[-empyre-] re-Death of the Curator?

Cynthia Beth Rubin cbr at cbrubin.net
Sat Apr 14 00:04:49 EST 2012

Simon and all

Nice comparison to theatre - it points out what the visual art world is becoming. . . Theatre has always been a communal activity -- at least in modern times.  The actors bring their wonderful skills to the stage, but they know the boundary of their creative input.  The ultimate vision is that of the director and the writer.  

Is the curatorial role turning the presentation/public exhibition of artwork into a collaborative event, or even one in which the artist (visual) is only executing the vision the curator (director)?

Visual art, for better or worse, in recent time (last 150 years at least) has been considered a solitary activity.  I personally, as an artist, am less interested in the "lone ranger" version of art-making.  In this model, the artist retreats to the studio, produces stunning and personal work, and then spends endless amounts of time courting curators who find the artist just at the right moment, when that personal work is in tune with the curators vision.  In turn, the vision of the curator must be in tune with the trend of the moment.  Woe to the artist who is several years out of sync - especially so far ahead of his/her time that the curators think it is rubbish because they do not understand it.  So the role of the artist becomes one of second guessing the curators, who themselves are second guessing the public, institutions, grant-makers.

Visual art has to become communally produced on some level.  I am interested in how artists can take an active role in doing this, and I have been part of various efforts to invent, or expand upon, new models of communal exhibitions which are hybrid in that they are not communal works, not "juried" shows (hate that) but are exhibitions of new work that artists create for an exhibition which is shaped by a group.  We announce the guidelines, the theme, the parameters, and ask that artists share as they develop their work.

We need curators for historical perspective, and we need curators to help us with their experience in navigating the production of exhibitions.  In this model, the artists who are organizing the exhibition are also producing work alongside the exhibiting artists. they are equally exhibiting artists.  They need to be vested in the process.

more later - this is a busy time and I will not be able to respond until tonight or tomorrow - however all of this is immensely interesting.  Thanks for the discussion,


Cynthia Beth Rubin

On Apr 12, 2012, at 8:15 PM, simon wrote:

> Dear <<empyreans>>, Johannes,
> respectfully, isn't what you are talking about in regard to Kafka's Wound as
> "where the paratextual or paramedial dimensions can emerge"
> simply theatre?
> and isn't the Death of the Curator a repetition of the death of the director, from about the '80s - it is particularly German theatre I am thinking of, the generation of Peter Stein - ?
> and in cinema in the '90s the bruited about "death of the auteur"?
> In theatre it seems to me that the post-interpretative director, Robert Wilson, epitomises a curatorial attitude/method when he becomes the ring-master for the circus of collaborators and collaboration going on around him, witness his work with the two Heiners, Mueller and Goebbels, about whom there is something mismatched and yet apropos, or the great failed project The Civil Wars - an internationally curated theatre work.
> Best,
> Simon Taylor
> www.squarewhiteworld.com
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