I recently revisited a book that has been on my shelf for a while now. It comes at a time when I am considering various ideas for my publication proposal in SYP. The New Curator (Hoare, 2016) discusses the development of curating in contemporary art. It is divided into four parts: Beyond the White Cube, Rethinking the Biennale Model, Towards a Radical Institution and Transcending Boundaries. Despite its clear structure, the book doesn’t always read coherently, as it tends to compete between being a survey on contemporary practitioners work, and wanting to be a debate on the future of curating.
Mark Rappolt writes for ArtReview that the self-aggrandising of curating to be seen as deities of the contemporary art world is nauseating, as “…it expresses curating’s desperate desire for acknowledgement as an essential, specialist and discreet profession.” (Rappolt, 2016). This desire to promote the relatively young occupation is I agree a little pompous to start with. However Rappolt concedes that beyond the introduction, the book is “insightful” in its diversity of interviewees which “…give the impression that curating is a refreshingly diverse and location-specific business.” (Rappolt, 2016). Regine Debatty is more enthusiastic by the book, describing it as a “…snapshot of the places and spaces occupied and disrupted by curators today.” (Debatty, 2016).
I found exploring the expansion of the role to be reflective of my research into site-specificity through Miwon Kwon’s essay One Place after Another: Notes on Site Specificity (1997). She explains that the role of the artist has evolved from “…a maker of aesthetic objects…” to “…a facilitator, educator, coordinator, and bureaucrat.” (Kwon, 1997, p.103). I also believe the role of a successful creative professional balances talent as an artist with practical life skills to operate in the real world.
The interview with Mami Kataoka in Towards a Radical Institution was of most interest to me. She is the chief curator at Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. Kataoka wishes to present Asian art as coexisting “…in a horizontal relationship, instead of a vertical hierarchical one." (Hoare, 2016, p.148) with both classical Asian art, and the rest of the world. She brings her knowledge of Asian philosophy, such as Taoism and Feng Shui to bridge contemporary art with the ancient archives. In doing so she is finding a new purpose to what is essentially a western construct, the museum. Her approach to space and time also steps away from the classic linear structure of Western art history, and more characteristic of Asian art insofar as it doesn't reject the past, but seeks “…a continual return to it.” (Morley, 2013, p.192).
Another inspiring find was artist Elizabeth McAlpine. Her piece presented in the book, The Map of Exactitude - Corner works (2011) relates to some of my early writings in BoW regarding the desire to create a 1:1 scale print returning to its place of creation. Her practice of using pin hole cameras to map the space is interesting, and something I could consider researching further in future developments for my shadowgram concept.
The book resonates as I am debating my current plight, to challenge the possibilities of output as a whole, or to be selective and add a little twist to something more familiar. My research into an Artist Residency in Motherhood was positively challenging, if ultimately something I decided not to pursue further. I have also considered the option of writing an additional dissertation, with the main contemplation centred around the purpose of writing. Although another great unknown here is if I can effectively produce a paper that has a guaranteed destination in order to be assessment ready. This brings me back to my original comments on managing my expectations against my personal circumstances. However what I am taking from this book is the potential to be creative with the skill-set presented on the front cover; to be a researcher, commissioner, keeper, interpreter, producer, collaborator, in a more recognised format of mini-residency and exhibition at Hauss Space. It can potentially achieve a balance in being innovative while having a sure time-frame and environment I can deliver in.
Debatty, R (2016) ‘Book review: The New Curator.’ In: We Make Money Not Art [online] At: https://we-make-money-not-art.com/book-review-the-new-curator/ (Accessed on: 26.09.19)
Hoare, N (2016) The New Curator. London: Laurence King Publishing.
Kwon, M (1997) ‘One Place after Another: Notes on Site Specificity’. In: October, Vol.80(1), pp 85-110
Morley, S (2013) ‘Dansaekhwa’. In: Third Text, 25(5), pp 189-207
Rappolt, M (2016) ‘Book review: The New Curator.’ In: ArtReview [online] At: https://artreview.com/reviews/ara_summer_2016_book_the_new_curator/ (Accessed on: 26.09.19)