Michelle Kasprzak's views on contemporary art curating

Winners announced: Best Art Practices

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Monday, November 12. 2007
The inaugural Best Art Practices award for young curators has just announced the winners of this year's competition. The jury received 132 applications from 32 countries in 5 continents. Their press statement (re-arranged a bit, and with URLs added by myself) follows:

The purpose of the Best Art Practices Award, announced by the Italian Culture Department of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano (South Tyrol), is to reward the best contemporary art projects that have been completed in the last five years by curators under forty years of age in non-conventional spaces.

Best Art Practices award winners:
1st prize, 10.000 euros: FRONTERA, Laboratorio Curatorial 060
for the complexity of the subjects covered and for the innovative vision. Greatly appreciated were: the social importance; the ability to involve the tradition and the local population in the creation and fruition of the works presented; the innovatory character aimed at overcoming public art practices typical of the 90s; the topic and more precisely the research into the frontier question in an area of scarce media attention; the unusual ability to develop feelings of freedom, fantasy and poetry.

2nd prize, 3.000 euros: THE PAINTING MUSEUM, Florin Tudor
for the clarity of the curatorial elements as regards to the contents indicated, the historic and geographic context of these and the results obtained. Greatly appreciated were: the strong public impact and the great media attention; the political and cultural importance in a context in rapid social evolution and the innovatory method of approach to the work, which investigates the relationship between state power and artistic institution

3rd prize, 2000 euros: LIMINAL SPACES, Eyal Danon, Philipp Misselwitz, Galit Eilat, Reem Fadda
for the ability of the curators to organize a joint project, in a very troubled area, such as that of Palestine and Israel. Greatly appreciated in particular was the desire of the project to create a discussion platform in which writers, artists and curators from Palestine, Israel and other parts of the world were involved, as well as the ability of the curators to find support for the other stages of the project in Europe.

The jury has also chosen to give a special mention to five projects of similar merit:
  • 6th Festival de performance de Cali-Colombia, Wilson Diaz Polanco, Ana Maria Millan Strohbach, Jaime Andreas Sandoval Alba, Claudia Patricia Sartia Macias, Juan David Medina Jaramillo

  • En Route: via another route, Adam Carr

  • Radio Gallery, Anna Colin

  • Sandwiched, Jacob Fabricius

  • Lagos Open, Emeka Udemba

Jury's statement:
The work of selecting the projects was a collective team effort by the jury who identified in this award a first platform for reflection. The jury thus decided to accompany the motivations for the winning projects with a first few general considerations on the state of young curatorial practices, which might be a good omen for the organization of future debates on this topic.

In many candidatures the lack of a solid cultural background was problematic. This denotes a tendency of the projects to approach the requests of the cultural industry. On the other hand the jury valued as positive the experimental approach of many projects and in particular the active position of many curators, who, through different forms of public involvement, share the interest for activities which enter in the respective social and political contexts. The last observation regards the growth of awareness regarding the practice of the curator orientated at overcoming the traditional separation between the artist as cultural producer and the curator as a simple complementary element to the role of the artist.

President: Carlos Basualdo
Members of the Jury: Montse Romani Monserrat, Andrea Viliani, Anton Vidokle, Letizia Ragaglia, Marion Piffer
Jury Assistant: Denis Isaia, curator of the project Best Art Practices
Secretary of the Commission: Cristina Alietti, executive officer of the culture department, Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano
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