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Michelle Kasprzak's views on contemporary art curating

Pick 'N Mix - December 2009

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Friday, December 11. 2009 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
Welcome to the last Pick 'N Mix of 2009!

- Here is yet another art world power list, listing several curators, many of whom are "household names" of a sort (Birnbaum, Bonami, Obrist, etc). We're a society obsessed with lists and awards it seems!

- Andy Warhol was all over the news this past month, and one of the major news items referred back to a situation in 1990 involving well-known and respected curator Pontus Hulten. According to reports, some of Warhol's famous Brillo boxes were replicated after the artist's death and passed off as originals, which has resulted in a sticky situation for everyone involved. The details, including some information on Hulten's role in the story, is available at Artnews.com. More potential Warhol fakes were discovered, in London-based art dealer Anthony d'Offay's collection, prompting Tate Modern Director Sir Nicholas Serota to hold off on buying the self-portrait on the taxpayer's dime. Full coverage at the Guardian. Of course, it is not hard to imagine that our late Uncle Andy would have had a huge laugh about the complications surrounding a desire for verified authenticity.

- While we're thinking about money, value, and authenticity, here's a good read: The British Council has been holding lectures by leading thinkers such as Dambisa Moyo, Amartya Sen, Muhammad Yunus, and others. In early November Benjamin Barber gave a lecture on art, money and democratic change and it's available to watch or read at the British Council website.

- Here's a handy research tip: If you use Twitter, send a tweet with your research interests to Mute Magazine, and they'll dig up something relevant for you from their archives! I asked them for articles on curating and public art, and was promptly sent links to two great articles: Curating Self-Consciously, and Airing Dirty Laundry in Public Art. Give it a try!

- Independent Curators International (iCI) has a series of lectures planned that looks terrific. Sunday, December 13th Ana Paula Cohen is speaking at the New Museum in New York, USA. Further details here. If you are in the New York area, sign up to their email list to get information on future talks.

- Last but not least, please consider helping a researcher out and filling in this questionnaire for curators developed by Lisa Ladner. I'm sure the results will make for fascinating reading.

Happy holidays!
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Pick 'N Mix - February 2009

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, January 21. 2009 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
Welcome to February's Pick 'N Mix: the credit crunch special!

- They say the financial trends that impact the art world are about six months behind larger global financial trends. Perhaps there's a grain of truth to that, given the doom and gloom in the headlines recently, including a 20% reduction in staff at the LA MoCA and the Rose Museum's (apparent) imminent closure.

- Significant job security worries aside for a moment, what could this mean for curators? Mark Spiegler, Art Basel co-director believes that "...with less money flowing around, gallerists may conclude that if there are no sure sales, they might as well do something interesting and significant. In the past, certain types of art were sure to sell, and if you took a risk, you were leaving money on the table." Glasgow-based curator Francis McKee concurs with this sentiment, explaining in this longer segment on BBC Scotland the largely positive impact that the last major recession had on the London and Glasgow art scenes: "the recession will actually help us in some ways".

- And of course, in these tough financial times, it's never a bad idea for the state to intervene: In France, Nicolas Sarkozy has canceled a cut to culture funding and he instead increased the budget by €100 million, established a new cultural council, and implemented a policy enabling free entrance to museums for visitors under twenty-five years of age. Bravo!

- Last but not least, while we may have to stretch budgets a bit further for practical things, Ben Davis argues we should not allow ourselves to enter an intellectual recession as he discusses a current crisis in art criticism: "For if a neoliberal boom has been the context for the "crisis of criticism" debate heretofore, the current, stomach-turning collapse represents the implosion of that economic model. [...] Mainstream ideas about what makes sense for society are in flux. Shouldn’t criticism be too?"
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