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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 - April 2007

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, April 1. 2007 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
To start off the new month (and I promise none of these will lead you to a silly April Fool's joke) I thought I'd provide a little "pick 'n mix" of what I've browsed lately that is of interest to curators:
  • Hanne Mugaas and Cory Arcangel have compiled (curated!) a very interesting list of art videos on YouTube, as part of a larger project entitled Art Since 1960 (According to the Internet). Definitely worth a look, set aside a bit of time if you dare click here!

  • Interviews on curating.info are coming up in the next few months (they are still in the incubator!) but for now go read this good (though brief) interview with curator Lu Jie on Artkrush.

  • In a détournement of the office football pool, Leisure Arts has created a championship pool for curators. While I'm unsure how it works precisely (sports pools are clear since there are matches of one team versus another, and I'm uncertain how one curator is pitted against another) it is an amusing concept nonetheless. Check it out here.

  • The Museums and the Web conference is in just ten days! Read the conference abstracts and full papers here.

  • d/Lux/MediaArts has just released the Coding Cultures Handbook, which offers some interesting perspectives on digital tools, social networks, and open labs - all concepts which have, will, and in some cases, truly should influence curatorial and museological models.

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