Stop curating! And think what curating is all about. This book starts from this simple premise: thinking the activity of curating. To do that, it distinguishes between 'curating' and 'the curatorial'. If 'curating' is a gamut of professional practices for setting up exhibitions, then 'the curatorial' explores what takes place on the stage set up, both intentionally and unintentionally, by the curator. It therefore refers not to the staging of an event, but to the event of knowledge itself. In order to start thinking about curating, this book takes a new approach to the topic. Instead of relying on conventional art historical narratives (for example, identifying the moments when artistic and curatorial practices merged or when the global curator-author was first identified), this book puts forward a multiplicity of perspectives that go from the anecdotal to the theoretical and from the personal to the philosophical. These perspectives allow for a fresh reflection on curating, one in which, suddenly, curating becomes an activity that implicates us all (artists, curators, and viewers), not just as passive recipients, but as active members. As such, the Curatorial is a book without compromise: it asks us to think again, fight against sweeping art historical generalizations, the sedimentation of ideas and the draw of the sound bite. Curating will not stop, but at least with this book it can begin to allow itself to be challenged by some of the most complex and ethics-driven thought of our times.
How curating has changed art and how art has changed curating: an examination of the emergence contemporary curatorship. Once considered a mere caretaker for collections, the curator is now widely viewed as a globally connected auteur. Over the last twenty-five years, as international group exhibitions and biennials have become the dominant mode of presenting contemporary art to the public, curatorship has begun to be perceived as a constellation of creative activities not unlike artistic praxis. The curator has gone from being a behind-the-scenes organizer and selector to a visible, centrally important cultural producer. In The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s), Paul O'Neill examines the emergence of independent curatorship and the discourse that helped to establish it. O'Neill describes how, by the 1980s, curated group exhibitions—large-scale, temporary projects with artworks cast as illustrative fragments—came to be understood as the creative work of curator-auteurs. The proliferation of new biennials and other large international exhibitions in the 1990s created a cohort of high-profile, globally mobile curators, moving from Venice to Paris to Kassel. In the 1990s, curatorial and artistic practice converged, blurring the distinction between artist and curator. O'Neill argues that this change in the understanding of curatorship was shaped by a curator-centered discourse that effectively advocated—and authorized—the new independent curatorial practice. Drawing on the extensive curatorial literature and his own interviews with leading curators, critics, art historians, and artists, O'Neill traces the development of the curator-as-artist model and the ways it has been contested. The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s) documents the many ways in which our perception of art has been transformed by curating and the discourses surrounding it.
Curatorial Challenges investigates the challenges faced by curators in contemporary society and explores which practices, ways of thinking, and types of knowledge production curating exhibitions could challenge. Bringing together international curators and researchers from the fields of art and cultural history, the book provides new research and perspectives on the curatorial process and aims to bridge the traditional gap between theoretical and academic museum studies and museum practices. The book focuses on exhibitions as a primary site of cultural exchange and argues that, as highly visible showcases, producers of knowledge, and historically embedded events, exhibitions establish and organize meanings of art and cultural heritage. Temporary exhibitions continue to increase in cultural significance and yet the traditional role of the museum as a Bildung institution has changed. As exhibitions gain in significance, so too do curatorial strategies. Arguing that new research is needed to help understand these changes, the book presents original research that explores how curatorial strategies inform both art and cultural history museums in contemporary society. The book also investigates what sort of critical, transformative, and perhaps even conservative, potential can be traced in exhibition cultures. Curatorial Challenges fosters innovative interdisciplinary exchange and brings new insights to the field of curatorial studies. As such, it should be of great interest to academics, researchers, and postgraduate students engaged in the study of curatorial practice, museum studies, the making of exhibitions, museum communication, and art history.
To stay relevant, art curators must keep up with the rapid pace of technological innovation as well as the aesthetic tastes of fickle critics and an ever-expanding circle of cultural arbiters. Issues in Curating Contemporary Art and Performance argues that, despite these daily pressures, good curating work also requires more theoretical attention. In four thematic sections, a distinguished group of contributors consider curation in light of interdisciplinary and emerging practices, examine conceptions of curation as intervention and contestation, and explore curation's potential to act as a reconsideration of conventional museum spaces. Against the backdrop of cutting-edge developments in electronic art, art/science collaboration, nongallery spaces, and virtual fields, contributors propose new approaches to curating and new ways of fostering critical inquiry. Now in paperback, this volume is an essential read for scholars, curators, and art enthusiasts alike.
Contemporary Curating, Artistic Reference and Public Reception undertakes a unique critical survey and analysis of prevailing group exhibition-making practices in Europe, the UK and North America. Drawing on curatorial literature and two in-depth case studies of group exhibitions, Bertrand advocates for a mode of curatorial practice that secures the content of artworks, in contrast to prevailing open-ended, indeterminate approaches. Proposing a third exhibition type beyond the current binary exhibition ontology that opposes art historical narratives to curatorial installations or Gesamtkunstwerk, the book directly tackles the enduring critique of curating as a mediating activity that produces sameness in group-exhibition contexts by establishing artistic equivalences. The book relies on the principles of analytical philosophy to assess how different exhibition-making approaches fix reference and determine artistic reception, reintroducing a standard to evaluate exhibitions beyond personal taste and thematic coherence. Bertrand ultimately proposes an alternative conception of practice that affirms the renewed relevance of the institutional group show in the present context. Contemporary Curating, Artistic Reference and Public Reception will be of interest to academics, researchers and students working in museum and curatorial studies, visual cultures, art theory and art history programmes. Art theorists and critics, as well as curators of contemporary art with a research-based practice, should also find much to interest them within the pages of the book.
Illustrated with contemporary case studies, Curating Design provides a history of and introduction to design curatorial practice both within and outside the museum. Donna Loveday begins by tracing the history of the collecting and display of designed objects in museums and exhibitions from the 19th century 'cabinet of curiosities' to the present day design museum. She then explores the changing role of the curator since the 1980s, with curators becoming much more than just 'keepers' of a collection, with a remit to create narrative and experiential exhibitions as well as develop the museum's role as a space of learning for its visitors. Curating as a practice now describes the production of a number of cultural and creative outputs, ranging from exhibitions to art festivals; shopping environments to health centres; conferences to film programming as well as museums and galleries. Loveday explores how design has come to the fore in curatorial practice, with new design museums opening around the world as well as blockbusting exhibitions of fashion and popular culture. Interviews with leading practitioners from international design and arts museums provide a spotlight on contemporary challenges and best practice in design curatorship.
The definitive reference text on curation both inside and outside the museum A Companion to Curation is the first collection of its kind, assembling the knowledge and experience of prominent curators, artists, art historians, scholars, and theorists in one comprehensive volume. Part of the Blackwell Companion series, this much-needed book provides up-to-date information and valuable insights on the field of curatorial studies and curation in the visual arts. Accessible and engaging chapters cover diverse, contemporary methods of curation, its origin and history, current and emerging approaches within the profession, and more. This timely publication fills a significant gap in literature on the role of the curator, the art and science of curating, and the historical arc of the field from the 17th century to the present. The Companion explores topics such as global developments in contemporary indigenous art, Asian and Chinese art since the 1980s, feminist and queer feminist curatorial practices, and new curatorial strategies beyond the museum. This unique volume: Offers readers a wide range of perspectives on curating in both theory and practice Includes coverage of curation outside of the Eurocentric and Anglosphere art worlds Presents clear and comprehensible information valuable for specialists and novices alike Discusses the movements, models, people and politics of curating Provides guidance on curating in a globalized world Broad in scope and detailed in content, A Companion to Curation is an essential text for professionals engaged in varied forms of curation, teachers and students of museum studies, and readers interested in the workings of the art world, museums, benefactors, and curators.
"Ever since the nineteen-nineties, curatorial discourse has revolved around the figure of the professional curator. Consequently, curatorial politics is usually considered the direct result of a curator's deliberate acts and intentions. Now, however, new institutional models and modes of exhibition practice together with key shifts in funding and collecting strategies have revealed aspects of curatorial politics over which the exhibition-maker has little or no control. The present volume presents a series of essays by noted art theorists and cultural scientists that go beyond the perspective of the individual curator to reveal these previously unexplored levels of curatorial politics." from publisher's website
Tracing the history of Africa's relationship to film festivals and exploring the festivals' impact on the various types of people who attend festivals (the festival experts, the ordinary festival audiences, and the filmmakers), Dovey reveals what turns something called a "festival" into a "festival experience" for these groups.