Michelle Kasprzak's views on contemporary art curating

Pick 'N Mix #43

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, January 19. 2011 • Category: Pick 'N Mix

- Following the controversy after David Wojnarowicz's work was removed from an exhibition organised by the Smithsonian, and AA Bronson tried to remove his work from the same show in protest, Maura Judkis traces an instance where Wojnarowicz himself tried to remove a work from an exhibition. The case is fascinating and presents counterpoints from the curator's point of view. In 1990, Wojnarowicz tried to remove his work from the exhibition "Art What Thou Eat", curated by Linda Weintraub. In an email interview about both cases she says: "Complying with Wojnarowicz's demand carries a ludicrous implication. It would mean that curators of group shows could only select artists whose sexuality, lifestyles, or political opinions are companionable." and: "An exhibition is a creative expression that deserves the same respect and protection as an individual work of art." Read the full article for a curator's point of view on the removal of artworks from exhibitions.

- More on the evolution of the word curator from a recent article on Visual Thesaurus: "...curators of the ironic might want to make an addition to their lists: the fact that a word which once defined those who looked out for others, now also refers to those who look after themselves."

- I noticed a great initiative on Gabrielle Moser's blog: She's compiling lists of influential "Canadian curated moments". In her words: "...ground rules for the lists are flexible, but I’m looking for exhibitions that were mounted between 1980 and 2010. These could be group or solo shows, and you don’t need to necessarily have seen them "in the flesh", but they need to be curated by a Canadian and include Canadian artists. [...] Though I have started by asking a group of curators I know personally and invited them to submit their lists, the "archive" is open to everyone." You can send your lists to Gabby by contacting her via her website.

- The Are Curators Unprofessional? summit held recently at the Banff International Curatorial Institute has generated quite a bit of online discussion. I found these posts about it particularly illuminating (and have grabbed a few teaser quotes to encourage you to click through!):
Amy Fung at Akimbo: "The almost unanimous rejection of moving information such as catalogues online then is the total fear of losing what little power curators and artists have in the tangible world."
Nancy Tousley at Canadian Art: "This idea of subversion is an exciting notion. It suggests that contemporary artists and curators are closer in their aims than might initially be thought, and that there is potential for curators to participate in substantive change by adopting a strategic "unprofessionalism." "
Ginger Scott at Art in Practice: "The overarching cry from the symposium was to please keep curating unprofessional! It can operate with the freedom it does precisely because it is indefinable."

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  1. Thanks for the link, Michelle! I'm hoping to develop some public discussions out of this attempt at archiving, and hopefully some kind of print document as well. Keep the lists coming.
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