The Art of Curating Spring 11 - Outline

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*MCM 1700R - The Art of Curating (CRN:24029)
Department of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University
Spring 2011
Course website: or google “Art of Curating Spring 11”


Instructor Information

Name: Mark Tribe
Email: Mark_Tribe AT brown DOT edu
Office Location: 155 George Street, Room 101
Office Hours : Tuesdays 5-7pm and by appointment
Campus Box : 1957
Web Site:

Teaching Assistant Information

Name: Joseph (Joe) de Jonge
Email: Joseph_deJonge AT brown DOT edu
Campus Box: 5650

Course description

IIt is sometimes said in contemporary art circles that curators are the new artists. Curating involves a wide range of activities, including research, selection, commissioning, collaboration with artists, recontextualization, presentation, interpretation, and critical writing. This production seminar considers curatorial practice as a form of cultural production. Particular attention is paid to questions of spectatorship, materiality, and institutional context. Readings include Pierre Bourdieu, Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Claire Bishop. Students lead discussions, produce curatorial projects, take field trips to visit exhibitions in New York City, and attend the Brown/RISD Curatorial Lecture series.

Course Meeting Time and Location

Tuesdays 1:00-4:45pm.
Granoff Center for Creative Arts N430

Field Trip

Students are required to participate in a day-long field trip to New York City on Saturday, March 12, and are encouraged to purchase tickets on Megabus (departing Providence at 6:30am and returning from NYC at 5:50pm the same day) ASAP.

Lecture Series

Students are required to attend Brown/RISD Curatorial Lectures from 6:30-8:00pm on the following dates:
+March 1: Dan Cameron, founder and curator of Prospect New Orleans
+March 15: Artist/curator Jackie Saccoccio with Yvonne Force Villareal and Doreen Remen of Art Production Fund
+March 22: Joao Ribas, curator of exhibitions at MIT List Visual Arts Center
+April 12: RoseLee Goldberg, founder and director of Performa

Course Goals

  1. Develop an understanding of contemporary curatorial practices and related theoretical positions.
  2. Produce curatorial projects that interrogate or extend key concepts and strategies articulated in class.
  3. Develop skills of critical analysis and communication.


+ A course packet will be available shortly at Allegra, 102 Waterman Street at Thayer: 401-421-5160 or Packets are ordered and then printed for next day pick-up. Allegra is closed Saturday and Sunday.--so keep this in mind for the first reading!
+ You will be responsible for introducing two or three readings over the course of the semester. Some guidelines:
Do a little research into who the author is, when the text was written, etc., looking for intellectual and historical context;
Spend about five minutes summarizing the author's argument(s);
End your presentation with a question to kick off discussion.


+Select a curatorial project in consultation with the instructor;
+Make a presentation using Google Docs and link to it from the student work page and your personal page.
+Your presentation should be no more than 20 minutes long and should:
Include not only a detailed description but also interpretation and critical analysis of the project;
Make reference to relevant readings and other course materials.


Nota Bene: Assignments are not considered complete until they have been adequately documented on the wiki and linked-to from the student work page and from your personal wiki page. Late assignments will not be accepted without prior permission from the instructor.

Due March 8: The Granoff Interventions

The studios, hallways, stairwells and projection screens of the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts present many opportunities for exhibition-making. Working in groups of two, select a site within the Granoff Center and mount an exhibition there. Your show should include at least five works, each with a wall label, and a 250-300 word wall text. Give your exhibition an interesting title, and document it on the wiki. Your wiki documentation should include images and/or video and the contents of the wall labels and wall text.

Due April 4: Curious Propositions

Working in groups of three, draft a Curious Proposition (i.e. a proposal) for your Walking the Line project. Your proposition should include:
1. The title of your Walking the Line project;
2. A 300-500 word narrative that explains your concept and describes how you plan to execute it;
3. A tentative list of works to be included in your project;
4. A project budget that itemizes all costs associated with your project;
5. Lots of images.

Combine all of the above in a single PDF document and email it to the the Google Group by 11:59 PM on Monday, April 4.

May 3: Walking the Line

Working in groups of three, undertake a project that blurs the boundaries between curatorial and artistic practice. Write a 750-1,000 word statement and document your project on the wiki.

Note that the critique will take place on May 10.


Student performance will be assessed in four areas:

  1. Quality of curatorial work;
  2. Relevance of curatorial work to the concepts and strategies explored in the course;
  3. Participation in discussions and critiques.

Attendance and Punctuality

The participatory nature of this course makes attendance particularly important. Plan to attend all course meetings and to arrive on time. Please contact me in advance if you won't be able to make it to a class due to an unavoidable conflict or medical emergency. Students with multiple unexcused absences and/or frequent lateness risk failing the course.

Course Application

Syllabus | Resources | [*Student Work*] | Mediography| Main Page of Mark's Wiki

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