“You cannot be a contemporary art curator if you just spend your time looking at objects. You have got to engage deeply with artists, and sometimes you have to see yourself as an active co-conspirator with the artists you work with.”
The quote above is from Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York City. It’s one of a series of tips offered by US Museum Directors in The Art Newspaper earlier this year. (Read the whole bunch here).
“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.
“Fundamentally I’m a joiner, a door-opener, a conduit of ideas that are worth sharing. Contemporary curators encounter those ideas in artists’ studios and then, back at the gallery, they advocate for those ideas and their wider importance. You seek to champion the artists’ ideas and bring them to wider attention through the mechanisms of a gallery. Being a champion, however, isn’t entirely distinct from being a cultural agitator. Part of the curator’s role is working with artists to define problems in the culture – not to solve or create solutions to those problems, but to reframe ways of viewing our situation.”
Christchurch Art Gallery’s new Senior Curator Lara Strongman discusses curation in the latest issue of Bulletin.
Nicholas Chambers, currently the the Milton Fine Curator of Art at The Andy Warhol Museum will be returning to Sydney, his home town, this November. After two and a half years at the Warhol Museum, he’s heading back to Australia to take up the role of Senior Curator at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Warhol Museum Director Eric Shiner has confirmed that the institution will soon begin an international search for his successor.
“Today, curating as a profession means at least four things. It means to preserve, in the sense of safeguarding the heritage of art. It means to be the selector of new work. It means to connect to art history. And it means displaying or arranging the work. But it’s more than that. Before 1800, few people went to exhibitions. Now hundreds of millions of people visit them every year. It’s a mass medium and a ritual. The curator sets it up so that it becomes an extraordinary experience and not just illustrations or spatialised books.”
Hans Ulrich Obrist discusses the art of curation in The Guardian.
Curator Hans Ulrich Obrist loves to run. So much so that he’s founded the Brutally Early Club – a jogging group attended by artists and curators like Marina Abramovic and Markus Miessen. The club is one example of Obrist’s obsession with rituals, which he discusses in the clip above while jogging through Hyde Park, home to the Serpentine Gallery – his place of work.
Curatorial collective Superkaleidoscope (co-directed by Australian artists Kim Fasher and Sarah Mosca) has taken an old school approach to supporting artists – they’re looking for patrons. Each month they’ll select one emerging artist to promote, running an advertisement like the one above on their behalf in the Weekend Business section of the Sydney Morning Herald. If you think you’re deserving of some patronage, you can make a submission to Superkaleidoscope via email.