[-empyre-] Curatorial Studies

Jim Drobnick displaycult at sympatico.ca
Thu Apr 5 08:05:38 EST 2012

Hi Folks,

Perhaps another thread concerning our curatorial practice would be more conducive to a dialogue. We have just launched a peer-reviewed publication called the Journal of Curatorial Studies that seeks to be a forum for critical discussions on curating, exhibitions and display culture. The first issue is free to download at http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-Journal,id=205/

Our editorial points out the journal’s general mandate, below, and there are several questions listed in the middle paragraph. We might also discuss the status of this emerging area of study called curatorial studies. Does it constitute a discipline? If not, should it aim to become one? What would be the advantages and disadvantages? And if it is a discipline, what should its parameters be?

We look forward to hearing your comments.

Jim and Jennifer


Journal of Curatorial Studies, 1.1, 2012


Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher, Editors

Curating, as a field of study, often falls between the cracks of disciplinary boundaries. Until recently, it has been left to curators themselves to theorize upon their practice and the function of exhibitions. The Journal of Curatorial Studies builds upon the pioneering contributions of curators to encourage in-depth investigations from an array of disciplines. Through the examination of current and historical exhibitions, display venues in the art world and elsewhere, and the work of individual curators, the journal inquires into what constitutes “the curatorial.”

While curating as a practice of arranging objects remains important, in the current context exhibitions involve more complex and unorthodox conjunctions of rhetoric and methodology. Cultural analysis, collaborative processes, institutional critique, performative interventions, networked interactivity – these are some of the strategies that are now regularly employed. This journal will explore these and other issues, such as: How has the identity and authority of the curator shifted in a decentralized artworld? How do exhibitions emphasizing experience and interactivity function as forms of research and knowledge? Beyond the so-called gatekeeping function, what are the new ideological conditions that drive the activity of curating? What connections exist between displays of visual art and those found in culture at large? To this end, the journal will feature thematic and open issues, theoretical explorations, contemporary and historical case studies, interviews with curators, artists and theorists, and reviews of exhibitions, conferences and books.

The Journal of Curatorial Studies invites texts from a broad range of perspectives on curating and exhibitions. It intends to serve the international community of curators, academics whose research engages questions of the curatorial, whether stemming from the art world or other domains of contemporary culture, as well as the growing number of curatorial schools and graduate programs. We welcome a readership that encompasses a range of standpoints – scholars in art, art history, visual culture, museology and material culture studies, along with curators, artists, art critics and cultural theorists.
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