Contemporary art curating news and views from Michelle Kasprzak and team

Opportunity: Bursaries to attend Art Dubai and Sharjah Biennial

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Saturday, January 31. 2009 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
6 bursaries covering flight and accomodation to attend the ICF workshops at Art Dubai and Sharjah Biennial from 16 to 20 March 2009 are available to UK based curators.

Please send your applications digitally to info -at-

The deadline for applications is the 15 February 2009. The ICF advisory board will meet to review the applications on 17 February 2009. Successful applicants will be notified immediately.

The criteria for selection are:
- A track record of curating international artists (minimum of 3 shows).
- A strong interest in the aesthetics and ethics of global curatorial development
- A collaborative approach to sharing knowledge and expertise.
- A strong written proposal of an ambitious project, which would benefit from the research opportunity of being part of this ICF trip.


16 MARCH - 20 MARCH 2009


In partnership with the Sharjah Biennial and Tate, the ICF will continue its exploration of the emerging positions on contemporary curatorial practice through a week-long series of workshops for emerging contemporary art curators from the Middle East region. The programme will bring together 7 curators from across the region, from the Maghreb, North Africa, the Gulf, Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan together with 6 curators from the UK to participate together in a programme of intensive workshops over a week in March 2009. 6 Bursary places are available!

The programme will take place in Sharjah and Dubai, timed to coincide with Art Dubai and the Sharjah Biennial between Monday 16 March and Friday 20 March 2009. In addition to the published programme of events surrounding the launch of Art Dubai and Sharjah Biennial, participants will take part in a programme of workshops taking place every day during that week.

The programme of workshops will focus on three key areas: - Commissioning artists and artworks –the process of commissioning artists and artworks from concept to realisation. - Building institutions – from building capital infrastructure to developing an organisation's intellectual capital. - Dialogue and exchange – the relationships between institutions and audiences, between the private and the 'public' sectors and between the national and international.

The programme will be led by David A Bailey, Paul Domela, Axel Lapp, Gilane Tawadros and Mark Waugh with contributions from other international curators and arts professionals. Our group of Middle Eastern Curators is made possible with the support of the World Collections Fund.
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Pick 'N Mix - February 2009

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, January 21. 2009 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
Welcome to February's Pick 'N Mix: the credit crunch special!

- They say the financial trends that impact the art world are about six months behind larger global financial trends. Perhaps there's a grain of truth to that, given the doom and gloom in the headlines recently, including a 20% reduction in staff at the LA MoCA and the Rose Museum's (apparent) imminent closure.

- Significant job security worries aside for a moment, what could this mean for curators? Mark Spiegler, Art Basel co-director believes that "...with less money flowing around, gallerists may conclude that if there are no sure sales, they might as well do something interesting and significant. In the past, certain types of art were sure to sell, and if you took a risk, you were leaving money on the table." Glasgow-based curator Francis McKee concurs with this sentiment, explaining in this longer segment on BBC Scotland the largely positive impact that the last major recession had on the London and Glasgow art scenes: "the recession will actually help us in some ways".

- And of course, in these tough financial times, it's never a bad idea for the state to intervene: In France, Nicolas Sarkozy has canceled a cut to culture funding and he instead increased the budget by €100 million, established a new cultural council, and implemented a policy enabling free entrance to museums for visitors under twenty-five years of age. Bravo!

- Last but not least, while we may have to stretch budgets a bit further for practical things, Ben Davis argues we should not allow ourselves to enter an intellectual recession as he discusses a current crisis in art criticism: "For if a neoliberal boom has been the context for the "crisis of criticism" debate heretofore, the current, stomach-turning collapse represents the implosion of that economic model. [...] Mainstream ideas about what makes sense for society are in flux. Shouldn’t criticism be too?"
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Opportunity: Curatorial Residency at La Galerie

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, January 21. 2009 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
La Galerie, a Contemporary Art Centre located in the suburbs of Paris, hosts each year a foreign curator in residence for a period of three months. First organised in 2006, the aim of the residency is to put on an exhibition at La Galerie within the context of an art centre, and to meet artists and professionals working in the contemporary art field in France.

2009 residency dates: from 6 April – 4 July 2009
2009 exhibition dates: 30 May – 25 July 2009

Deadline: application to be postmarked at the latest Friday 23 January 2009.

Free accommodation is provided (including costs of electricity, gas, internet, phone and transport) in a 65 m2 flat in the centre of Noisy-le-Sec (10 minutes by train from Paris + 15 minutes walk). The flat includes a bedroom, a living room/kitchen and a workspace. In addition there is a cellar connected to the flat.

A total budget of 25,000 € is provided by the art centre to cover artists' and curator’s travel costs, the curator’s fee (3000 €), transport of art works, insurance costs, production costs, publicity (invitations, flyers, poster, etc), the publication of a 16 page bilingual French/ English leaflet and of a 12 page leaflet for children.

A short visit (3 days) will be organised before the residency period in order to see the space, meet the team and do some studio visits with artists. The first curator in residence was Bettina Klein (born 1970 in Wadern, Germany, lives in Berlin) for her exhibition “Objet à part” (Ryan Gander, Alexander Gutke, Maria M. Loboda, Kirsten Pieroth, Wilhelm Sasnal, Albrecht Schäfer, Florian Slotawa and Simon Starling) which took place at the art centre from 13 May to 22 July 2006. Then, Anna Johansson (born 1976 in Uppsala, lives in Malmö, Sweden) was selected by the jury to produce her project entitled “A History of One’s Own” (Victor Alimpiev, Marie Andersson, Karlotta Blöndal, Aurélien Froment, Graham Gussin, Martin Karlsson, Guillaume Leblon) from 26 May to 21 July 2007, in the art centre. Last year, Simone Menegoi (born 1976 in Verona, Italy, lives between Verona and Milano) was selected by the jury for his exhibition “Tales of Disbelief” (Athanasios Argianas, Ulla von Brandenburg, Kit Craig, Christian Frosi, João Maria Gusmão + Pedro Paiva, Nick Laessing, Goshka Macuga) from 24 May to 26 July 2008, in the art centre.

La Galerie is one of the 45 Contemporary Art Centres in France, publicly funded by the City of Noisy-le-Sec, the DRAC Ile-de-France - Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Seine-Saint-Denis département and the Ile-de-France region. Founded in 1999, La Galerie offers a programme based on the notion of art as a sensory experience and a reflection of our relation to the world through a conceptual approach. Four exhibitions a year (two monographic, two thematic) offer hitherto unseen works by internationally recognized artists together with those of emerging French artists. The centre's main activities are to produce art works, publish bilingual reference publications, host artists and curators in residence and develop educational activities in relation to the artistic programme.

The exhibition space is 140 m2 on street level.

MORE INFORMATION (no specific website yet)
La Galerie is a member of: tram, Paris/Île-de-France contemporary art network:
d.c.a, French association for the development of art centres:

Each candidate must submit an exhibition proposal, which he/she would be able to implement with the help of La Galerie's team. In addition, the curator would be required to:

- Take into consideration the general artistic programme of La Galerie
- Have an interest in the French art scene and consider it in the final exhibition proposal (through the
possibility of a short visit to Paris before the residency period)
- Engage as much as possible with the context of the art centre and participate actively in public talks and events organised by La Galerie
- Write an introductory text and accompanying texts on the works for the press release and the exhibition leaflet.
To facilitate communication with the La Galerie team and the public, the curator should speak French or English.

The application should contain:
- The curator’s CV/résumé with his/her name, address, phone and e-mail
- An exhibition proposal (2 pages maximum, excluding images), explaining the idea behind the exhibition. In addition it should provide a list of artists with a short text about each artist (5 lines max) and one picture for each artist. The exhibition will take place 7 weeks after the curator’s arrival, so the proposal should be as comprehensive as possible.

Applications can be mailed or e-mailed to:
Marianne Lanavère, Director, La Galerie,
1 rue Jean-Jaurès, 93130 Noisy-le-Sec, France.
lagalerie -at-

Deadline: application to be postmarked at the latest Friday 23 January 2009. After an initial evaluation, 5 or 6 pre-selected curators will be invited to present their projects to a selection panel during a conference call at the very beginning of February 2009.
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Opportunity: Soliciting Unsolicited Proposals, apexart

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Thursday, January 15. 2009 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
Soliciting unsolicited exhibition proposals

Continuing their annual Unsolicited Proposal Program, apexart is currently accepting 600-word, idea-based proposals for evaluation by an international panel of apexart associates (curators, artists, writers, philosophers). Submissions are reviewed independently, anonymously and without visual support material—they are evaluated solely on the strength of the idea. No mountain too high, no river too deep!

Previous curatorial experience is in no way required, and will not factor into the selection process.

The two proposals with the highest ratings will be presented at apexart in the 2009/10 season (September 2009 to August 2010). For those in or outside the field, this program is a unique opportunity to have a professionally mounted exhibition in New York City!

Applications are welcomed and encouraged from around the world. Visit the site for more info, guidelines, past winners, and to apply:

Proposals accepted online only from February 1 to 28, 2009.
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Job: Curator, Kamloops Art Gallery

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Thursday, January 15. 2009 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
The Kamloops Art Gallery is seeking an experienced curator to fill the permanent position of Curator.

The Curator assumes the lead role in research, selection, planning, organizing and evaluation of exhibitions and related public programs and publications, as well as the permanent collection, and oversees the activities of the Program Team, administers budgets and supervises staff.

The successful candidate possesses a degree in art history or a related field with an extensive understanding of contemporary art and art history; at least five years gallery experience; excellent written and verbal communication skills; excellent organizational and computer skills (specifically Microsoft programs); and excellent supervisory skills.

Salary: $50,000

Employee status: Permanent full-time position

For a detailed job description please go to

Application deadline: Friday, February 20, 2009

Please e-mail, mail, or deliver applications to:
Beverley Clayton, Acting Director
Kamloops Art Gallery
101-465 Victoria Street
Kamloops, BC V2C 2A9
or bclayton -at-

Faxed applications will not be accepted.

The Kamloops Art Gallery is an equal opportunity employer and thanks all applicants for their interest in the Gallery. Only those short-listed will be contacted.
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Job: Exhibitions Curator, National Gallery, London

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, January 11. 2009 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

£43,400 - £52,800 p.a.

The National Galery is seeking a senior curator with significant experience of exhibition organisation to play a leading role in the future development and management of the Gallery's exhibitions programme.

You will be responsible for generating and developing exhibition proposals and for seeking out international partners for the Gallery's programmes. With responsibility for a small specialist department you will also co-ordinate and direct work across a range of Gallery departments, setting and agreeing budgets and schedules to ensure that individual exhibition projects are delivered to the Gallery's high professional standards.

You will have specialist knowledge of Art History and extensive contacts in the museum world both in the UK and internationally, as well as experience of managing complex projects.

Closing date: 23 January 2009.

For an application pack please visit or e-mail recruitment -at- Alternatively telephone Matthew Merchant on 020 7747 2504.
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Opportunity: Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Monday, January 5. 2009 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship
Deadline: March 1, 2009

The Philadelphia Museum of Art seeks applicants specializing in modern and contemporary art for a post-doctoral fellowship, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and offered beginning June 2009. Available to outstanding scholars who wish to pursue a curatorial career in art museums, this two-year fellowship, with a possible third year renewal, will provide curatorial training while also supporting scholarly research related to the renowned collections of modern and contemporary art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The Mellon Fellow will work in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, collaborating closely with the individual curators as well as with other curatorial, conservation, education, information services and registrar staff. The Fellow will have access to the collections, and to the Museum's library, and partake of all the professional privileges extended to Museum staff.

Working in consultation with the supervising curators, the Mellon Fellow will develop concrete projects that complement their research interests and the priorities of the department. Research projects that contribute to the Museum's scholarly publications or exhibitions drawn from the permanent collections are encouraged. In addition, the Fellow will also have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of museum activities, such as exhibition and program planning, volunteer training, art history lectures and gallery tours.

Applicants must have completed a PhD within the last five years or have a proven record of equivalent accomplishment. Candidates must demonstrate scholarly excellence and promise as well as a strong interest in a museum career. Mellon Fellows will receive a competitive starting salary. Benefits and a travel allowance will also be provided.

Please apply with a statement of no more than 4 pages (double spaced) describing your preparation, area of research and potential relationship to the Museum's collections. Applications should also include:

- A complete curriculum vitae, including education, employment, honors, and awards

- A writing sample

- Complete contact information (name, address, e-mail, telephone)

- Three letters of recommendation sent directly to the Museum at the address below.

Statements of interest with writing samples can be submitted online at Complete application materials must be received by March 1, 2009. 

Human Resources

Philadelphia Museum of Art

P.O. Box 7646
Philadelphia, PA 19101-7646
No telephone calls, please
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Pick 'N Mix - January 2009

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, January 4. 2009 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
Welcome to January's Pick 'N Mix. I hope all readers had a great holiday and have big plans for 2009!

- Whether you have big plans for 2009 or not, here are some possible dates for your calendar: March 5-7, 2009. The excellent Witte de With contemporary art centre in Rotterdam is holding a symposium entitled "The Curators". It sounds terrific, especially the way they have balanced the programme of speakers. From their promotional text: "The practice of curating is a much discussed topic within the art world, but is often neglected by the media and thus remains largely invisible to the broader public. With our selection of speakers, we aim to put a wide range of faces to the often elusive and contested title of curator. Invited guests include freelancers, artist/curators and others fulfilling hybrid roles, curators working inside and outside of art institutions, those responsible for major international art events and those working on an intentionally local scale." For more info, check out the Witte de With's website.

- This recent interview with Ami Barak, the curator of ArtFocus 5, is especially relevant given the major news headlines of the moment on the escalating violence between Israel and Palestine. The article states: "When one is curating a large art exhibition in Jerusalem [...] One must deal with the conflicts this city generates for those working in it." Later, the curator says: "All the Palestinians we had invited didn't want to come - those from the territories and those with Israeli citizenships. They told us that they didn't wish to participate in an exhibition being held in 2008, Israel's 60th anniversary, and also because the exhibition was being held in Jerusalem. [...] I'm not criticizing them. They fear being a victim of manipulation and that they would be used for propaganda and demagogy, I can understand that." This is a fascinating interview that highlights the political role of the curator in a very candid way.

- The deadline for the De Appel curatorial programme in Amsterdam is fast approaching - January 31!

- A fascinating discussion about artist/curator ethics has been developing on the CRUMB mailing list. The debate covers the perennial topic of ethics around artists who also work as curators (and vice versa), and the methods of selection for exhibitions that are employed by such hybrid workers. You can read the thread online, although I highly recommend subscribing and also checking out CRUMB's work online!
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Opportunity: ICF Bursaries to attend Tate Symposium

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Friday, January 2. 2009 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

6 bursaries of £250 each for travel and accomodation expenses to attend the Tate Symposium on Contempory Art in the Middle East on 22 and 23 January 2009 are available to UK based curators.

Please send your applications digitally to: info -at-

Deadline for applications is the 8 January 2008. The ICF advisory board will meet to review the applications on 9 January 2009. Successful applicants will be notified immediately.

The criteria for selection are:
- A track record of curating international artists (minimum of 3 shows).
- A strong interest in the aesthetics and ethics of global curatorial development.
- A collaborative approach to sharing knowledge and expertise.
- A strong written proposal of an ambitious project, which would benefit from the research opportunity of being part of the ICF.

Contemporary Art in the Middle East: A Two-Day Symposium at Tate Britain and Tate Modern

Defining the Middle East How do we define the Middle East? Can the Middle East be understood as a fixed physical entity or is it a dynamic and shifting definition, moulded by changing historical, social and political realities? What place does the diaspora play in defining contemporary Middle Eastern culture? This session investigates contemporary and historical definitions of the Middle East and how these impact on the making and distribution of art.

Writing and Translation: How does the interpretation and contextualisation of modern and contemporary art from the Middle East effect its understanding at home and abroad? What is lost in the process of translation and how can it be reclaimed to encourage deeper and more nuanced readings? This session explores writing on art and translation as well as broader issues of access and interpretation.

Art Now: Recent Exhibitions: There has been a proliferation of exhibitions of contemporary Middle Eastern art both in the region and abroad. This session will be dedicated to presentations by curators and artists reflecting on recent exhibitions and curatorial projects. Speakers include: Stuart Comer, Suzanne Cotter, Catherine David, November Paynter, Khalil Rabah and Andrew Renton.

Tradition and Modernity: What were the specific conditions out of which modern and contemporary art emerged in the Middle East? How have ideas about tradition and modernity played out within this context? This session looks at how definitions of tradition and modernity have shifted over time and in different national contexts in the Middle East.

The Politics of Space: What will be the impact of new and emerging spaces for seeing and exhibiting modern and contemporary art in different parts of the Middle East? This session looks at the spatial politics of art in the Middle East from major architectural developments in the Gulf such as Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi to more fluid institutional spaces for art such as the Sharjah Biennial and the ‘Home Works’ international forum in Beirut.

For more information, please see:

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