Contemporary art curating news and views from Michelle Kasprzak and team

Opportunity - Call for Papers, Art & the Public Sphere, deadline June 17

Posted by April Steele • Saturday, April 16. 2011 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
What is public? What constitutes publicness?

Call for Papers:
The second issue of the Art & the Public Sphere invites contributions which particularly address the question of how we might define ‘public’. Conventional and historical understandings of ‘public art’ have focused on spatial and locational contexts for practices, production and critical reception. Other defining factors of art and the public sphere have concentrated on its funding or accessibility. If we reject ‘public realm’ and ‘public space’ as flawed ways of identifying what is public about public art, then there is a need to interrogate the idea of the public itself, in all its multiple forms and guises.

If public is the key to public art, then we need to ask how publics are formed and maintained, what threatens them, where they can be found, how can publics be animated and served. What is (or constitutes) a public or publics? Can a public be distinguished from a mass, a market, a nation, a crowd, a community? How is it different from the commons? Are there transitory and temporary publics or should these not be articulated as publics at all? What is the social, cultural and political relationship between the individual and the collective of individuals which becomes a public? Is a public necessarily engaged in dialogue with itself, or is a public an audience to the monologue of those who speak?

Art & the Public Sphere provides a new platform for academics, artists, curators, art historians and theorists, whose working practices are broadly concerned with contemporary art’s relation to the public sphere. Art & the Public Sphere also presents a crucial examination of contemporary art’s link to the public realm, offering an engaged and responsive forum in which to debate the newly emerging series of developments within contemporary thinking, society and international art practice. Art & the Public Sphere invites contributions and interdisciplinary articles, which confront orthodoxies, propagate debate and reflect on art’s role in contributing to the public sphere. We encourage fresh approaches to research arising from practice, theory, philosophy and politics, and welcome contributions from new and established researchers, scholars, practitioners and professionals.

Full research papers and longer articles should be 6,000-8,000 words. They should include original research or propose new methods/ideas that are clearly and thoroughly presented and argued. Shorter research papers, from 2,000-3,000 words, exploring specific issues and raising questions (or putting a position for debate and response) are also welcome. Experimental approaches to writing and criticism, and visual essays/contributions are invited.

Our reviews section includes public art commissioning and contexts, curatorial projects, exhibitions, publications/books, architecture/planning, performance/events, symposia/conferences/debates and artworks. Please send proposals, suggestions and submissions to the Reviews Editor, Paul O’Neill (pauloneillp[at]

Articles, to include a 250 word (max.) abstract, should be sent to the Principal Editor, Mel Jordan (mel[at], who will also respond to preliminary enquiries about suggested contributions to the journal. Please do not send images until your article has been accepted. All images to be at least 300dpi.

The final date for all submissions for the second issue is: Friday 17 June 2011
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Opportunity: Call for curators, DownStreet Art

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Friday, December 31. 2010 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

DownStreet Art is pleased to announce a call for artists and curators for the 2011 season.

DownStreet Art 2011 will run for from June 23rd till October 11th (Columbus Day Weekend). It will begin with a kick-off celebration on June 23rd and will hold four "DownStreet Art Thursdays" (with all galleries hosting opening receptions and downtown performances); and it will all culminate in North Adams Open Studios weekend on October 11th. Please note that as a public art project, DownStreet Art is dependent on available/empty spaces, sufficient funding and adequate staffing. While we are planning for 2011, the number of available/empty spaces (and thus opportunities) is uncertain at this time.

DownStreet Art is a program of MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) a non-profit organization that provides professional development training, resources, and support to the artists, art managers, and creative workers of Berkshire County run by the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, MA, USA. Through it’s multiple programs and presentations, BCRC brings the best of performance and art to the Berkshires and showcases the best of the Berkshires to the world.

DownStreet Art is a public art project designed to revitalize downtown North Adams. A post-industrial city in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, North Adams first began its cultural revitalization with the opening of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in 1999. More than ten years later, the city is in its second wave of economic development through the arts and other creative economy business.

By harnessing existing arts organizations and events and transforming vacant and open spaces into arts destinations, DownStreet Art defines North Adams as a cultural haven, driving tourists and community members’ downtown in a four month celebration of the arts. Since its inception in 2008, over 50,000 visitors came downtown and through the doors of DownStreet Art’s galleries and exhibits. For DownStreet Art 2011 our goal is to build on what we have accomplished to date while deepening the dialogue between our community and the arts. DownStreet Art gives artists and curators competitive opportunities to exhibit their work and to be promoted on a national and international level.

For more information and to download the application please refer to the DownStreet Art website.

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Opportunity: Living Room 2011, Auckland

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Monday, July 12. 2010 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

Living Room 2011 – An Auckland City Council Public Art Event

"Living Room" is a key annual public art event for Auckland City, which aims to bring high quality art to the streets of the CBD over a weeklong period. Living Room has been running for four years and has evolved and grown over that time. The event takes place in variety of public spaces, and includes a range of visual and performing arts projects – both static and moving. The Living Room 2011 programme will have strong performative aspects, and include performances, performative installations, ephemeral art projects, and video programming.

We are currently seeking expressions of interest from curators to develop and curate the Living Room 2011 programme. Council also appoints a project manager as part of the Living Room team who will work closely with the curator, and will manage the delivery of the event.

Our ideal candidate for curator will have a proven track record of innovative curatorial practice, be Auckland based, and be able to work as part of a high performing team to deliver an outstanding event.

The deadline for expressions of interest is Friday 30 July 2010, 5pm

For more information visit the Auckland City Council website.
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Opportunity: Meridian | Urban Curatorial Projects on Health

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, June 16. 2010 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

Haus der Kulturen der Welt invites up-and-coming curators to enter their proposals for site-specific art projects in public space for Meridian | Urban. Curatorial Projects on Health.

Meridians – imaginary lines running from pole to pole, connecting one region with another – help us map the world. In traditional Asian medicine, the meridian system is an invisible network that provides the body with vital energy. Although Western science has not yet acknowledged its existence, the meridian is our starting point for targeting questions of balance and imbalance.

Curators are invited to propose artworks for the city center of Berlin. The projects should address the relationship between art and health, referring to its implications for contemporary urban life and challenging our idea of human nature. Creating a map of the city and detecting its pulse, the projects of Meridian | Urban will be presented in public spaces in Berlin during the 8th Asia-Pacific Weeks (September 6-17, 2011). Selected participants will be invited to a workshop in the framework of Synapse, the international network for up-and-coming curators at Haus der Kulturen der Welt.

Organization and partners:
Haus der Kulturen der Welt is a place for international contemporary arts and a forum for current developments and discourse. It presents artistic productions from around the world, with a special focus on non-European cultures and societies. Visual arts, music, literature, performing arts, film, academic discussions and digital media are all linked in an interdisciplinary program that is unique in Europe. Haus der Kulturen der Welt plans and coordinates the cultural section of the Asia-Pacific Weeks Berlin in cooperation with the Berlin Senate Chancellery and local and international partners.

Application requirements:
The call is open to curators with initial curatorial experience in the field of public art. At least one member of each project/group (curator or artist) must be Berlin-based, and at least one member must be able to demonstrate a link to the Asia-Pacific region.

Deadline for entries: September 17, 2010
Please submit your application digitally (pdf file of max. 9 MB) to meridian.urban -at-
Only electronic applications in English will be accepted.
In order to apply, please send the components of your project proposal as listed below.

Components of project proposals
1. Application form with personal details
2. Detailed concept of the project with visualization in the form of sketches, photos, plans, etc.
3. Suggested venue in the Berlin city center and a sketch of the site
4. List of participating artist(s) and curator(s) including brief CVs
5. Report of previous curatorial projects
6. Schedule for development and realization
7. Financial plan

Selection procedure:
An international jury of curators will review the project proposals and announce up to five selected projects by October 2010. Each selected project will receive a financial subsidy for production costs of up to EUR 20,000 as well as logistic support. The selected participants will be invited to a preparatory production meeting in Berlin (up to one week) between late October and December 2010. Groups will be asked to send a single representative.

Jury members: Katja Blomberg (art historian, Berlin) | Yu Yeon Kim (curator, NYC and Seoul) (tbc) | Osvaldo Sánchez (curator, Mexico City) | Adele Tan (art historian, Singapore)

Contact: If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact meridian.urban -at-

Meridian l Urban. Curatorial Projects on Health takes place in the framework of the 8th Asia-Pacific Weeks, September 6-17, 2011. The Asia-Pacific Weeks are supported by the Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin.
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SCAPE 2008 biennial curators announced

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, July 15. 2007 • Category: News
Internationally renowned Turkish curator Fulya Erdemci joins New Zealand's Danae Mossman to form the curatorial partnership for Art & Industry's 5th SCAPE 2008 Biennial of Art in Public Space.

The Art & Industry Biennial Trust with Director Deborah McCormick are delighted to announce the pairing of Fulya Erdemci and Danae Mossman. Fulya Erdemci brings a wealth of international experience to this position and as Director of the International Istanbul Biennial for 7 years, (she directed the 4th, 5th, 6th and partly 7th Biennials) as well as curator of "Istanbul Pedestrian Exhibitions"� (Istanbul Yaya Sergileri) - "the first exhibition designed for pedestrians in public space in Turkey" - she has an impressive background in art in public space.

Local curator, Danae Mossman whose presence at Christchurch project space The Physics Room has been hugely influential, comes to SCAPE as one of New Zealand's most promising curators. As well as two international curatorial residencies (Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne and DAAD, Berlin) Danae recently co-curated TRANS VERSA, (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo / Matucana 100 / Galeria Metropolitana) in Santiago, Chile.

Like the last biennial in 2006, SCAPE 2008 will be developed in conjunction with Christchurch's major cultural stakeholders and will be located within the Cultural Precinct. The SCAPE 2008 Hub and Indoor Exhibition will once again feature at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, as major partner of SCAPE it will become an important venue for symposia, discussion and lectures. With site-specific interventions by participating artists from around the world, SCAPE 2008 will propose "a new culture of space" to reinvent the democracy, equality and "publicness"� through the unique space, place and locality of Christchurch City. As well as visiting artists, SCAPE will attract speakers, arts professionals and new audiences to Christchurch, stimulating and questioning the way we experience and enjoy the pubic space.

This unique curatorial pairing is supported through funding from Creative New Zealand, the Arts Council of New Zealand. SCAPE 2008 will be the 5th biennial organised by the Art & Industry Biennial Trust, New Zealand's only international biennial dedicated to contemporary art in public space.
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Job: Curator of SCAPE Biennial

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, March 14. 2007 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
The SCAPE Biennial of Art in Public Space is New Zealand's only international contemporary biennial dedicated to public art. 2008 is the fifth SCAPE Biennial for Christchurch and the 10 year anniversary of the Art & Industry Biennial Trust, who present the SCAPE Biennials.

The Art & Industry Biennial Trust (Art & Industry) is seeking your Expression of Interest (EOI) to be considered as one of two key curators for this important New Zealand biennial taking place between September - November 2008 in Christchurch. SCAPE is one of the largest producers of new contemporary art in Australasia; engaging local, national and international audiences with new artworks by leading New Zealand and international artists in public space through partnerships with industry.

SCAPE also has a significant partnership with the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu. An indoor exhibition, hub and public programme will be supported by the Gallery.

This exciting opportunity is for one New Zealand and one international curator. Once formed, the curatorial partnership will be responsible for reflecting Art & Industry's Strategic Plan, relationships with stakeholders and partners as well as matches to industry resources. The curators will also be required to build on the existing profile of the event locally, nationally and internationally while delivering a distinctive programme which challenges the parameters of the public's relationship with art. Both partnered (national/international) and individual applications are welcome. Art & Industry is happy to broker relationships between interested curators.

For further details and/or to receive an application pack please contact Art & Industry: scapebiennial[at] Final submission date for all applications is Friday 27 April 2007. The Art & Industry Biennial Trust is supported by Creative New Zealand, the Arts Council of New Zealand and the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu.
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List Center curators discuss MIT's public art

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Saturday, September 9. 2006 • Category: News
In this interview, Bill Arning, the curator of exhibitions at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, and Patricia Fuller, curator of public art, discuss MIT's public art collection. The collection was recently named one of the ten best campus art collections in the United States by Public Art Review.

The interview is brief, which makes the comments on conservation of public art stand out in their frequency. I suppose it is a classic problem, that new acquisitions are sexy and are relatively easier to find funding for, while the maintenance and preservation of acquired works is a harder line item to sell to a donor or funder. Of course the ways in which art is funded varies widely from country to country, so we need to analyze this situation in an American context. What is made clear in the interview is that the List Center could use more money for conservation, and what is made clear by looking at the map of MIT's public art (link to the map below), is that they have many pieces, which must have required a great deal of money to acquire. We can make some assumptions based on that, I suppose.

Read the article here: List Curators Discuss Evolving Face of Public Art.

You can download a map of MIT's public art pieces by clicking here.
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Fumio Nanjo and Douglas Fogle

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Monday, September 4. 2006 • Category: News
Two articles came out over the weekend featuring two curators: Fumio Nanjo and Douglas Fogle. Nanjo is the curator of the Singapore Biennale that opened today. Fogle is the curator of the 2008 Carnegie International. Both articles had the curators speaking about the influence of the city on the shows they curated (or in Fogle's case, the show he is still developing).

Fumio Nanjo says, in the interview portion of the article:
"In the beginning, we were talking about the location of Singapore, so we thought maybe (we should) refer to content. Then we visited many places in the city, 60 different locations, to look at the space for art. Then we visited many temples, shrines, churches. We thought this is quite interesting, the first time (in Singapore) art is being placed in religious sites."

Towards the end of the article on Douglas Fogle, he has this to say:
"We're not just transporting this show in from Mars. I'm hoping it will connect with Pittsburgh. It's such a wonderful city, with such a great history, and such a great history of the International." [...] "it's about doing a really interesting show."

It's excellent to hear curators of high-profile exhibitions like these discussing the impact that host cities will have on their shows. Biennales don't happen in bubbles, and it will be interesting to see how their awareness of their respective locales manifests in the final exhibitions. I wish I could be in Singapore right now to see some of the examples that Fumio spoke of.

Article on Fumio Nanjo in The Star (Malaysia).

Article on Douglas Fogle in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
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Final Month of Transmedia :29:59

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, July 9. 2006
Transmedia :29:59, the year-long programme of time-based art shown on a video billboard in Dundas Square in Toronto, is drawing to a close this month. It's been a fascinating and somewhat turbulent year. The year of programming on the board started off really nicely with a terrific launch event, where myself and Pierluigi Vecchi (VJ Fluid) VJ'd live to the billboard, and DJ Cyan and naw provided the live sonic scapes. It was really empowering and also technically fascinating (to see what worked and didn't work) sending images live to the board.

Curating for urban screens is a many-headed beast, though the inherent challenges only make the triumphs more sweet. Imagine asking artists to create very short pieces with no audio that must essentially be PG-rated and you can imagine how difficult it might be to both produce and find effective work for the board. And so, after the launch, the hard work began. Michael Alstad (the co-curator) and I are really proud of the choices we made, and strove to choose pieces for each month that connected, though they would never be presented one after another. What mattered to us was choosing videos from month to month that linked thematically or aesthetically, and that the overall programming on the board made sense.

As I mentioned earlier, the year wasn't without its turbulent moments, and from time to time we had to make some difficult choices. Clear Channel owns and operates the board that we have been using over the course of the year. Their requirements for content control were somewhat more stringent than our own, and more than once we had content returned to us with a directive to either change or replace the content. We had a choice to either work within their more strict guidelines or protest, and, in all likelihood, prematurely dissolve the contract with Clear Channel.

Dissolving the contract would have been a cowardly move. As with any other public presentation of creative work, many negotiations take place, and sometimes compromises have to be made. There are no free zones. It is very easy to paint the corporation as the "bad guy" in this and other cases, when in fact, artists are well acquainted with compromise and negotiation when it comes to presentation of their work, and deal with many requests made by curators, dealers, collectors, et cetera. Our situation was no different, where first of all the work has to appeal to us, the curators, and then secondly, the work must not in any way contravene Clear Channel's goals. It is that simple. Of course, sometimes Michael and I as curators try to push the envelope. The artists we have curated have handled requests for changes or new works with much intelligence, grace, and humour, which are all hallmarks of a truly creative spirit. In the end, we are offering a very unique venue to artists, we are proud of the programming we have shown, and we couldn't have done it without Clear Channel's generous assistance.

With all that said, and the year drawing to a close, I look forward to doing more curatorial work in this area and think that there is much to be discussed and learned from curating in this realm. For our final month, we're presenting two works that I'm really excited about. On the 28th minute of every hour, Collin Zipp's "Niverville, MB 08.04" is a gorgeous manipulated landscape. Collin physically defaces the videotape to produce unique effects that culminate in completely new landscapes. On the 59th minute of every hour, we present John Greyson's "14.3 seconds". During the 2003 war, U.S. planes bombed the Iraqi Film Archive. 14.3 seconds of celluloid were salvaged from the wreckage. If you slow them down by 23.8%, they last a minute. This poignant piece is not to be missed.

If you live in Toronto, check out the pieces in their natural habitat, on the pedestrian level billboard at Yonge-Dundas Square on the 29th and 59th minutes of the hour. If you don't, check out the pieces on the Transmedia :29:59 website.
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