[-empyre-] Curatorial Studies

Ana Valdés agora158 at gmail.com
Sun Apr 8 02:53:29 EST 2012

Dear -empyre fellows and dear Brian: I think this is the biggest challenge
today for all of us thinking radical but needing all the time compromises
and agreements with the System to keep us afloat economically and socially.
Can we generate and reproduce radical thoughts and radical actions within
the System (within the Universities, the Museums, the Galleries, the Art
market, the publishing industry?).
Alicia Migdal wrote last month in our former -empyre discussion about
Eloisa Cartonera, a real underground project born out from the deep
discontent with the publishing industry conditions for both authors and
readers. It started in Argentina and was also a part of the social unrest
that the country is suffering since 2001, when the economy and the politics
touched rock bottom.
Art Povera, KItchen Povera today with Slow Food movement, are projects and
movements created as a reaction to how the System manage to swallow up the
radicals and make them a part of the system itself. We saw it 1968 when the
radical students questioned the tenured professors, today many of the
tenured professors are some of the 1968's radical students.
Speaking in curatorial terms it's almost impossible to break the rules. My
favorite curator is the French Catherine David. Fantastic erudite, able to
argue in French, Spanish and English, Catherine was appointed as first
female curator to the Documenta Exhibition in Kassel, maybe the world's
most influent exhibition, far more interesting than Venice with it's
national boundaries.
Her exhibition, Documenta X, changed for good the way to curate Art in
Europe. She took the Third World's most interesting painters and performers
to Kassel, she gave photographers and filmmakers a predominant role into
the exhibition.
It was a political exhibition, Catherine is a true radical and her views on
Art and Politics shows in all her exhibitions, where seminars and
discussions are also a part of the artistic context.
I worked with her in Sweden, in an exhibition about Iraqui Art, in the
middle of the war. It was amazing see how she could manage an exhibition
where Iraqui Jews living in Israel, Iraqui Christians chased in Baghdad and
Sunnis and Shiites blended to discuss the true Baghdad, the inmanens of the
My observation about the Moderna Museet in Stockholm was based on the
Museums respective chief curators, good people all, my dear friend David
Elliott, Lars Nittve and now Daniel Birnbaum, one of the most solid
theoretics in the Art scene.
Both David, Lars and Daniel wanted the Moderna to play a radical role, to
became again the most outspoken critic to the power and the system, as the
Moderna was in the 60:s, when the director at that time, Pontus Hultén,
created a space for Art and Activism.
Hultén was the brain and the director for Centre Pompidou in Paris and both
the Moderna in Stockholm and Beaubourg share the idea of museums for the
people and museums open to discussions where the idea of the museum is also



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"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with
your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always
long to return.
— Leonardo da Vinci
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