Michelle Kasprzak's views on contemporary art curating

Pick 'N Mix #41

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Monday, November 29. 2010 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
- Karen Love (Manager of Curatorial Affairs at Vancouver Art Gallery) has written this excellent primer for emerging curators, the Curatorial Toolkit. (PDF download). It's very interesting to look over the bones of our profession, see what the essential, common sense information that we should be imparting to younger generations is. Especially since, with the proliferation of curatorial studies in academia, there may be an emphasis on theory rather than what I would call craft.

- But, lest you think I am anti-theory, I recently was delighted to see (and blogged a quick announcement about) the launch of the Journal for Curatorial Studies, which will be edited by Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher. The first issue of this journal is forthcoming, but I am certain it is one to watch.

- Last but not least, a little personal note. I was recently being interviewed by some university students who wanted opinions from a curator for an imaginary smartphone app they were developing that would allow curators to "shop" for work, and much more. I daydreamed out loud with them about looking at artist profiles and work, and then being able to organise it like a mind-map, developing my own categories and tags. I have such a ragtag collection of notes (both digital and analogue) on art and artists that I want to file away for later, that some kind of application like this seemed like a wonderful dream. Quite suddenly in the middle of the conversation I realised this was a terrible idea -- if it was all public. "I wouldn't want to share that information," I said, to their mild dismay. I realised that if I added a tag such as "dark" or "poetic" or "layered" to an artist or work, (terms that might be a shorthand for so many other things in my own mind) to the artist, or to others, it might not seem merely simplistic, but actually offensive. It might ruin some of the mystery involved in curatorial choices as well (which was a lesser concern). I ended up blurting out to the students, "you wouldn't want to know how sausage is made, either", but that isn't quite what I meant. I meant something nicer, like you wouldn't want to know how much work it was to erect the Eiffel Tower, or something similar. Maybe that is food for thought for you. What would be your dream digital tool? How much sharing would be involved in this tool -- some, none, a little bit? Do you feel like you are making sausage, or building the Eiffel Tower? All I know is that I would love an app that would intelligently record my mind maps of art and artists as I see them or otherwise encounter them -- if it's totally private, and with a self-destruct button too, perhaps.
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Opportunity: Call for Papers - The Journal of Curatorial Studies

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, November 28. 2010 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

The Journal of Curatorial Studies seeks original research articles on the subject of curating and exhibitions, as well as case studies, interviews and reviews of recent books, exhibitions and conferences.

The Journal of Curatorial Studies is a new international, peer-reviewed publication that explores the increasing relevance of curating and its impact on exhibitions, institutions, audiences, aesthetics and display culture. Inviting cross-disciplinary approaches from visual studies, art history, museum studies, critical theory, cultural studies and other academic fields, the journal encompasses a diversity of contributions on curating and exhibitions broadly defined. By catalyzing debate and serving as a venue for the emerging discipline of curatorial studies, this journal encourages the development of the theory, practice and history of curating, as well as the analysis of exhibitions and display culture in general.

Through investigations of current and historical exhibitions, display formats in the art context and cultures at large, individual curators and their oeuvres, and the political and theoretical issues influencing the production of exhibitions, the journal promotes a wide-ranging inquiry into what constitutes “the curatorial.” While curating as a spatialized discourse of art objects remains important, in the current era organizing an exhibition involves a much more complex set of critical practices and self-reflexive methodologies that can have effects both locally and globally. This expanded cultural function of curating generates not only exhibitions for audiences to view, but also queries the nature of aesthetic experience, the authority of institutions, the formation of ideology, and the construction of knowledge. The readership of the Journal of Curatorial Studies includes scholars in curatorial studies, art history and museum studies, along with gallery and museum professionals, independent curators and art critics, and cultural theorists interested in art and display.

All submissions should be in English and adhere to the Intellect Style Guide. Please send submissions and correspondence to:

Jim Drobnick, Editor
Associate Professor, Ontario College of Art & Design
jim -at-

Jennifer Fisher, Editor
Associate Professor, York University
jefish -at-

Journal of Curatorial Studies
372 Sackville Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4X 1S5
(001) (416) 515-0177 (tel/fax)

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Opportunity: The Core Program residency

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Tuesday, February 3. 2009 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
The Core Program awards one- and two-year residencies to highly motivated, exceptional visual artists and art scholars who have completed their undergraduate or graduate training but have not yet fully developed a professional career. Established in 1982 within the Glassell School of Art, the teaching wing of Houston's Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, Texas, USA), the Core Program encourages intensive and innovative studio practice as well as the elaboration of an intellectual framework through which to understand that practice. Residents engage in ongoing dialogue with each other and with leading figures in art and criticism who are brought in as visitors.

In 1998, the program added critical studies residencies. These residencies also include a $10,000 annual stipend and access to facilities, including borrowing privileges at the museum's Hirsch Library and the Fondren Library at nearby Rice University. The program runs on an academic calendar, from September through May. Toward the end of each year, the artist residents mount a group show in the school's main gallery, and the critical studies residents prepare essays summarizing aspects of their independent research. These essays, as well as documentation of the resident artists' work, are gathered in a published catalogue. In addition to such writing projects, critical studies residents are challenged to curate their own separate shows using space allotted within the museum and/or school. Additional writing and curatorial opportunities are created through cooperation with other area schools and nonprofit art organizations. Like the artist residents, each critic in the program meets independently with visiting scholars and theorists, as well as the Program Director, to discuss his or her curatorial projects and overall research. In this way an environment is created that amply supports not only the production of individual work by both resident artists and critics but its reception within an intimate yet diverse creative and intellectual community. After the first year, residents may reapply for a second year.

To apply, please visit the Core Program website for further instruction. The application deadline is April 1, 2009, and all materials must be received by that date.
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New publication: On Curating

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, June 4. 2008 • Category: Reviews & Resources is an independent international web-journal focusing on questions around curatorial practise and theory.

For the inaugural issue, the editors asked thirty-one curators a series of questions around what topics in curating they would most like to see discussed, about key resources online, and about exhibitions and peers that have influenced them.

"We have written to professionals, whose position in curating, in the arts and in theory we think most interesting and challenging in contemporary discussion. We invited a broad selection of art-world figures, curators we find critical, artist-curators and other interesting people from our direct networks." is published by Dorothee Richter. The concept was developed by Dorothee Richter in cooperation with Maren Brauner, Johanna Franco Bernet, Barnaby Drabble, Irene Grillo, Petra Haider, Damian Jurt, Christoph Kern, Wolf Schmelter, Thomas Zacharias. Supported by Postgraduate Program in Curating, Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts (ICS), Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK).
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