rooms. Facilities include shared bathrooms, living room and kitchen.

Artist Bursaries

A small number of bursaries are available to any applicant in need of financial support to attend the retreats. Those wishing to apply for a
bursary are invited to write no more than 250 words on how much financial support they would need to enable them to attend the retreat
and what the money would be used for.

Post Retreat Funding

All artists attending the retreat will be invited to propose ideas to develop their findings from it further, either jointly or individually.
A number of proposals (dependant on numbers submitted and amounts) from each retreat will then be selected and supported to submit applications to Grants for the Arts to realise their ideas.

Further information

The retreats are free to participants. Meals are also provided free of charge. For any specific information please call 01954 718881 or email escalator -at-

Forthcoming Retreats

Calls for participation for forthcoming retreats will be made two months
in advance of each retreat. The subject of the next retreat is:

January 2010 Distribution Methods

Call for Participation to go out November 2009

Escalator is the pioneering talent plan from Arts Council England, East that finds, supports and invests in the best artistic talent across all artforms throughout the East of England. Escalator is establishing the East of England as the leading UK region for talent development. Since it launched in 2003, Escalator has helped over 250 artists to develop their work, forge new partnerships and reach new audiences.

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Job: Curatorial Assistant, Liverpool Biennial

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Tuesday, September 15. 2009 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

Curatorial Assistant
Salary: £16,000 per annum
Temporary Contract (until end of January 2011)

This is a unique opportunity to work within the curatorial profession in an international arts commissioning context.
The Curatorial Assistant will work with the International Curator and the Projects Curator to assist in the delivery of the International exhibition through assisting with the administration and production.

This role demands enthusiasm, commitment and flexibility; and the ability to thrive in a high pressure environment. Application packs can be downloaded from Liverpool Biennial website For further information email jobs -at- or call 0151 7097444
Closing date: 5pm on 12 October 2009

Liverpool Biennial is committed to promoting equal opportunities and encourages applications from all sections of the community.

Liverpool Biennial
Established in 1998, Liverpool Biennial is one of Europe’s most exciting visual art agencies, as well as the UK’s largest and most widely reviewed festival of contemporary visual art, welcoming 451,000 visitors in 2008. A major player in the UK’s cultural economy, Liverpool Biennial’s mission is ‘engaging art, people and place’.
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Pick 'N Mix - September 2009

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, September 2. 2009 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
Welcome to this month's Pick 'N Mix, a selection of interesting tidbits about curators that I spotted on the web over the past few weeks.

- Serpentine Gallery Co-Director Hans Ulrich Obrist has launched a project, "A Protest Against Forgetting," which encompasses a badge (emblazoned with "Walter Hopps will be here in 20 minutes") a book, talks, and more. The book, A Brief History of Curating, features eleven interviews with key curators in the field. I hope to post a review of it soon.

- In this interview with Aaron Rose, curator of the Alleged Gallery in NYC, he discusses how the 'outsider art' and 'street art' he was working with rose to prominence. He speaks a bit about the balance between what was (and still sometimes is) art produced by rebellious characters, and the corporate brands that want to attach themselves to this type of practice.

- A fabulous, frank interview with famous art collector Charles Saatchi reveals his thoughts on curators, which ranges from from skin-crawling stereotype ("The familiar grind of 1970s conceptualist retreads, the dry-as-dust photo and text panels, the production line of banal and impenetrable installations, the hushed and darkened rooms with their interchangeable flickering videos are the hallmarks of a decade of numbing right-on curatordom") to humble acknowledgement ("when you see something special, something inspired, you realise the debt we owe great curators and their unforgettable shows – literally unforgettable, because you remember every picture, every wall and every juxtaposition"). A highly entertaining read, no matter where you sit in the art ecosystem.

- And in a final quirky item (once again revealing my obsession with hotels), it was reported that a German hotel was taking payment from artists in artwork rather than cash. Will they eventually also take payment from curators by arranging shows in their rooms rather than cash? I wondered. It turns out to be a specific project directed by Kunst-Werke in Berlin. In the meantime, I will keep imagining about how art could become the currency of the future, and whether that is scary or not.

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