Michelle Kasprzak's views on contemporary art curating

Pick 'N Mix #39

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, June 30. 2010 • Category: Pick 'N Mix

- David Barrie recently gave a thought-provoking lecture entitled "A Bigger Picture: why contemporary art curators need to get out more". He describes why a heritage-oriented mindset can result in constrained collections, noting that: "Despite our long colonial history and our rich links with countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean [...] visitors to museums and galleries in the UK have remarkably few opportunities to see art that is being produced in countries that lie outside the narrow confines of the so-called 'international contemporary art world'." He also skewers the myopic tendencies of some curators who "... neglect art that does not fit comfortably into their intellectual categories". He calls for curators to "get out more", escape the bonds of insularity, and be brave by broadening their own horizons. The text is simultaneously a call to action and an examination of conscience.

- A great interview with Carolee Thea by Richard J. Goldstein that reveals some of her thoughts on the biennial ("an exhibition structure beyond itself, an event that allows for very difficult subject matter"; "Its function, as defined by planners and curators, is to add intellectual capital"; "a component in spreading visual literacy"; etc) and the art market ("artists and curators are unavoidably affected by the onslaught of art fairs and consumerism"). (Thea's recent book of interviews with prominent curators, On Curating: Interviews with Ten International Curators also looks quite good.)

- "I'm not against the market. It's just that I'm against the way the market is overdetermining the art complex at the moment," Vasif Kortun says. "At the same time, we know full well that we provide almost a recruitment ground or a research and progress for the market at the same time. It would be quite ridiculous to say that the biennale is completely alien and independent of the market and its interests."

- Francesco Bonami once said "In theory now you could curate a whole Venice Biennale using only the Internet". The Guggenheim takes a few steps in that direction with YouTube Play, a contest to find the best online video works. Submitted videos will be assessed by a jury and the winners will be exhibited at Guggenheim Museums around the world, and of course, on YouTube.

- An article by Janine Armin on the New York Times articulates the current precarious position freelance curators find themselves in, and identifies the growth of biennials as a particular bright spot in opportunities for freelancers. I found Nicola Trezzi's article describing the growth of artist-curated exhibitions in FlashArt a good complement to Armin's article. While Armin's article quoted established curators explaining why freelancers are still very much necessary (even if it is difficult to be one), Trezzi's article can be viewed as taking those statements even further, reminding us of the multiplicity of reasons why or how someone would curate an exhibition, how it's a creative act in itself, and the value of the artist-curator viewpoint.

Pick 'N Mix #37

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, April 18. 2010 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
- A great upcoming event in beautiful Edinburgh for your diaries: Radical Complicities, Curating Art in the 21st Century. Saturday 1st May 2010, speakers include: Beatrice von Bismarck (Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig), Nav Haq (Arnolfini, Bristol), Maria Lind (Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, USA), Sarah Lowndes (Independent Curator, Glasgow), Bojana Pejic (Independent Curator, Berlin). Introduced and chaired by Angela Dimitrakaki and Kirsten Lloyd (The University of Edinburgh). Organised by The University of Edinburgh and presented in partnership with the National Galleries of Scotland, this conference brings together leading figures in the field to consider the potential and limitations of recent and emergent curatorial paradigms in contemporary art.

- Two new issues of "On Curating" are out, featuring interviews with Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Paul O’Neill, Simon Sheikh, Mary Anne Staniszewski, Ian White, Katerina Gregos, and many more. The issues are themed around curating film, and the political potential of curating.

- If you are based in or happen to be in New York, see if you can catch up with the fine folk of CRUMB as they promote their new Rethinking Curating book with talks and high tea.

- More interviews and news stories I found around the web: a great story about boom and bust times in the art world with Neville Wakefield, one of the three-person curatorial team behind "Greater New York 2010" which opens on May 23rd; an interview with Victoria Lynn, visual arts curator of the Adelaide Arts Festival (click on "Show Transcript"), discussing her favourite artwork and art trends; and a story on Creative Time's plans for expansion and a focus away from "biennialism", with great quotes from both Anne Pasternak and Nato Thompson.

- "Curating as institutional critique?", an event at the Documenta Hallen in Kassel last month, was a symposium to discuss critical curating, how curating can be relevant in a socio-political sense, and how it can change or re-shape structures. This report gives insight into the discussions that happened there.
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Pick 'N Mix #35

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Thursday, February 25. 2010 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
Welcome to another edition of Pick 'N Mix, my collections of links and news relevant to curators.

- There are two events coming up in March that I'd like to highlight. Friends and compatriots CRUMB are launching three books on Friday March 5 in Gateshead, UK. CRUMB's co-founders, Sarah Cook and Beryl Graham, are launching their new book Rethinking Curating: Art After New Media, published by MIT Press, and two new volumes of CRUMB dialogues published by The Green Box, Berlin. Find out more on their Facebook event page. A few time zones over in Philadelphia, USA, on Saturday March 13, a symposium entitled "Curating and Risk" will be held at Moore College. The event is the fifth in a series of public conversations about issues and ideas in contemporary curatorial practice. Admission is free but RSVPs are requested, find out more on Moore's website.

- Two new must-reads: The Exhibitionist is a new journal on exhibition making that looks like essential reading, especially as it is made by curators for curators. Also Independent Curators International has just launched Dispatch, which will host a range of curators around the world on a monthly basis. This month, the host is Sofía Olascoaga, an educational curator based in Mexico City.

- Whitney Biennial curator Francesco Bonami was recently profiled in New York Magazine. A quick read, and interesting merely to see the slightly lazy "curator as failed artist" trope trotted out. The quote from Bonami I liked best was: "It’s a myth that curators change the career of an artist. The work of an artist changes the career of an artist."
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Pick 'N Mix - October 2009

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Monday, October 5. 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.

- A great interview with Mary Jane Jacob is available over at the always interesting Bad at Sports podcast/blog. Jacob is currently Professor and Executive Director of Exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, and former Chief Curator at the MCA Chicago and LA MoCA.

- Some ruminations over at the New York Times on the use and abuse of the term curator. They don't seem too worried about this trend. I guess I'm really old fashioned (or think there has to be a better word for what they describe).

- This article, that describes how famous curator Klaus Biesenbach decorates his home, starts with an excellent anecdote about how he "transformed" a hotel room he stayed in a few years back. The article is a fascinating glimpse into Mr Biesenbach's life, an easy read, and it's in a fashion magazine (so you can mull over the context whilst you read)!

- I'm nearly finished my book review of A Brief History of Curating, by Hans Ulrich Obrist. The book features eleven interviews with key curators in the field and it is a really fun read so far, I have to say. A review soon, I promise!

- has a Facebook page, and of course many of you read this site by subscribing on e-mail or via RSS feeds. I thought I'd throw one more thing into the mix: a Twitter feed! The Twitter feed works just like RSS or the e-mail subscription: whenever I post something new here, you are notified. That's all! I'm not sure if it will be popular or if it is even necessary, but it's not much effort on my part to try it out. If you are interested in a Twitter feed with a bit more going on, feel free to follow my own Twitter profile.

- Speaking of book reviews, and of Twitter feeds, I notice that N. Elizabeth Schlatter has a great page devoted to books for curators, and she also has an interesting Twitter feed.

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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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Pick 'N Mix - August 2009

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, August 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.

- Interesting material on the use of "slack spaces" for art in the recession continues to accumulate: The San Francisco Sentinel had an article recently, and the recent launch of the "No Longer Empty" initiative in New York City highlights the opportunity that the economic crisis presents for curators and artists interested in transforming spaces in their cities and in remaining active despite the lack of jobs, downturn in sales, and an overall grim outlook.

- Venice Biennale curator Daniel Birnbaum spoke at TED Global and there are some notes from his presentation here. I think it's interesting that he starts from the very basic question of what is a curator, and works from there. TED (which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design) is known as a high-profile series of conferences that invites household names (and soon-to-be household names) to expound upon their most cutting-edge theories to an elite audience. It's nice to see contemporary artists and curators start to gain more traction on the TED roster. The notes on Birnbaum's session at TED held my interest because for me it is always fascinating to see how people write and speak about the work of curators for a general, non-artworld audience. Give it a read and see what you think of it.

- This article on "The Digital Curator" describes how curators (including emerging and aspiring ones) are using curating virtual exhibitions to kickstart their careers. The article notes how curators can use blogs and online exhibitions to enhance their reputations and gain projects in the "real" world from these efforts, with some interesting examples.

- And last but not least, in this short video, (crank up the speakers, the sound is a bit quiet) curator Stephanie Rosenthal describes the premise behind the "Walking in my Mind" exhibition that she curated at the Hayward Gallery.

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Pick 'N Mix - June 2009

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Tuesday, May 12. 2009 • Category: Pick 'N Mix

Apologies for a late Pick 'N Mix this month... but I had a great excuse. Like many others in the art world, the beginning of June involved being completely absorbed in the Venice Biennale. You can check out my photos from Venice here.

- While we're on the topic of Venice, the Wall Street Journal posted a short interview with the director, Daniel Birnbaum, who curated the main exhibition spaces at the Biennale. Birnbaum says: "I think if the curator is successful, he becomes invisible in a way." This idea of invisibility may initially seem impossible in this particular case, as indeed Birnbaum's job is a very visible one in a sense, but Birnbaum's work also is made invisible by the sheer scale and grandeur of the event. For me, the dazzle of the preview week prevented real reflection, and it is only upon my return, looking at my many photos, that I can begin to appreciate Birnbaum's curatorial methods.

- Of course, following on immediately after Venice is another major art event (albeit of a different nature) -- Art Basel. The organisers have magnanimously transcribed the talks that have taken place at Art Basel over the years. Browse this archive and see what strikes your fancy. (Coincidentally, the conversation for Art 36 Basel was hosted by Daniel Birnbaum.)

- The credit crunch continues to bite, and Curbed L.A. pronounces that the career path for architecture curators is "looking dodgy", partly on the basis of the recent layoff of L.A. MOCA's architecture and design curator. Personally, I'd hesitate to call it a trend of a scale to make the whole career path 'dodgy', though this individual instance is unfortunate.

- I recently received an email asking about good websites for job hunting. While it's true the best jobs are often the ones that you hear about from friends and colleagues, you couldn't go wrong keeping an eye on Akimbo (Canada-focused), Arts Professional (UK-focused), the Guardian culture section (UK-focused), Museum Jobs (UK-focused), CHIN (Canada-focused), ArtsJobs (US-focused), and the NYFA (US-focused). Of course, I'll continue to post lots of relevant jobs here.

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Pick 'N Mix - May 2009

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Friday, May 1. 2009 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
Welcome to May's Pick 'N Mix:

- An interesting ethical issue is raised by Regina Hackett in her great, new-ish blog, Another Bouncing Ball. In a post entitled "Curators who are loath to credit art dealers", she outlines a few examples wherein collectors were acknowledged, but the dealers who helped to make an artist's career weren't. She asks: "Isn't it time to abandon the illusion that dealers are all about money and curators are all about art?" It's an underdiscussed topic, and I think Hackett is exactly right: the lines between the roles of all participants in the art ecosystem can be a bit fuzzy at times, and certainly the psychological barriers set up between for-profit practice and other areas is less than useful (though that doesn't mean it should escape critical examination).

- In a similar, why-does-this-happen-when-it-makes-no-sense kind of vein (though I apologise for the lack of a direct relation to curating), Jennifer Higgie writes a piece on the recent Turner Prize shortlist for Frieze's blog, noting that once again critics are braying about the "weirdness" of the shortlisted artists' works. Read the article to find out Higgie's hilarious counterpoints to the supposed weirdness of the nominees.

- I quite liked this interview in BOMB Magazine, where a curator is the interviewer, rather than the interviewee. Again -- sorry for the tenuous link, but I think Pedro Reyes is a really interesting artist, and Tatiana Cuevas does a great job interviewing him.

- On a final note, I'm happy that it's Futuresonic Festival time again in Manchester. Festival Director Drew Hemment and Art Programme Manager Dennis Hopkins have curated the main exhibition, and has decided that rather than hold the usual gallery tours conducted by himself or gallery staff, he will have external curators give tours of the exhibition, that will be "honest, open, warts and all". This idea is appealing on so many levels: to see what commentary a fresh pair of eyes will bring, as a solution for how to involve the curatorial community in an exhibition that they didn't take part in formulating, etc. I am delighted to be one of these external invitees and look forward to the experience -- I will report back on how it went here!
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Resources: On Art Blogging in Europe

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Thursday, April 9. 2009 • Category: Reviews & Resources
Recently I was interviewed by Annette Wolfsberger for LabforCulture, about this blog and my conception of art blogging in Europe. It's the beginning of a new series on cultural blogging. They ask: "Who blogs? What are they blogging about? Which audiences and communities are being engaged? What are the language-specific issues and the economic models? And how sustainable are they?"

Perhaps it's a bit 'meta', but I thought it worthwhile to point out this interview about on the excellent culture portal LabforCulture, which is just the start of a series, and I will note that there is another great interview as part of the launch of this effort with Claire Welsby of InterventTech.

Happy reading!
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Pick 'N Mix - April 2009

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Saturday, April 4. 2009 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
Where did March go? It's time already for April's Pick 'N Mix:

- To start, I'd like to point you in the direction of this great (and growing) online resource: Curators in Context. Arising from a series of events held in Canada in 2004 and 2005, this resource has transcripts, audio, and video of talks by curators on a wide range of topics. There is a lot to uncover here. As a small taste, I'll just drop in a quote that I quite liked from the abstract for Ivan Jurakic's talk, Navigating the Curator-as-Artist Divide: "The difficulty lies in this complex synthesis of practice and theory, which must not only be applied to the increasingly fragmented means of production, presentation and dissemination of contemporary art, but also respectful of the creative autonomy and expectations of the artist. The 'job' of curating becomes a sophisticated form of intellectual gameplay, which posits the curator in a position sometimes parallel to that of conceptual artist." The site also features a wiki (user-editable web page) that has a list of definitions that could be helpful, and that will also presumably grow.

- A two-part interview with Okwui Enwezor at BaseNow has some complex answers to straightforward questions. Responding to the question of how Enwezor views the role of the curator, he says (in part) "But a curator can't simply be the advocate or booster or supporter of one type of art or another without a sustainable intellectual and cultural argument [...] the one role I do not subscribe to is the curator playing the role of the supreme judge of what is correct. I loathe the idea of the curator as judge of taste. To me there is no critical judgment in tastemaking, only a perverse form of prejudice emerges from taste."

- On a final note, I am now caring for and will be distributing some sourdough starter, as part of the Cultural_Capital project by Kate Southworth and Patrick Simons. "Drawing parallels between the use of bacteria and culture in traditional breadmaking and the self-organising and generative condition of network art, Cultural_Capital is a transformational artwork in which a sour-dough starter is created and grown in the gallery; cared for by the curators." The creators of the project further note that the work "is conceived as a touring artwork that accumulates bacteria and cultural capital from every venue in which it is installed." I am obliged, as a participating curator in the project, to take care of the starter for at least a week, and then pass a portion of the starter on to another curator. So far, so good... it's day two and despite adding (gasp!) white flour, I think the culture is thriving!

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Pick 'N Mix - March 2009

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, March 1. 2009 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
In like a lion, out like a lamb... welcome to March's Pick 'N Mix, a real mixed bag of treats this month:

- First of all, a postscript of sorts to last month's Pick 'N Mix, the "credit crunch edition": You've all surely read it by now, but in case you haven't, Holland Cotter's article, "The Boom Is Over! Long Live the Art!" in the New York Times is well worth a read. Complementing some of Francis McKee's comments that I quoted in last month's edition, Cotter writes: "Anyone with memories of recessions in the early 1970s and late ’80s knows that we’ve been here before, though not exactly here. There are reasons to think that the present crisis is of a different magnitude: broader and deeper, a global black hole. Yet the same memories will lend a hopeful spin to that thought: as has been true before, a financial scouring can only be good for American art, which during the present decade has become a diminished thing." Also, over at New Curator, there's an article on creative use of "slack spaces", which are some of the thousands of retail shops that have been vacated due to the credit crunch and not rented. As Pete at New Curator writes: "What better way to encourage economic stimulus than making sure commercial properties don’t fall into ruin and improving the image of the surrounding area?"

- I'm contemplating writing a whole article about "guest" curators and freelance curators, and their place in the market. Until then, maybe you can just read what I'm reading: an article on the American Association of Museums website called "The Stranger Among Us: Managing the Guest Curator Relationship", and an article by Sharon Heal entitled "Be My Guest" in the February issue of Museums Journal (sorry, the article isn't online! See if you can sneak a peek at Museums Journal at your local library or museum), the upshot of which is that it's a good idea to bring in outside experts in particular areas (for example, a milliner for a hat show) to curate temporary or permanent exhibitions.

- There's a good interview with the ever-interesting curator Nato Thompson at art:21. Favourite quote: "As much as the onslaught of cultural production over the last fifty years has radically altered capital’s relationship to aesthetics, it has also made us much more aware that knowledge has a form, and that there are a myriad of forms for the delivery of information and the production of knowledge. Basically, knowledge is a performance, whether it is the stage of the classroom, or the aesthetics of a typeface in a book, to the performance in a street, to a multi-channel video projection." A satisfying statement to unpick, which led me to ponder how curators perform knowledge.

- A brief article about the internationalism of the curatorial profession in the Japan Times: "Why Curators Stay at Home". To sum up, it asks why more Japanese curators are not "super curators", zooming around the globe, and the article comes up with the rather predictable answer that in order to be international, one must rack up a few air miles and be willing to exchange. Worth a read for the interview snippets with Fumio Nanjo, though.

- A fascinating piece entitled Whither Curatorial studies? is available on Artworld Salon. This piece rightly interrogates the existence of curatorial degree programmes and what they hope to accomplish and equip their students to do. "Undoubtedly the role of curator has been squeezed too narrowly between administration and dealmaking; but the travesty may be that curatorial studies programs fail to acknowledge this when they recruit students and collect their often sizeable tuitions. Shouldn't we then ask what sort of training curatorial programs are giving their students?" Of course, similar questions could be directed at so many fine art degree programmes and humanities programmes as well -- scores of artists leave art school without even knowing if their work fits into a commercial market or not, and if it does, what to do with that information. However, this essay at Artworld Salon is right to focus on curatorial studies, a field of study that, due the competitive jobs marketplace and varying contexts within which curators can work, demands much of those designing the curriculum.

- ...and, this just in: Nat Muller has reviewed the recent symposium at the Witte de With, "The Curators". A taste: "the curator as the new rock star, the self-proclaimed priests and priestesses of the art scene, the critics’ darlings or foes, the curator as genius, the curator as fascist, the curator as the icon we love to hate, or adore. It’s a lot of pressure…expectations were high."

P.S. Don't forget -- some of these articles don't stay online forever. If you want to refer to them in future, develop your own archiving system or use Evernote.
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Pick 'N Mix - December 2008

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Saturday, December 6. 2008 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
Welcome to December's Pick 'N Mix!

- First off, a project by Vienna-based curator Miriam Kathrein. Kathrein has been developing her artist vs curator/curator vs artist project since 2007, and the latest iteration of this project is being featured on The project is a vehicle for debate and visualisation that examines "...the relationship and shifting roles of artists and curators in contemporary art and the resulting consequences in art production." The latest work in this project is a collaboration with graphic designer Alva Unger, wherein three artist/curator pairs responded to selected texts that focus on notions of "expertise, authority, authorship, collaboration, intermediary, curator as artist, roles and competition". Six gorgeous posters have been designed which are free to download and print. The starting points for responses were quotes from texts by Jan Verwoert, Dave Beech & Mark Hutchinson, and Soren Andreasen & Lars Bang Larsen. The respondents were Borjana Ventzislavova, Jason Lazarus, and Clemens Leuschner (artists), and Michelle Kasprzak, Emmanuel Lambion, and Joseph del Pesco (curators).

- I've been watching a lot of video interviews with curators lately and thought I'd share some favourites with you. Sarah Cook, Newcastle-based curator and co-founder of CRUMB, discusses curating new media art and her most recent role as Curatorial Fellow at Eyebeam in New York in a video on DanceTech. Several clips are available at the Victoria & Albert's website, including interviews with the curators of Between Past & Future: New Photography and Video from China. JoAnne Northrup, Senior Curator at the San Jose Museum of Art, discusses their exhibition Robots: Evolution of a Cultural Icon on YouTube. Hans Ulrich Obrist, who needs no introduction, delivered an eight-part lecture to the European Graduate School, and these lectures are available on YouTube. Jens Hoffman gave an interesting lecture on the nature of curatorial practice, which is available on
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More podcasts

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Saturday, November 22. 2008 • Category: Reviews & Resources
The San Francisco Art Institute has a podcast series entitled "Dialogues". Two podcasts in this series may interest readers: one featuring Laura Hoptman, and another featuring Carlos Basualdo.

Laura Hoptman curated the 2004 Carnegie International exhibition in Pittsburgh and Drawing Now: Eight Propositions at the Museum of Modern Art, Queens. In her talk, Hoptman discusses her interest in artwork that explores big questions: those of life, death, and the meaning of the universe. Carlos Basualdo is the Curator of Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and an Adjunct Professor at the IUAV University in Venice, Italy. He was a co-founder (with Hans Ulrich Obrist) of the Union of the Imaginary, an online forum for the discussion of issues pertaining to curatorial practice. These podcasts are long and feature lengthy introductions, so better to listen to these when you have a bit of time.

Veteran podcasters Bad at Sports teamed up with Side Street Projects to present a 10-part podcast series entitled "What Do Curators Want?" that covers best professional practices for contemporary visual artists. While the podcasts are definitely aimed at artists (and give some terrific concrete tips to artists), the messages about professional practices are often applicable both ways. Far from theoretical talks, these short, practical discussions might be useful to curators too. Of particular interest may be hearing how the featured curators in these podcasts discuss perennial issues such as artistic quality and different types of exhibitions and exhibition venues. Compare their views to yours!

Frieze Foundation (the good folks who bring us the Frieze Art Fair, Frieze Magazine, and other goodies) also have a great podcast series. One of their recent podcasts, Cultural Cartography: Does Art Travel? is a discussion chaired by Philippe Vergne (new director of the DIA Art Foundation in NYC, former Chief Curator and Deputy Director, Walker Art Center) focusing on whether art can really speak across borders. What happens when the local becomes global? Vergne, in his introduction, questions whether we are really taking advantage of international connections and jokes that this podcast could have alternatively been titled "Pasta or chicken?", echoing that familiar refrain on long haul flights. It's a strong panel and well worth downloading.

Happy listening!
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Pick 'N Mix - October 2008

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, October 5. 2008 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
Welcome to October's Pick 'N Mix. First off, a couple of housekeeping items. You may have noticed the arrival of the "Culture Pundit Ad Network" box to the right. I would like this site to support itself a little, yet I am unwilling to inflict garish and irrelevant ads upon my readers. The logical solution was to apply to become part of the Culture Pundit network, which delivers relevant ads to terrific arts publishers such as VVORK, Bad At Sports, Rhizome, and Art Fag City. Happily, they accepted my application and I will now be running their ads here. If you like, give the ad a click every once in a while!

Another housekeeping item is about the links that I provide to newspapers and periodicals. I often see items that I like on news sites and link to them, only to go back a few months later and find that the item I linked to has become completely inaccessible. Usually what happens is that the item becomes available only to paying subscribers for that particular news service. To address this, recently I started using an archiving tool called Evernote. While I haven't been using it long enough to really know how well it actually works (or if there is a way for me to export or save the data that I have collected should I choose to leave their service), it does appear to do the trick of archiving whole web pages with one click. So I'd like to strongly recommend that if you find a link to something you are interested in here, especially on websites operated by newspapers and magazines, try using Evernote or some other tool to make a permanent archive for yourself.

...and now, onto this month's Pick 'N Mix items:

- I recently contributed an essay, "For What and For Whom?" to the CUREDITING issue of online journal Vague Terrain, which was guest edited by CONT3XT.NET. The theme of the issue aims to create "... a "screenshot" of actual tendencies within curatorial and editorial models: artistic creation and the processes of its re-formulation within different presentational contexts are brought together under the label CUREDITING, a hybrid between the two concepts of "curating" and "editing"." I chose to take the rise of online group curating as the point of departure for reflections about intentions behind curatorial and editorial tasks, and the misrepresentations that occur due to the use and abuse of the term "curator".

- On a similar note, Anna Somers Cocks unpicks a few misconceptions and myths about what curators do (you will want to "Evernote" or otherwise archive this link!). "Misconception number one: that curators have a narrow range of knowledge. The reality is that a good curator has breadth as well as depth."

- Interviews, interviews, interviews! Eyebeam Curatorial Fellow Sarah Cook is interviewed by Ceci Moss, and Director at Carnegie Mellon University's Miller Gallery Astria Suparak is interviewed by Lauren Cornell on Rhizome. NowPublic is featuring a video interview with Gavin Wade about Eastside Projects, a new artist-run space in Birmingham, UK. Last but not least, Artkrush editor Paul Laster interviews Christopher Phillips, senior curator at New York's International Center of Photography, about the Chinese art scene.

- I recently came upon the website for Curators in Context, which "...aims to be an open, fully interactive, bilingual and collaborative web space for national and international visual art curators." We can look forward to a digital and audio archive launching sometime this year. In the meantime, however, there is a great essay entitled "Speaking Through Silence" by Jan Allen, Curator at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, ON, Canada available for download (link opens PDF file). Allen says: "In laying out some of the "unspoken" dynamics underpinning curatorial practice, I raise questions about the degree to which conditions support the presentation of new forms of art and identify tensions inherent in the institutional curator’s role, including the seldom broached zone of personal and professional motivation." This essay brings us full-circle in a way by raising the question of motivation, which is highlighted in the "For What and For Whom?" essay that I mentioned first of all. Happy reading!
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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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