Contemporary art curating news and views from Michelle Kasprzak and team

Job: Assistant Curator at the University of Dundee

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, December 20. 2006 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
University of Dundee (College of Art & Design, Architecture, Engineering & Physical Sciences)

Assistant Curator, Exhibitions
Salary Scale: Grade 5 (£17,461 - £20,234)

You will assist the Curator with conceiving, researching, developing and implementing Exhibitions Department’s programme. You will project manage exhibitions, projects and events. You will co-ordinate departmental administration, be involved with all aspects of finance and will schedule and delegate work to the Technician and Casual and Trainee staff. You will be responsible to the Curator of Exhibitions.

The Exhibitions Department office is busy, being responsible for over 30 projects a year. The ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines as well as a willingness to work in relation to peak demands are required. You should have good word processing, spreadsheet and DTP skills. You must have good interpersonal, communication and negotiating skills as you will need to liaise with artists, organisations, and the general public as well as students and a broad range of University and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design staff. Previous experience within a visual arts organisation and study in contemporary visual arts or a similar discipline is essential. An understanding of current developments in contemporary Visual Arts is desirable.

Further details and an application pack are available from our website: Alternatively, contact Personnel Services, University of Dundee, Dundee, DD1 4HN, United Kingdom. tel: (01382) 384817 (answering machine). Please quote Reference number AAE/1601

Applicants will only be contacted if invited for interview.

Closing date: 31 January 2007

The University of Dundee is committed to equal opportunities and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.
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Job: Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, December 20. 2006 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
(This post, at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, will be formally advertised on their website in January 2007. is now advertised here.)

Job Title: Curator
Department: Contemporary Team
Pay band: Band 5
Reporting to: Head of Contemporary Programmes

Purpose of Job
To play a leading role in the Contemporary Team by initiating, organising and supporting a variety of projects in the Contemporary programme.

Main Duties
1. To curate discrete aspects of the Contemporary programme.
2. To project manage and co-ordinate discrete aspects of the Contemporary programme. This will include preparing and monitoring each exhibition’s schedule and supervising budgets to ensure projects are completed on time and to budget.
3. To actively contribute to the development of the Contemporary programme within and beyond the V&A context.
4. To ensure close liaison and effective communication with staff in other V&A departments and external contributors.
5. To communicate the programme to a wider professional and public audience.
6. To have a proven interest in global Contemporary art, craft and design with in-depth knowledge and expertise in at least one specialist area, particularly digital media, architecture or photography.
7. To research, publish and communicate new ways of presentation and of engaging people with the Contemporary programme, particularly through the use of the V&A website and other digital media initiatives.
8. To research and implement learning, evaluation and audience development methods.
9. To line manage and support the work of other Contemporary Team members, volunteers and students placements.
10. Answer general telephone and written enquiries; deputise for the Head of Contemporary Programmes when required.
11. Be committed to health and safety and ensure familiarity with all of the Museum's health and safety policies and procedures.
12. Be security conscious, ensure familiarity and co-operation with all Museum security procedures and ensure you wear a security pass at all times when on Museum premises.
13. Carry out other ad-hoc duties as required by the Head of Contemporary Programmes and appropriate managers within your department.

PERSON SPECIFICATION - Essential Requirements

The post demands a good level of general education, a high degree of literacy, numeracy, word processing and database skills, as well as the ability to work well with a wide range of people.
1. Proven interest and expertise in global Contemporary art, craft and design, particularly digital media, architecture or photography.
2. Effective diplomacy/negotiation and influencing skills.
3. Exceptional written and oral communication skills.
4. Awareness of and active interest in the V&A’s Contemporary vision and strategy and how this relates to the V&A’s overall aims and objectives.
5. Self-motivator, who can also work well as part of a team, and when necessary lead and motivate a team.
6. Exceptional organisational and planning skills with a proven ability to pay attention to detail, but also to be able to work on more than one project at a time.
7. Cheerful disposition with a flexible and positive approach to all aspects of the job. Ability to remain calm and deal courteously with people whilst working under pressure. Willingness to work on projects that are not necessarily your primary interest.
8. High level of initiative and common sense.

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Man Bites Dog (or, Artist Chooses Curator)

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, December 13. 2006
When a curator simply chooses an artist, that isn't news. (Just as a dog biting a man would not be news, either.) But when a man bites a dog, or an artist chooses a curator, we've got more of a story. (Background on the journalistic expression "Man bites dog").

I'm using "Man bites dog" in jest, of course, but it was a phrase that immediately struck me that whilst reading an article by Dana Gilerman I found at

Suzanne Landau, a senior curator at the Israel Museum, will curate the Israeli Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in June 2007. A Culture Ministry committee selected artist Yehudit Sasportas six months ago to represent Israel at the event; Sasportas, in turn, chose Landau to curate the exhibit.

An unusual move, I would say. Landau seems to think so as well:

"I have a problem with this method, in which a random group sits and selects an artist," says Landau. "It seems abnormal to me. I think this group could have irrelevant interests, and there have already been cases in the past that proved this. I have also mentioned this more than once to Idit Amichai, the coordinator of the Culture Ministry committee."

What would you suggest instead?

"That the committee choose a curator, as is the practice in other countries and as was done here in the past."

The reasoning for this inversion of process is provided a bit later on, but is glossed over:

There were also ethical problems in the past with regard to the selection of curators. "Then perhaps the problem is that Israel is a small country and there is nothing that can be done about that."

The ethical problems that would blight a selection process for a curator would also no doubt cause problems when selecting an artist. I don't have the knowledge of the art scene in Israel that would allow me to comment on this specific case with special insight. However, I think that the reasoning behind why the process ended up being a "man bites dog/artist chooses curator" situation is quite interesting. Suzanne makes a fair point in her response, but even the largest countries break down into very small art scenes, usually defined by city boundaries, but also sometimes subdivided even further. "Ethical problems" could mar a selection process in a scene of any size. The question is, how do we handle these problems, and is the solution to invert the process entirely?

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Job: Curator, Turner Contemporary

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Thursday, December 7. 2006 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
Turner Contemporary, a major new international centre for the visual arts, is scheduled to open in 2010. We are now looking for a creative individual for the following position:

Job Title: Curator (off-site projects and exhibitions)
Salary: £28,618 - £33,380 dependent on experience
Location: Margate, Kent
Hours: Full time
Closing date: 15 January 2007
Interviews to be held on 2 February 2007

You will be a key member of the Turner Contemporary team and will work closely with the Director to research, plan, manage and deliver all aspects of the offsite and exhibition programme. You will be a graduate in a relevant subject with substantial experience of working in a gallery and a broad knowledge of twentieth century and contemporary art.

For more information about the post, please telephone Victoria Pomery on 01843 294208.

For an application form and job description, please email recruitment.line - at - telephone 08458 247 904 (charged at local rate) or write to Recruitment Line, Kent County Council Contact Centre, Lower Ground Floor, Invicta House, County Hall, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1XX
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