Robert Leonard, Chief Curator of the City Gallery, Wellington
“These days curating is show business. But I’m not so sure that shows today are that curatorially extroverted. I don’t see many shows where curators take the lead, where they foreground themselves. Many curators are slaves to their directors, to artists, or both. While I was in Australia, I was surprised by how many big museum shows were conceptualised and driven by directors, with curators (often teams of them) simply tasked to deliver them. On the other hand, with the solo shows with major artists, the artists tended to have veto over everything, so curators didn’t enjoy much freedom there either. I worry that the idea of curators as authors has been downgraded. I’d like to see more extroverted curating.”
From a great interview with Robert Leonard in Ocula.
Robert Leonard, Senior Curator at City Gallery, Wellington as of January 2014
Outgoing IMA Director Robert Leonard was recently interviewed by fellow curator Hannah Mathews for ABC Arts. You can read the full interview online, but here’s LOL’s fave punchy bit:
“These days many curators talk as if their job is primarily to please artists—to represent and protect their interests. Keeping artists happy is important, but it’s not the only important thing. As a curator, there are times when you work for artists, times when you work alongside them, and times when you work against them. For a curator, it’s important to find opportunities to operate in all these registers. Curators need to be more than just artists’ enablers.”
Work by Yvonne Todd is included in Unnerved: The New Zealand Project, a largely collection-based exhibition of New Zealand artists at Queensland Art Gallery that runs until July 4. You can watch the rest of Yvonne Todd’s interview with IMA Director Robert Leonard on Queensland Art Gallery’s YouTube channel here.