Curatorial Practices GISP - Spring 07 Syllabus

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January 24: Introduction to the practice of curation and its evolution

  • Go over syllabus, goals, requirements, assignments

Discussion Topics:

  • Definitions
  • Historical background
  • How has this role changed in the past years?
  • Curating vs. Collaborating
  • Authorship and Collaboration
  • Appropriation
  • Curators as personalities in the art world

Required Reading:

  • Ways of Seeing, John Berger (London: British Broadcasting Corporation, 1972). Whole book. 166 Pages.
  • Dunkin, Carol. "The Modern Art Museum," in The Visual Culture Reader ed Nichholas Mirzoeff. London: Routledge, 1998. P 85-94.
  • Selected Chapters from Thinking About Exhibitions Greenberg, Reesa; Nairne, Sandy; Ferguson, Bruce. London: Routledge, 1996.
  • "A Visual Machine: art installation and its modern archetypes," Germano Celant, p 371-387
  • "The Discourse of the Museum" Mieke Bal, p 201-221
  • "Creating Spaces," Gerald McMaster, p 191-201
  • "Constructing the Spectacle of Culture in Museums," Ivan Karp and Fred Wilson, p 251-269

Organizational Topics:

  • RISD/Brown student art shows-organize schedule
  • Brainstorm potential themes for group exhibition
  • Weekend Trip: RISD Art Museum

January 31: Curating Museum Collections

Discussion Topics:

  • Popular museum collections
  • Successful and unsuccessful museum collections
  • Organization of works vs. space
  • Collection themes and selections

Required Readings:

  • Museums and the Interpretations of Visual Culture by Eilean Hooper-Greenhill. Routledge, 1st ed. (February 2001). 216 pages.

Suggested Readings:

  • Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art Other Than Works by British Artists (Hardcover). Publisher: Sotheby Parke Bernet Pubns (June 1981). 799 pages.
  • Svetlana, Alpers. "The Museum as a Way of Seeing." 25-32 in Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991). p. 25-32.

February 7: Curating Private Collections

Discussion Topics:

  • Prada Collection
  • Serpentine Gallery
  • Isabella Stuart Gardener Museum in Boston
  • Individual vs. Nonprofit: The art advisor
  • The intersection of curatorial practice and the art market (Miami: Kamler, Marguelis Collections)
  • Artist pension trust (Founder: David Ross)

Required Readings:

  • Eamon, Christopher et al. Prime Mover: Five Exhibitions from the Pamela and Ricahrd Kramlich Collection. (hardcover). San Francisco: Steidl & Pamela and Richard Kramlich Collection, (August 1, 2007). 244 Pages.
  • Howe, Jeff. "Paint by Numbers." Wired Magazine. Issue 13.04, April 2005. 8 pages. <>
  • Clifford, James. "On collecting art and culture." In The Cultural Studies Reader ed Simon During. London: Toutledge, 1993. P 49-74.
  • Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery. The art collections; a preliminary hand-book of the Art Gallery and The Arabella D. Huntington Memorial Art Collection. San Marino, Calif., 1929. 51 pages.

February 14: Gallery Culture (Inside the White Cube)

ASSIGNMENT DUE: Write Press Release for Previously Viewed Exhibit

Discussion Topics

  • Various uses of gallery space as a context for exhibition
  • Historical background and evolution of this venue
  • Commercial vs. Noncommercial
  • Emergence of nonprofit project spaces
  • New interpretations of the white cube: the Wrong Gallery and the New York Earth Room

Required Reading:

  • O'Doherty, Brian. Inside the White Cube: The ideology of the Gallery Space. "n.p." University of California Press, 2000. 91 pages.
  • "The One Picture Gallery." Valery Petrovich Sazonov. Pp. 225-231.
  • "The Visual Machine. Art Installation and its Modern Archetypes." Germano Celant. Pp. 274-284.
  • "Creating Spaces." Gerard McMaster. Pp. 151-158.

Suggested Reading:

  • Gillick, Liam. White Cube. London: Steidl, 2003. Entire book.
  • Bertoni, Franco. Claudio Silvestrin. Berlin:Birkhauser, 1999. Entire book.

February 21: Curating in Public Space (Outside the White Cube) (SHANE)

Discussion Topics:

  • Address challenges and opportunities of curating art in public realm
  • Relationship between artist, curator and site/context
  • Emergence and practice of the public arts organization
  • Participation of an 'uninitiated' audience outside traditional venues of display

Case Studies:

  • Creative Time
  • Public Art Fund (NYC)
  • Artangel (London)

Required Reading:

  • Acconci, Vito. "Public Space in a Private Time." Art and the Public Sphere. Ed. Mitchell, W.J.T. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992. pp. 158-176.
  • Crimp, Douglas. "Redefining Site Specificity." On the Museum's Ruins. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1993. pp. 150-182.
  • Artangel. "Jeremy Deller: The Battle of Orgreave." Available online at 2 pages.
  • Maksymowicz, Virginia. "Through the Back Door: Alternative Approaches to Public Art." In Mitchell W.J.T. Art and the Public Sphere. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992. pp. 147-157.
  • Harding, David (Editor). Decadent: Public Art: Contentious Term and Contested Practice. Glasgow: Foulis Press, 1997. Entire book.
  • Finkelpearl, Tom. Dialogues in Public Art. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2000. Entire book.
  • Lacy, Suzanne (Editor). Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art. Seattle: Bay Press, 1995. (Especially: Jacob, Mary Jane. "An Unfashionable Audience.") pp. 50-59.

February 28: Curating New Media Art (ALI)

ASSIGNMENT DUE: Curated member exhibition at

Discussion Topics:

  • Investigate the unique role of the curator of new media art (online and offline exhibitions)
  • Curators relationship to new emergent (networked) technologies

Case Studies:

  • (NYC)
  • Eyebeam (NYC)

Required Reading:

8 Krysa, Joasia. DATA Browser 03: Curating Immateriality: The Work of the Curator in the Age of Networked Systems. Brooklyn: Autonomedia, 2006. Entire book.

Suggested Reading:

  • Greene, Rachel. "Web Work: A History of Internet Art." ArtForum: May 2000. Entire Book.
  • Hein, Hilde. The Museum in Transition: A Philosophical Perspective. New York: HarperCollins, 2000. Entire Book.
  • Sans, Jérôme and Marc Sanchez (Editors). What Do You Expect From an Art Institution in the 21st Century? Palais de Toko: Site de création contemporaine. Canéjan: Imprimerie Balauze et Marcombe, 2001. Entire Book.

March 7: Curating Group Exhibitions and Multi-Media

Discussion Topics:

  • Explore challenges specific to curating thematically or conceptually (across multiple artists, media, time periods, etc)
  • Emergence of new meanings from curatorial juxtapositions.

Required Screening (Arrange to view before class)

Required Reading:

  • Lawrence Alloway, "The Great Curatorial Dim-Out" in Greenberg, Ferguson, Nairne, Routledge. Thinking about Exhibitions. London and New York: Routledge, 1996. Pp. 221-231.
  • Nathalie Heinich and Michael Pollack, "From Museum Curator to Exhibition Auteur: Inventing a Singular Position" in Greenberg, Ferguson, Nairne, Routledge. Thinking about Exhibitions. London and New York: Routledge, 1996. Pp. 231-251
  • Mission statement for Museum in Progress (by Hans Ulrich Obrist) <> 12 pages.

March 14: Curatorial Practices in the Global Context (ANNA)

Discussion Topics:

  • Postcolonialsim
  • Migration
  • Cultural hybridity

Required Reading:

  • Okwui, Enwezor. Créolité and Creolization: Documenta11_Platform3. Hatje Cantz Publishers (January 2004). 273 pages.

March 21: The Art Festival: Manifesta, Documenta, Biennials

ASSIGNMENT DUE: Curatorial Essay

Discussion Topics:

  • Format of Manifesta, Documenta, Various Biennials
  • Differences and similarities in structure and goal
  • Role of the curator, use of location
  • Politics
  • Art Fair curatorial elements (Art Basel, Frieze, etc.)

Case Study: Manifesta 6 (Cypress and Berlin, 2007)

Required Reading:

  • The Manifesta Decade: debates on contemporary art exhibitions and biennials in post-wall Europe." Ed. Barbara Vanderlinden and Elena Filipovic. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005). Selections.
    • "Towards a new locality: biennials and "global art," Elena Filipovic. Pp 63-85
    • "How a European biennial of contemporary art began," Rene Block et al, pp 189-201
    • "The rhetorics of Manifesta," Camiel van Winkel. Pp 219-233
  • Sussman, Elizabeth, "Curator's Work: The Pragmatics of Internationalism." In Jean Fisher, ed Global Visions: Towards a New Internationalism in Arts (London: Kala Press, 1994) pp. 161-169.
  • Lawrence, Alloway. The Venice Biennial 1895-1968: from Salon to Goldfish Bowl." (Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1968). Ch.1-3 pp. 12-29, 30-53, 132-155
  • Galloway, David. "Kassel Redux: A History of Documenta." Art In America v70 Sept 1982. 7 pages.

March 28: Spring Break

April 4: Final Group Project

Planning for Group Exhibition in Providence

  • The following four weeks of class will be devoted to the production of the exhibition.
  • A workshop each week during class time will highlight a different area of administration/production that goes into curating an exhibition.

Identification of space for exhibition

  • Selecting various potential sites
  • Visiting those sites
  • Securing contract for exhibition at chosen site

April 11: Final Group Project

Workshop: Grant Writing and Artists Contracts/Artwork loan contracts

April 18: Final Group Project

Workshop: Networking

April 25: Final Group Project

Workshop: Press release/Publicity

May 2: Opening of Final Show

May 16: Final Critique

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