The Art of Curating Spring 2013 - Outline

Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

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

*MCM 1700R - The Art of Curating (CRN:24029)
Department of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University
Spring 2012


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:

TA: Joe de Jonge
Email: Joseph_deJonge AT brown DOT edu

Course description

It 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 produce curatorial projects, give presentations, take field trips to visit exhibitions, and attend the Brown/RISD Curatorial Lectures.

Course Meeting Time and Location

Fridays 3:00pm - 5:50pm 
135 Thayer Street 102

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 aesthetic evaluation and selection, critical analysis, communication (oral, written, and visual), project management, and teamwork.


A course packet is available as a PDF or in print form 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!


Nota Bene: Assignments are not considered complete until they have been adequately documented on the wiki. See How to Document your Project for the Wiki for details.

  • For each project your personal page should contain, at a minimum, the following:
    • A thumbnail image;
    • A project title that links to your project page.
    • A statement that describes your project and sheds light on your intentions and, if relevant, your process.
  • Projects will be presented in class during critique: be sure you have your media ready to go!
  • Late assignments will not be accepted without prior permission from the instructor. 

Dates TBD: Curatorial Project Presentation

Each student will give a presentation on a curatorial project selected in consultation with the instructor. You must use Slides, Google's presentation tool, to both create and deliver your presentation. Don't use PowerPoint and then convert it to Slides, and don't use Keynote, Prezi, or any other presentation software. Don't make text-heavy slides. Do use images and/or embedded video to show the work you are discussing.

Possible presentation dates are listed on the syllabus, and you will be asked to select a date during the second class. Presentations must be linked from the student work page and your personal page and should be* 20-30 minutes* long. They should include a detailed description along with interpretation and critical analysis of the project, and should make reference to relevant readings and other course materials.


  • Don't read what's on screen (except short quotes, as appropriate). Instead, write up notes for each slide and print them out.
  • Rehearse your presentation to make sure it is no longer than 30 minutes.
  • Relax and enjoy yourself!

Feb 15: Living Room Exhibition Proposal

Make and deliver a proposal for an exhibition in one of the Living Room spaces in the Granoff Center. You must use Slides, Google's presentation tool, to create and deliver your proposal. Your proposal should be 5-10 minutes long, and should include your exhibition's title, its theme or topic, and a tentative list of works, with the titles and dates of the works, the media used, the name(s) of the artists, and other relevant information. Discuss how you will install/present the work. Do includes images and/or video of the works on your list. The four most promising proposals will be selected for production and teams of three students will be assigned to curate each project.

Feb 25 - March 8: Living Room Exhibition

Students collaborate in teams of three to curate exhibitions in the living room spaces of the Granoff Center. Select and acquire the work, design and install the show, produce and install wall text and other informational materials. Document your show on the wiki, including a 500-750 word statement. In short, students are responsible for all aspects of each exhibition, including maintenance and deinstallation. Teams will work with the TA to promote the exhibitions and organize a reception.

March 22: Walking the Line Proposal

Make and deliver a 5-10 minute-long proposal for a curatorial project that explores the boundaries of curatorial practice. Walking the Line projects can take place anywhere, but they must be feasible. See previous Walking the Line projects on this wiki for examples of what is possible. Follow presentation guidelines for Living Room Exhibition Proposals and Curatorial Project Presentations (above). The most promising proposals will be selected for production. Consider the following questions:

  1. What is your project about?
  2. Why are you interested?
  3. Why should we care?
  4. What form will your project take? Will it be an exhibition? A guided tour? An event? A radio program? A performance series? A book? A website? A Twitter feed?
  5. Where will your project be realized?
  6. What art works, artifacts, events or other material will you include in your project?
  7. Who is your audience?
  8. How will you reach out to them?
  9. What challenges will you face?
  10. How will you surmount them?
  11. How much will your project cost?

April 5 - 18: Walking the Line Project

Working individually or in small teams, undertake a curatorial project that explores the boundaries of curatorial practice. Document your project on the wiki, including a 750-1,000 word statement.

April 19 - May 3

Mount an exhibition featuring documentation of your Walking the Line projects in the Lower Lobby of the Granoff Center. Work in teams to install the show, produce and install wall text and other informational material, promote the show, organize a reception, etc.


Student performance will be assessed in three 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 the instructor and the TA 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

Please complete the online course application by midnight on Jan 25, 2013.

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

Enter labels to add to this page:
Please wait 
Looking for a label? Just start typing.