Michelle Kasprzak's views on contemporary art curating

Job: Director of Exhibitions, Gladstone Hotel

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Tuesday, February 23. 2010 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

Director of Exhibitions - Gladstone Hotel
Toronto, Canada

Position available immediately This job posting is closed.

Salary range: based on credentials and experience

Only interview candidates will be contacted. No phone calls please.

The Director of Exhibitions is accountable to maintain the artistic fabric of the Gladstone as set out in the vision of the property ensuring a connection to the art community locally and internationally; while proactively building the business of exhibitions and curatorial space; positioning Gladstone as the pre-eminent Art Hotel worldwide.

Reporting directly to the General Manager:

Role Responsibilities:

- Provide leadership and guidance to the property team providing a clear understanding of the Gladstone art culture
- Responsible to sell overall property with a specific focus on:
- Exhibitions
- Studio Space
- All Gallery Space
- Photo and Film Shoots
- Develops and deliver on annual business plan for exhibition and curatorial services
- Development and implementation of all sales strategies for exhibition and curatorial services and other revenue streams within the property.
- Drive and monitor sales initiatives including personal sales calls, site tours, meetings, training and monitoring of such sales.
- Exhaust all avenues to sell space, attract new clients and position hotel within local, Canadian and international markets
- Produces Gladstone sponsored events.
- Accountable for marketing the Gladstone exhibition and curatorial space
- Develop Client Relationships and partnerships with sense of liveliness, authenticity and passion for our arts business and the people we serve.
- Attend networking events to promote venue
- Attend and participate in related associations, committees and juries.
- Constant evaluation of competition
- Connect exhibitions to other sales opportunities with the Hotel, explicitly food & beverage sales and hotel room sales.
- Act as press liaison, ensuring “messaging” and “branding” of Hotel as it relates to our exhibitions mandate. Ensure all press receives appropriate materials in promotion of hotel. Ensure updated photos and press kits are available. Helps to promote the exhibitions of clients of the Hotel through appropriate messaging and listings.
- Promote and Encourage inter-departmental co-operation and communication to improve customer service, over-all guest satisfaction and proper promotion of Hotel’s mandate and services through:
- Directs design, lighting, production, space planning and audio visual needs of all exhibitions within Hotel.
- Regular Analysis and Reporting on events: building on successes and correcting shortfalls
- Expectation of Time allocation:
+ 50% Prospecting/Closing Business
+ 20% Curatorial
+ 10% Production Management/Scheduling
+ 10% Marketing
+ 10% Strategy & Developing Partnerships

Job Requirements: Qualified candidates will have the following experiences (Knowledge, Skills and Ability)
- Operate with high integrity in delivering exceptional service to our guests.
- Demonstrates a Passion for the Sales as well as a passion for Arts Programming Successful experience in proactive sales and the ability to effectively close.
- Possesses analytical ability to quantify success of exhibition based on sales generated, cultural-social value or “buzz” factor.
- Creative thinker with ability to come to decision quickly
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
- Keeps current with competitive environment.
- Ability to work both independently and in a team environment.
- Outstanding customer service skills as well as strong oral and written skills.
- Ability to network and build relationships.
- Have strong organizational skills and drive towards achievement of goals /objectives.
- Must be able to convey information and ideas clearly and concisely.
- Must be able to work with and understand financial information and data.
- Ability to work extended hours to meet requirements on business volumes.
- Experience in Delphi an asset.
- Proficient in Windows O/S and Microsoft office applications.
- Education and Experience:
- Minimum 5 years working in the arts community in similar role
- Minimum 2 years experience in sales
- Bilingualism an asset.
- Salary Range: based on credentials and experience

Please email your resume to Celina to apply: celina at gladstone hotel dot com This job posting is closed.
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Pick 'N Mix - October 2009

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Monday, October 5. 2009 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
Welcome to this month's Pick 'N Mix, a selection of interesting tidbits about curators that I spotted on the web over the past few weeks.

- A great interview with Mary Jane Jacob is available over at the always interesting Bad at Sports podcast/blog. Jacob is currently Professor and Executive Director of Exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, and former Chief Curator at the MCA Chicago and LA MoCA.

- Some ruminations over at the New York Times on the use and abuse of the term curator. They don't seem too worried about this trend. I guess I'm really old fashioned (or think there has to be a better word for what they describe).

- This article, that describes how famous curator Klaus Biesenbach decorates his home, starts with an excellent anecdote about how he "transformed" a hotel room he stayed in a few years back. The article is a fascinating glimpse into Mr Biesenbach's life, an easy read, and it's in a fashion magazine (so you can mull over the context whilst you read)!

- I'm nearly finished my book review of A Brief History of Curating, by Hans Ulrich Obrist. The book features eleven interviews with key curators in the field and it is a really fun read so far, I have to say. A review soon, I promise!

- has a Facebook page, and of course many of you read this site by subscribing on e-mail or via RSS feeds. I thought I'd throw one more thing into the mix: a Twitter feed! The Twitter feed works just like RSS or the e-mail subscription: whenever I post something new here, you are notified. That's all! I'm not sure if it will be popular or if it is even necessary, but it's not much effort on my part to try it out. If you are interested in a Twitter feed with a bit more going on, feel free to follow my own Twitter profile.

- Speaking of book reviews, and of Twitter feeds, I notice that N. Elizabeth Schlatter has a great page devoted to books for curators, and she also has an interesting Twitter feed.

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Pick 'N Mix - September 2009

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, September 2. 2009 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
Welcome to this month's Pick 'N Mix, a selection of interesting tidbits about curators that I spotted on the web over the past few weeks.

- Serpentine Gallery Co-Director Hans Ulrich Obrist has launched a project, "A Protest Against Forgetting," which encompasses a badge (emblazoned with "Walter Hopps will be here in 20 minutes") a book, talks, and more. The book, A Brief History of Curating, features eleven interviews with key curators in the field. I hope to post a review of it soon.

- In this interview with Aaron Rose, curator of the Alleged Gallery in NYC, he discusses how the 'outsider art' and 'street art' he was working with rose to prominence. He speaks a bit about the balance between what was (and still sometimes is) art produced by rebellious characters, and the corporate brands that want to attach themselves to this type of practice.

- A fabulous, frank interview with famous art collector Charles Saatchi reveals his thoughts on curators, which ranges from from skin-crawling stereotype ("The familiar grind of 1970s conceptualist retreads, the dry-as-dust photo and text panels, the production line of banal and impenetrable installations, the hushed and darkened rooms with their interchangeable flickering videos are the hallmarks of a decade of numbing right-on curatordom") to humble acknowledgement ("when you see something special, something inspired, you realise the debt we owe great curators and their unforgettable shows – literally unforgettable, because you remember every picture, every wall and every juxtaposition"). A highly entertaining read, no matter where you sit in the art ecosystem.

- And in a final quirky item (once again revealing my obsession with hotels), it was reported that a German hotel was taking payment from artists in artwork rather than cash. Will they eventually also take payment from curators by arranging shows in their rooms rather than cash? I wondered. It turns out to be a specific project directed by Kunst-Werke in Berlin. In the meantime, I will keep imagining about how art could become the currency of the future, and whether that is scary or not.

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Pick 'N Mix - January 2008

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Tuesday, January 1. 2008 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
Happy new year! I hope your holiday was a good and restful one. I was so rested I nearly didn't get this out in time... but here it is - the latest Pick 'N Mix!

  • "Top ten" and other summary lists were thick on the ground as 2007 closed out. A few of my favourites in the art realm are New York Magazine's 2007 Culture Awards, the Guardian's Top Ten list (including a few turkeys and special awards), 2007's highlights according to the New York Times, and the top 100 cultural highlights of the year, selected by the CBC. Also, a last minute addition - check out curator Hans Ulrich Obrist's answer to the question "What have you changed your mind about?" at

  • MC2 is a really smart project by two very interesting curators. Mark Coetzee (Miami) and Mark Clintberg (Montreal) use SMS messages to exchange information and formulate a text around art exhibitions that they saw together. Crediting writing to "MC", their shared initials, they produce probing texts on contemporary art that also question notions of authorship. The final texts are then distributed via the web on their project website.

  • I don't want to give you the impression that I am obsessed by curators producing projects in hotels, but... I couldn't resist mentioning a recent "curating contest" that took place in L'hôtel La Louisiane in Paris. Fourteen curators were each randomly assigned one room in the hotel, given a month to ponder the concept and the space, and then given ten days to mount an exhibition in that room. You can see the full list of participants and more details at the website of the gallerist who devised the contest, Olivier Robert.

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Pick 'N Mix - November 2007

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Thursday, November 1. 2007 • Category: Pick 'N Mix
It's the first of the month again! Hard to believe it's November already. Time for the November edition of Pick 'N Mix, my monthly annotated list of bite-sized items that have captured my attention recently.
  • "CURATE OR DIE" is the title of a series of discussions at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin.
    "The focus of classical museum work seems to have changed in the past fifteen years. The balance of exhibiting, collecting, researching, and conserving activities has shifted towards a marked concentration on exhibiting. Both the public eye and possible sponsors tend to privilege the spectacular potential inherent in exhibitions. In collaboration with the Berlin-based Bureau des Arts Plastiques, KW Institute for Contemporary Art is planning a series of panel debates addressing these and related questions. Curate or Die seems to be the only possible future perspective."
    The two remaining talks in the series are taking place November 29 and December 10 at K-W.

  • A recent article by the Washington Post asks the question: Is There a Future for Old-Fashioned Museums? It focuses primarily on the story of the "Newseum", a new museum being erected in downtown Washington, while a copy is simultaneously being "built" in the online platform of Second Life. It has not yet been decided if this virtual copy of the museum will go fully public, but if it does, it will allow a global audience to have some experience of the museum. The article explores the notions of emotional attachment and collective experience that we have when visiting physical museums, which pose a series of questions as to the similarities and differences to the way we share experiences online. As well, the article looks at the ways success is measured for museums and how this is changing.

    Maxwell L. Anderson, CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art says: "The root of the problem is that there is no longer an agreed-upon method of measuring achievement. Half a century ago, art museums were largely measured by a yardstick comparable to that applied to libraries of the time: the size and importance of their collections." But today, he argued, art museums increasingly "are to their detriment places that privilege entertainment over learning."

    This year, in the journal Curator, he argued, "The message has been conspicuously entrepreneurial: we can be compared with theme parks, so we matter."

    He calls for measures of success that focus on the visitor's experience of the "resonance and wonder" of artworks -- "an intangible sense of elation -- a feeling that a weight was lifted."

    Anderson's words remind us that while some of these buildings may be architectural or technological marvels, what really impacts audiences is personal and collective perceptions of the contents of museums - in other words, the fruits of labour by artists and curators.

  • An old webcast came to light via bellebyrd's blog: "Global Curating in the 21st Century" was a panel discussion held in 2003 at the Walker Art Center, as part of "How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age".

    "Five visual arts curators discuss art in a global context. Participants are: Kathy Halbreich, Director, Walker Art Center; Vishakha Desai, Senior Vice President/Director, Galleries and Cultural Programs, The Asia Society; Hou Hanru, Paris-based, independent curator-critic; Paulo Herkenhoff, independent curator and critic (Sao Paulo); and Latitudes exhibition curator Philippe Vergne."

    You can access the stream of the panel discussion by clicking here.

  • File under slightly unusual curatorial careers: being a curator of a hotel's art collection. Jennifer Phelps is the curator at the Chambers, a luxury hotel in downtown Minneapolis, USA.

    "My first job was to catalog everything and use the floor plans to place it in the rooms," Phelps said. "That was fun, like a puzzle, because there are 60 rooms, and each got two or three pieces, depending on whether it was a suite or a single. "

    One recent addition is a bronze sculpture by British artist Gavin Turk. It sits in a hallway near the hotel's banquet rooms and looks like a pile of black plastic garbage bags stuffed to overflowing with trash. It's Phelps' job to tamp down the ire of outraged hotel guests who stumble upon it en route to a soiree.

    "They call up, furious, because they're having a party and what are we doing with garbage bags dumped in the hallway?" she said. "When I tell them it's art, they burst out laughing."

A lighthearted note to end this month's Pick 'N Mix on, I'm sure you'll agree!
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