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Ten Fundamental Questions of Curating ‘What Is a Curator? ‘What To Do with 1 1. 2. What Is the Publict the Contemporary? 3. What Is Art? 8, What About 4. What About Collecting? Responsibility? 5. What Is an Exhibition? 9, What Is the Processt 6. Why Mediate Artt 10, How About Pleasure? Mousse Publishing, Floruce Art Trust ion alg tn Tan Andorra! Quest of Can ae comer _rapplas wih truly fondanea and overarching querton ae Dolores He questen of atts azeprs. ons mening tes, (parted) deat recounting th try ofa posopy pro es ss up an oppaton betwen the rao edt od rely Gelopad bythe founding decor of New Yorks Mazeum of Modern Drared Harr andthe more rd : brig he nrg pre gion wn conn ral agony, ely, ee le caer ena show ob | 10. Table of contents Why Does the Hyden Hlave Ten Heads? by Milevan Faszonato Ten Fundamental Answers... by Jens Hosinann What Isa Curator? by Jesica Morgan What Is the Public? - by Joan A. Gaittn What Is Ar by Chus Martinez What About Collecting? by Sofia Hernindex Chong Cay What Ison Exhibition? by Elena Filipow Why Mediate Art by Maria Lind What To Do with by Joio Ribas What About Responsibiligy? by eter Eleey What Is the Process? by Adriano Pediosa How About Pleasure by Di Contemporary? ee Roelsacte a4 33 a7 n 95 3 12s Jens Hotta Ie has become almost cliché to introduce a ‘compendium of essays on curating by taking nate of the Plothora of recent publications on the subject. How, in Justa few shore years, did we reach this poine of sel feferentia! saturation? What do al there publications offer? What questions, exactly, do they address? Several of thom profess to offer an overview of the curatorial ald ae Ie exists today or ateompe co map ies historial trajectory. Others propore a series of exe ‘he collected writings or interviews ofa single curator. All fare hoping to contribute to this relatively new discipline, land ies accompanying canon, through the putting forth of ‘shared set of values and knowledge base. “The aim of Ten Fundamental Questions of Curating ie same time, It aspires to offer a real critique of existing Publications and modes of thinking by explicitly asking fhe questions that others may have miszed, ignored, or ‘deemed already answered, BY inviting ten international curators co each propose and then address one question, ‘Ten Fundamente! Questions of Curating takes an almost of what a curator is and does seems both necessary and turgene. “The idea for Ten Fundomental Questions of Curating has been with me fora long time, and Ie stems from my essential desire co understand what is happening n the turatorial leld today. Over the course of my caresr ‘ones addressed in these essays. I believe ies constantly necessary to interrogate the simplest, most baste Drineiples of one's own profession, precisely because the answers are simultaneously quice complex and almost never given ay thought by ther n te cae of erating: curate for! These questions seem so straightforward, 50 fundamental, that most curators bypass them entirely. “They eae the answers for granted, assuming the relevance of our work in ehe wider worl, thereby indulging in 3 angerous sore of uncheded, assumed self-Importanc ambiguity, about winat this eld Is, what le has bach, where Fe might ge, and where we all are a¢ this specific moment. 1 0 discuss them openly and get a better understanding of che coordinates of curating, s0 to speak. The essays “development of this profession. ‘Ten Fundamentel Questions of Curcting began as 2 sertes of ten commissioned essays for Mousse magazine ‘written aver a period of two years i 2011 to 2012. Each personally, and also as Important to curating, art and Sxhibition making today. The questions reflects broad 1 opens with Jesstea Morgan grappling with one ‘of the most fundamental and overarching quortions albeit partially, charts out a genealogy and classification ‘ystem for tha profersion, For Morgan, the role ofthe ‘curator ir inextricably bound up in ite—be fe the museum, lest, most basic «precisely because the ‘complex and almost 20 straightiorward, 50 boypase them entirely. 4, assuming che relevance sry nding blication emerged erat te hae been, where these questions in order Detter understanding to speaks The essays s blueprint, a basic ponsibiitis, eo hel f Caroting began as 2 ‘or Mousse magazine Sin 2011 co 2012, Each "related to curatorial, 2 grappling with one rarching questions logy and classification {mall nonprofie—and he different typologies of curators correspond to theit transnational curator, che director-curator, and so on. She constructs the potsiblltie for defining cirstorship eoday by the inseteutional, loational, dizipinary, and financiat restraints placed upon us. {f context fs the framing device By which we define ‘our practice, chen for whom do we curate! Juan A. Galeén Sttacks ehis question head-on by fecusing on the presumed Social contract that exits between museums and thelr idlences, He examines the development of the fst publle of are inthe publ sphere that subsequently emerged. ‘Arguing that contemporary conversations around the public and the public sphere reflect outmoded models of harmonious and homogenized society, Galean proposes that we see those who visit our exhibitions a fractured, tisharmontous, and constantly in a state of Becoming. CChus Martinez asks perhaps the broadest and most intra question nthe minds fl erst: What tmaaning, future, and (portended) death-—by recounting ‘he story of a philosophy professor's eake on art. In this {ory art ie already dead ef a remnant of an earlier, lese= developed age. Martine:’s unsettled narrative pricks Roles in ehis Hegelian decree, poineing out ies tdlosynerasios ahd faws, and indicating her uncertainty regarding the Possibility of ever knowing a beginning or an end to ar Ina time when the role of art itself sin question, Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy asks: What about eollecting In today's are wort, che role ofthe collection curator is dofiniely perceived as less glamorous than that of the organizer of temporary blockbuster exhibitions or biennias. Collecting as an aspect of curating Is almost completely ignored in curatorial degres courses. Homandes bags co differ with this actitude, accerting that collections remain a core principle upon which the ‘traditional pubic art institution is based, and thae the private-curned-public collection s becoming a more End more prominent insleutional model globally. How in a collection originally built on the tastes of a single Elona Filipovic endosvors to answer what for many curators isthe core quostion of the practice: What Ie an xibtiont She dispenses wich any notion of the exhibition pace as neutral or inere and argues that the each of the diferent typologies of exhibicions that exist (or may Possibly exis in the future) must be analyzod in thelr own Fight, salting into aecoune thelr entirely different aims and foals, For Flipovie, a dleeussion of exhibitions ie always bout seeking eo datermine “what Ie docs, which Is to ‘ay, how exhibieions function and matter, and how they participate in the construction and administration of the speriance of the tems they prerent.” Diving into the function of the oxhibicion enables us to examine Ie asa tte for the emergence of dialectical relationships among Maria Lind asee 2 question that we ean all agree ‘s increasingly relevant: Why mediate art! She prosents ‘ove dominant tendencies in rt mediation in the 20ch ‘century. On the one hand thera is ehe traditional, didaethe ‘museum mode! largely developed by the founding director nd ies founding director of education, Victor D'Amico. ‘On the other she offers up the more radieal, participatory pesdagogteal practcos developed by figures such asthe Srtise El Lisieayy and the curator Alexander Dorner. Lind argues thae the abundance of dldaetie materials prorented ‘major muscums-—wall texts and object label, near ‘leplay narratives, and an assortment of art educational fundamentally in need of explanations. She challenges us teste this domiane model and propose ater types he practice: What Is an 1y notion of the exhibition Ss that exise (or may bbe analyzed in thet own ntioly diferent sims and H exhibitions is alway Tmateer, and how they sd'administration of the ica relationships among that we can all agree Hate art! She presents nediation inthe 20ch {by the founding director Art Alfved H. Barr, oy figures such as ehe ‘Alexander Dorner. Lind Actie materials prosented 4 object labels, tions. She challenges ut tomene that curators are increasingly seeming to turn inward, and consider {heir practices In Isolation from the ever-growing publics Tlevant what we are doing for more than the already- ‘Converted few, without slipping into bland traditional anon-building er curating only for other curators? ‘What to do withthe contemporary? Jose Ribas tacklor perhaps the most frequently used word (second tly 60 “are,” hat ls) inthe fled today. What does 1 ‘oncorned with a comparison of the contemporary €0 its modern ontological predacessor, nor wich its more plebian Synonym, the “now.” He focuses instead an the ways in which curators coday consider the work they display ‘within temporal, spatial, and historical frameworks. The ‘ahife in chronological time, more than just the stalreaze fa shife in how humans see the world, and the art that Is ‘created In response to changing conditions ‘What about responsibilty? Peter Eleey brings up tue increasingly pertinent question of what constieures ‘curatorial esponsibility. For number of reasons, which of overstepping thelr bounds by valuing their own work ‘more highly than the art they are showing, commissioning, for otherwise facilitating. Elegy questions the limits of ‘rating with regard to placing artworks in conditions oF contexts for whieh they were not made or meant to be ‘splayed, He adviser wt to proceed with caution in the brave new world of the curator-as-author. ‘uilding on the questions around the varying structures of curating, Adriano Pedrosa asks: What is the process? Researching fora contemporary art exhibition {sof course, a different beast than art historical research, While many curatorial degree programs exist, and more — surely pop up n the years to come, Pedrosa argues {or a diferent kind of professional methedelogy—one ‘that fs fundamentally incerdislplinary and grounded in [nd informational models and a self-rllexive, inquisitive ‘mentaliey, a well az an ardent desire for travel, particulary to che lossechareod areas of the art world, are 2 productive toolbex for curators today. Finally, nal seriousness, Dieter Rectstracte asks: How about pleasure? OF course curating Isa serious Cndsavor conducted by scholarty, Intelleceual individuals he experience of visiting a museum or secing an ‘uhibition is meant to be rigorous, changing, and Comseiousness-raising. But even a how curated with the ‘most aspirational intentions can be 3 decidedly didactic, “antisoptie, even anti-pleasurable viewing experience. focstracia muse! "Does the invocation of on form of practice with the evil forear of entertalament?® How can Ive as curators achlove in our projects a middle ground sensibiiey! CCurating is arolaively young fala with short history. It certainly borrows from the more established aiseipines fof ae hiscory and cultural studies, but fis sili ee tdotescence, stil transitioning from an open, creative, Targely undefined practice to'a diverse professional arena, ‘with many highly spectalized branches of knowledge and practice, But these specialized branches, while a necessary part of any established fel, are producing mountains of iscourse under which [fear many essential thoughts can be buried, and perhaps suffocate. von as this book goes to prin, I eannot help but wonder if the questions tens crators examine wi a inthe early stages of formulating 2 theory of curating, come, Pedrosa argues almethodology—one Tinary and grounded in Feoday. trating is a sertous lum or seeing an 5 challenging, and be a decidedly aldactie, viewing experience, Jects 2 midate ground vg feta with short history. te established disciplines Sman open, ereative, verse professional arena ‘ches of knowledge and anches, while a necessary Producing mountains of Y errential thoughts can ne, tearmot help but ‘ators examine lal Yor ton years. We are sting a theory of curating, and there may come a time (although f doube i) when no fone will want €o talk about curating and exhibicion making Sny more. The more likely scenarios that a decade from now the role ofthe curator will be analogous to a many headed creature, the perfoct embodiment of a peripatetic, decentralized, deregulated inellectual worker who Als 20s in cultural meaning ehrough a wide range of products Sng services to an ever-broadening consumer market. ‘Questioning the roles and limits of curating, while certainly a healthy thing for thore of us working in “Curating” today can mean everything —or utterly nothing-depending on whom you ark. Clearly and ‘traightforwardly defining this work, as we attempt to ‘doin thi Boole, means staking a lain for the substance ‘nd rolevance of the Held as a whole. There are specie ‘questionsquestions that are not specialized —that every ‘Curator must a2k him- oF herself. How and why do we do | strongly belove that anyone working in any intettectval fled should, every fowryoars, review the ‘essential questions of their practice and reflect on hhow their relationship to them has changed over tim Curatorial innovation, new theories of curating, and ‘diverse new conversations should be welcomed and ‘istract us from engaging, and re-engaging, with what we already think we know. In my own practice, curating is still fundamentally tied to mating exhibitions. Ie ted to artists and reworks. My role, 251 soe It, isto dlsplay artworks fn epaca in a meaningful way according to a particular concept. Today | sense that such an approach (s coming ‘more and more under question and that curating is moving further and further away from the gallery. In the debates concerning curatorial practic, we see an ever-expanding array of viewpoints. These range from the traditional museum curator postossing deep lenowledge of art history roar particular eolection, to the academically rained area Riporary curator working n 2 larger institution