Welcome to this month’s Pick ‘N Mix.

– “Everyone’s a Curator” is the theme of a recent item over at Bad at Sports. As they say: “Even Umberto Eco. I love what the Louvre is doing by signing him on as guest curator (as they have previously done with writer Toni Morrison and composer Pierre Boulez)”. I’ve blogged about this exact thing at this exact place happening before, where I speak in a sombre fashion about the “rather serious role of cultural arbiter” that curators play.

– Everyone’s a curator, which I suppose makes everyone stressed? File this under “slightly strange finds”: an article on CNN Money ranking curator as one of the most stressful jobs around.

– Ah, no, I’ve got it wrong, the stress comes from all the ways there are out there to be ranked and turned into list-fodder! There’s been lots of buzz (both positive and negative) about the ArtReview Power 100 list and Hans Ulrich Obrist, superstar curator, takes the number one spot. Meanwhile, Hyperallergic blog did a spoof list of the Top 20 Most Powerless People in the Art World, wryly listing “assistant curators living off $27,000 salaries, with $80,000 in grad school debt from a fancy curatorial studies program” in 7th place.

– The issue of private collector’s exhibitions, especially in these uncertain financial times, won’t go away. I read about it first on Tyler Green’s blog. He quotes the position of AAMD executive director Janet Landay: “We assume that our members bring the same curatorial purpose to these exhibitions as they do to any other, ultimately to answer the question: ‘Does this presentation support our mission and benefit our audiences?’ Moreover, these exhibitions often have works of art not frequently seen by the public. So, the museum is providing an opportunity for audiences to experience and enjoy new objects that they otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to see.” Green says that: “Landay’s comments miss the point. It is virtually impossible for shows from single private collections to have the same art historical or scholarly purpose as curator-generated exhibitions because they rely on a single, narrow source. Fluff shows are the opposite of curatorial purpose because by narrowly restricting a curator’s view they limit curatorial freedom, investigation and inquiry. They are the primary means through which art museums devalue their curatorial departments.” I have to say that I agree with Green, however the question is why are these exhibitions becoming more and more the norm rather than ostracised because of the impact they have on curatorial freedom that Green notes?

– There is a new issue of On Curating, check it out! The whole issue is terrific but my highlights were the essays “Avant-garde Institute” by Joanna Mytkowska and “Kinoapparatom presents: Other Spaces of Cinema” by Simone Schardt and Wolf Schmelter.

– I was also absorbed by “Curatorial Responsibility and the Exhibition of Israeli and Palestinian Political Art in Europe” an essay that was written for the catalogue of “Overlapping Voices, Israeli and Palestinian Artists”, by curators Karin Schneider, Friedemann Derschmidt, Tal Adler, and Amal Murkus. I find their working difficulties sobering, and in the end their questions put top 100 lists and the opinion of CNN Money very much in perspective.

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