Contemporary art curating news and views from Michelle Kasprzak and team

Marketing the Museum

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Friday, September 29. 2006 • Category: Musings
Seth Godin is a marketing guru who has published numerous books and has an excellent blog. I'm not a marketer nor a businessperson with a product to sell, but I read his blog anyways because I find the underlying psychology of marketing to be quite interesting. In the end, it's all about how people relate to people, a topic that should interest anyone who has to interact with people on a daily basis (which is probably 99% of us).

Usually the content on his blog is relevant to me on this fundamental level of human psychology, not as a curator or arts administrator directly. In one of his recent posts, however, Godin has some direct critiques for curators at museums:

I think in every single case, what keeps museums from being remarkable:

a. the curators think the item on display is the whole thing. As a result, they slack off and do less than they should in creating an overall story

b. they assume that visitors are focused, interested and smart. They are rarely any of the three. As a result, the visit tends to be a glossed over one, not a deep one or a transcendent one

c. science museums in particular almost beg people NOT to think.

I can't remember the last time a museum visit made my cry, made me sad or made me angry (except at the fact that they don't try hard enough).

Definitely some food for thought in there, though probably echoes of criticisms we are all well aware of. Godin wraps the post by saying:

The takeaway for me is that in fact the issues of storytelling and remarkability and respect are universal, whether you're a non-profit or a job-seeker. It's all people, all the time.

This is true, and why it is relevant for curators and arts administrators to look to other disciplines, like marketing, for new approaches from time to time.
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Curating Management Education at Stockholm University

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Friday, September 29. 2006 • Category: Announcements
International Curating Management Education
Dept. of the History of Art/School of Business
Stockholm University, Sweden

Next course starting January 2007
Application Deadline: 15th October, 2006

The International Curating Management Education at Stockholm University specialises in the combination of arts management, art history, law, and practical curatorial work in a composition that is unusual in comparison to similar courses internationally. Furthermore, the academic level of the education is in keeping with the university environment that we are a part of. We encourage applications from persons within the academic field as well as with curatorial and artistic experience.

The International Curating Management Education is a full time course programme offered by the Department of Art history and the School of Business in collaboration with the Department of Law at Stockholm University. The course faculty consists of representatives of these departments, as well as directors and curators at the Liljevalchs Konsthall and Magasin3 Stockholm Konsthall. Guest lecturers include practising artists, critics, curators and scholars practising in Sweden and internationally.

The education programme spans over a 15 month period and consists of theoretical courses, including a Master’s thesis, a ten weeks internship in Sweden or abroad, a summer workshop, and work on an exhibition project. The teaching takes many forms within the education: lectures, seminars, and supervised work both individually and in groups. Furthermore, each student has a personal tutor from the course faculty. Depending on the make up of the student group, the course is presented in either English or Swedish.

We aim at an education that encourages creativity and innovation as well as an awareness of traditions and a responsibility for museum collections. In other words, we envision a field that bridges institutional and alternative environments. We are attentive to the student’s individual focus and students are encouraged to develop their own profiles.

Upon completing the International Curating Management Education at Stockholm University, the student receives a course diploma. Students who previously hold a Bachelor’s degree fulfil the criteria for a Master’s degree.

For detailed course description, prerequisites and application directions, please refer to our web site. E-mail: curator -at-

Please note that no scholarships are offered. International students are also recommended to obtain general information for visiting students in Sweden from the University's web site.
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Curator's talk: Nat Muller at Studio XX

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Thursday, September 28. 2006 • Category: Announcements
Méta Femmes br@nchées 05 – Nat Muller
October 5th 2006, 10AM, at Studio XX

StudioXX celebrates its 10th birthday under the auspices of Event X, 2 days of conferences, round table discussions and performances. In connection with this event StudioXX will host visitor Nat Muller to present her own curatorial practice.

Nat Muller will be at StudioXX in the morning, on the 5th of October to host an intimate talk on her curatorial work. Her primary research directions have concentrated on the intersections between aesthetics, technology and politics, as well as new media and art practices in the Middle East. Nat will update us on her position as curator working between Europe and the Middle East, bringing up questions emerging from this networked practice which is, according to her, often schizophrenic. You are cordially invited to take part in this discussion.

In order to orient and animate the discussion we have invited active local curator Alice Ming Wai Jim who has recently returned to Montreal after working for 3 years in conservation at the Vancouver International Center for Contemporary Asian Art (Center A). Alice is now a professor at Concordia University. Her main fields of interest include contemporary Asian art, the art of the Diaspora, new medias, theories of representation, globalization, urban studies and curatorial practices. The links between the practices and orientations of Alice Min Wai Jim and Nat Muller promise to foster a dynamic discussion between these two interventionists and the attending public.

The discussion will be in English. $5, free admission for members. Register: [email protected] or call (514) 845-7934

Studio XX
338 Terrasse Saint-Denis, Montréal (Québec) H2X 1E8 Canada
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Job: Curator of New Media

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Monday, September 18. 2006 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
National Museum of Photography, Film & Television
Location: Yorkshire & Humberside
Salary: £26,627 - £36,326
Closing date: 6 Oct 2006

The multiple award-winning NMPFT celebrates the power of the still and moving image which shape our understanding of the world. The Museum offers exciting opportunities to enjoy a rewarding, varied and challenging future within an open and inclusive culture for individuals with the skills we are looking for.

Assisting with the development of a New Media Collection, you will translate this subject area into engaging and innovative exhibitions, events and publications which appeal to a diverse range of audiences. An appreciation of how new media technologies can be used by museums, broadcasters and other channels to affect lives positively is essential.

The ideal candidate will have an arts related degree coupled with at least 5 years' experience in a gallery or similar environment. Strategically, commercially and financially aware, you have the credibility to manage a budget - making decisions confidently and sharing best practice at all times to create a truly memorable experience for our visitors. If you can add to this creative flair underpinned by some experience of working with artists and creative agents, bring your skills to an organisation that's as ambitious as you are.

We regret that we can only respond to successful applicants. No agencies. The NMPFT is an equal opportunities employer and particularly welcomes candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds.

To apply please send your CV and covering letter to Sabia Akhtar, HR Department, NMPFT, Pictureville, Bradford BDI INQ Tel 01274 203300 or email: nmpft.personnel -at-
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Public as curator

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Thursday, September 14. 2006 • Category: News
Opening tomorrow at the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas is a show that has been curated by the public.

"Gems of the Collection: Community as Curator" was "curated" by local residents by answering a survey that the museum had produced. presents 80 exceptional artifacts — paintings, gems, minerals, textiles, furniture, gowns and one-of-a-kind objects — that have stayed in the memory banks of loyal Witte supporters.

The Witte opened in October 1926. That's a lot of memories for visitors, and some of them are plain weird — from shrunken heads to a stolen diamond. [...] It's all about nostalgia, revelation, enlightenment and wonder, according to organizers.

It's a stretch to call curating by survey curation at all. In this case I think it is more accurate to call the "community curators" selectors or respondents. Naming issues aside, since it is a celebration of the museum's 80th year of operation, it is a PR-friendly move to have a community oriented exhibition.

Read the full article, including quotes from the "community curators", here.

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Job: City Without Walls

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Tuesday, September 12. 2006 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
City Without Walls, (cWOW), New Jersey's oldest alternative art space, is seeking a curator for its third annual 1800Frames exhibit, which features recently produced, independent, non-commercial one-minute videos.

SCHEDULE. Show dates for 1800 Frames are December 7, 2006 - January 11, 2007. Curator selection and a call for work will be posted by mid-September. The curator's final selection of approximately 40 works and completion of a brief catalogue essay are due by late October.

CURATORIAL PROCESS. The curator is free to select any artist of their choosing. The curator is not required to select cWOW members, and selected artists are not required to become members. However, curators must review all member entries, and are encouraged to ask artists to join. This process ensures high-quality, independent selection, while also building our membership base, which provides crucial support for programming such as the 1800Frames exhibition.

EXHIBITION DETAILS. cWOW's gallery in downtown Newark is a state-of-the-art facility with over 1,600 square feet of exhibition space, including a main gallery, a project room, 9-foot screen, several flat-screen TVs, and other video projection equipment. Videos may also be made accessible through our website ( and will be available as a tax-deductible premium compilation disc to support cWOW.

CONTACT. William Ortega, Gallery Director, City Without Walls, 6 Crawford
Street, Newark, NJ 07102-2412, tel 973.622.1188, fax 973.622.2941, [email protected],
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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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Fellowship opportunity for curators

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Friday, September 1. 2006 • Category: Announcements
Dedalus Foundation, Inc., New York, NY
U.S. citizens only
Deadline: September 15, 2006

Senior Fellowship Program: 
The Dedalus Foundation invites applications to its program of grants in support of art historians, critics, and curators pursuing projects related to the study of modern art and modernism. 
Applicants need not be affiliated with educational institutions or museums; they may not, however, be candidates for a degree. Applicants must be U.S. citizens. 

Awards will be made for periods of up to one year. Stipends will vary according to need, with a maximum of $30,000. 

Submission Guidelines:
Completed applications and supporting letters must be received at the Foundation by September 15th. Announcement of the award will be made by mid-December. 

Request for fellowship application forms and guidelines should be addressed to: 

Dedalus Foundation, Inc. 
555 West 57th Street, Suite 1222 
New York, NY 10019 
Attention: Senior Fellowship Program 

More information
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