Contemporary art curating news and views from Michelle Kasprzak and team

IKT Congress Report 2011

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, July 10. 2011 • Category: Musings

IKT, the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art, held its annual congress in Luxembourg, Metz, and Dudelange from 28 April - 1 May 2011.

It was a special Congress, as it was Enrico Lunghi's final one as President of the IKT. Enrico is highly regarded, his managerial competence keeping IKT as an organisation on an even keel, and his personal warmth and generosity making each IKT member feel genuinely welcomed at each Congress. It therefore seemed fitting that Enrico hosted this Congress at home (he's current Director of Mudam, and former Director of Casino Luxembourg), where he was able to reveal the cultural gems of Luxembourg and region to us. The congress participants visited Mudam, Casino Luxembourg, Carré Rotondes, Fondation de l'Architecture et de l'Ingénierie, FRAC Lorraine, Faux Movement, Centre Pompidou Metz, Centre d’art Nei Liicht, and the Centre National de l'Audiovisuel.

The Congress kicked off in beautiful Luxembourg with the traditional introductions, or Members' Forum as it is officially known. These introductions are quite something: it takes up nearly the entire morning, but every attendee (about 150 curators or so) stands up and introduces themselves briefly to the room. It is a deceptively simple thing, but it really helps to cement the names and faces of your colleagues in your mind, as well as allowing people to quickly reveal a little something of their personality (even in just two minutes, there's time for jokes, name-dropping, charming references, etc). After this Members' Forum, the Congress launched right into exhibition tours for the afternoon in Luxembourg, before swiftly moving on to Metz for more exhibitions. A very full day culminated in a behind-the-scenes tour of Centre Pompidou Metz. The highlight was definitely taking the world's nicest and smoothest freight elevator up to the top floor where artist Daniel Buren was waiting for us. He kindly chatted with us about the exhibition he was installing for several minutes before we went to the Town Hall of Metz for a welcome from the Mayor and a buffet dinner. Here's a short clip about Buren's show (in French):

On Saturday we were in charming Dudelange. The discussion panel was entitled "What is the good of Mediation in contemporary art?" for this year, and was introduced by Maria Lind, featuring presentations from Jorge Munguia Matute, Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, and Sally Tallant. Their presentations absolutely raised the problems of mediation, though they proposed some solutions too: notably, Pérez-Barreiro's example of the deep integration of audience development and education into the Mercosul Biennale that he curated (read a great interview with him in this PDF here). Jorge Munguia Matute cited several inspirational examples of creating public dialogue, such as with the Pase Usted project in Mexico City, and Sally Tallant took us under the bonnet of the Centre for Possible Studies, part of Serpentine Gallery's engagement with the communities living around Edgware Road in London.

At FRAC Lorraine

The annual General Assembly also took place in Dudelange, and it was a little more exciting than usual, with plenty of discussion around the choice of venue for next year's Congress (Tel Aviv, Israel), new members being elected to the Board, and of course, the election of the new President: Friedemann Malsch, Director of the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein. The fact that the Presidency of IKT passed from one tiny country (Luxembourg) to an even tinier one (Liechtenstein) was pointed out by Enrico Lunghi, to laughter from the assembly. The evening's party at Casino Luxembourg was also wonderful and memorable, taking place in the cavernous, damp stone basement of the building and with enough delicious Crémant de Luxembourg to fuel us well into the evening.

A true highlight was the tour of private corporate collections that took place for those who decided to stay until Sunday. Enrico really worked some magic to get these collections open to us not only on a Sunday, but a Sunday on a holiday weekend! We toured the Deutsche Bank Luxembourg, Arendt & Medernach, and the European Investment Bank. It was a well-balanced combo: wealthy international bank, medium-sized legal business, and the largest multilateral lending institution in the world. At the European Investment Bank, it was interesting to hear of their plans to ship some of their collection to Greece for an exhibition. We were told they almost never send works out in this way, but that holding a small exhibition in Greece was a kind of expression of solidarity with Greeks in their difficult financial time.

At Deutsche Bank

As always, it was a great opportunity to meet and interact with curators from all over the world. I'm already looking forward to next year in Tel Aviv.

Photos by Elke Krasny

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Pick 'N Mix #37

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, April 18. 2010 • Category: Pick 'N Mix

- A great upcoming event in beautiful Edinburgh for your diaries: Radical Complicities, Curating Art in the 21st Century. Saturday 1st May 2010, speakers include: Beatrice von Bismarck (Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig), Nav Haq (Arnolfini, Bristol), Maria Lind (Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, USA), Sarah Lowndes (Independent Curator, Glasgow), Bojana Pejic (Independent Curator, Berlin). Introduced and chaired by Angela Dimitrakaki and Kirsten Lloyd (The University of Edinburgh). Organised by The University of Edinburgh and presented in partnership with the National Galleries of Scotland, this conference brings together leading figures in the field to consider the potential and limitations of recent and emergent curatorial paradigms in contemporary art.

- Two new issues of "On Curating" are out, featuring interviews with Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Paul O’Neill, Simon Sheikh, Mary Anne Staniszewski, Ian White, Katerina Gregos, and many more. The issues are themed around curating film, and the political potential of curating.

- If you are based in or happen to be in New York, see if you can catch up with the fine folk of CRUMB as they promote their new Rethinking Curating book with talks and high tea.

- More interviews and news stories I found around the web: a great story about boom and bust times in the art world with Neville Wakefield, one of the three-person curatorial team behind "Greater New York 2010" which opens on May 23rd; an interview with Victoria Lynn, visual arts curator of the Adelaide Arts Festival (click on "Show Transcript"), discussing her favourite artwork and art trends; and a story on Creative Time's plans for expansion and a focus away from "biennialism", with great quotes from both Anne Pasternak and Nato Thompson.

- "Curating as institutional critique?", an event at the Documenta Hallen in Kassel last month, was a symposium to discuss critical curating, how curating can be relevant in a socio-political sense, and how it can change or re-shape structures. This report gives insight into the discussions that happened there.
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Pick 'N Mix - August 2008

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Tuesday, August 5. 2008 • Category: Pick 'N Mix

Welcome to the August edition of Pick 'N Mix, my monthly annotated list of curating-related things:

- I've finished writing a short report on the IKT (the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art) Congress that was held in Montreal in May. Have a read!

- This interview with João Ribas by Ceci Moss on Rhizome is a good read. Quote: "Curatorial practice, to me, is about mediating such frames in the end--different contexts, different readings, different publics."

- "Curator crowds" are all the rage it seems, I've blogged about them briefly before, and they keep cropping up. Recently the Brooklyn Museum of Art produced Click, a photography exhibit that was curated collaboratively by anyone who wanted to take part. Via Art Fag City, I took note of a link to an interview with Jennifer Blessing, curator of photography at the Guggenheim, who offers her thoughts on this phenomenon of "curator crowds". The interview is excellent food for thought.

- Just a reminder to my readers that I really enjoy getting your emails (seems most folks are too shy to comment publicly!). Keep them coming, and any suggestions you might have about what I have on offer here are much appreciated. So send me a note, and then turn off your computer and enjoy the rest of the summer!

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