Tuesday, February 21, 2012

To curate or not to curate....

So what's your take on curating and curators?

Curators' Series #3: History of Art, the

David Roberts Art Foundation, 111 Great Titchfield Street, London, W1W 6RY,  14 Jun 2010

Curators' Series #3: History of Art, the

curator (from Latincura meaning "care") is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritageinstitution (e.g., gallerymuseumlibrary or archive) is a content specialist responsible for an institution's collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material. The object of a traditional curator's concern necessarily involves tangible objects of some sort, whether it be inter alia artwork, collectibles, historic items or scientific collections. More recently, new kinds of curators are emerging: curators of digital data objects, and biocurators.

found here  - This is young!

Today I found something on this subject that really interested me at Brain Pickings where Maria Popover wrote a post on Feb 14th titled:

This Will Make You Smarter: 151 Big Thinkers Each Pick a Concept to Enhance Your Cognitive Toolkit

Click on that title and read the whole post...about this book below its well worth a read!

I've posted here this excerpt quoting 'curator extraordinaire' Hans-Ulrich Obrist:

Lately, the word “curate” seems to be used in an greater variety of contexts than ever before, in reference to everything from a exhibitions of prints by Old Masters to the contents of a concept store. The risk, of course, is that the definition may expand beyond functional usability. But I believe ‘curate’ finds ever-wider application because of a feature of modern life that is impossible to ignore: the incredible proliferation of ideas, information, images, disciplinary knowledge, and material products that we all witnessing today. Such proliferation makes the activities of filtering, enabling, synthesizing, framing, and remembering more and more important as basic navigational tools for 21st century life. These are the tasks of the curator, who is no longer understood as simply the person who fills a space with objects but as the person who brings different cultural spheres into contact, invents new display features, and makes junctions that allow unexpected encounters and results.
To curate, in this sense, is to refuse static arrangements and permanent alignments and instead to enable conversations and relations. Generating these kinds of links is an essential part of what it means to curate, as is disseminating new knowledge, new thinking, and new artworks in a way that can seed future cross-disciplinary inspirations. But there is another case for curating as a vanguard activity for the 21st century.
As the artist Tino Sehgal has pointed out, modern human societies find themselves today in an unprecedented situation: the problem of lack, or scarcity, which has been the primary factor motivating scientific and technological innovation, is now being joined and even superseded by the problem of the global effects of overproduction and resource use. Thus moving beyond the object as the locus of meaning has a further relevance. Selection, presentation, and conversation are ways for human beings to create and exchange real value, without dependence on older, unsustainable processes. Curating can take the lead in pointing us towards this crucial importance of choosing.”
The crucial importance of choosing... I find value in whats is being said here! Certainly worth thinking on. Perhaps many of us bloggers are engaging in a spot of curating ourselves.... perhaps frequently when you think about it. Well the potential is there.

Ulrich Obrist
Obrist's moleskin notebook
I found Obrist's notebook at a Moleskin website...a video takes you through the book if you're curious... I was! I rather liked the way his diary/notebook contains almost decipherable personal references rather than methodical note taking. I don't know about you but sometimes for me the marks hold the memory more than the words!

About this notebook: 
Obrist's notebook is a collage of his busy schedule while traveling in Asia last year, visiting many art exhibitions, like the 7th Gwangju Biennale, the 3rd Guangzhou Triennial and the 7th Shanghai Biennale. In a slot of one month he had many meetings and kept notes and stripes of paper, making his notebook into a conceptual work.
Born in, Zurich, Switzerland in 1968, Obrist is a curator, art critic and writer. After studying economics and politics he turned to contemporary art and has since gained wide acclaim for his extraordinary exhibitions, which often take place in spaces not previously used for such venues. He has curated exhibitions at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Kunsthalle Wien, the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, the Serpentine Gallery in London and the PS1 New York. He presently is the Co-Director of the Serpentine Gallery in London.TEMPORARY DIVERSION: Whilst at the my moleskin pages I spied this entry below... a painting by Borsa Valori which was quite a different image to what is often found on Moleskin pages.

borsa valori
Borsa Valori

Then, because I wanted to know more on Obrist I skipped over to this post here

Since 1993, curator, critic and art historian Hans-Ulrich Obrist, whom you might remember from the 2010 documentary The Future of Art, has been interviewing hundreds of noteworthy characters who have piqued his curiosity, from renowned luminaries to emerging artists, including writers, scientists, designers, composers, architects, and other thinkers and doers. The project was inspired by two long conversations HUO, as Obrist is often referred to, read when he was a student — one was between Pierre Cabanne and Marcel Duchamp, and the other between David Sylvester and Francis Bacon.
Throughout The Interview Project, HUO has amassed thousands of hours of tapes and more than 300 interviews to date. The first batch of 75 were released in 2003 in Hans-Ulrich Obrist: Interviews, currently out-of-print and a collector’s item. In 2010, HUO released the highly anticipated sequel, Hans Ulrich Obrist: Interviews, Volume 2 — an epic 950-page tome featuring 70 fascinating interviews with great minds from inside and outside the art world born between 1900 and 1989, organized by date of birth. Though you might recognize some of the bigger names, like Ai Weiwei and Miranda July, the beauty of the project is that many of its “endless conversations” live in the fringes of culture, where the most provocative art and thought take place.
A meditation on the art of the interview by the exceptional Douglas Couplandcaptures HUO’s unique gift:
Hans is one of the few people who know what a true interview out to accomplish, and he has an amazing knack for getting to the essence of a person. He’s the press equivalent of laser eye surgery. With HUO you never get to the twenty-first minute, and with HUO you feel like you’ve had a conversation. He does it the old fashioned way, in person, with a microphone, transcribing the results. This second volume of HUO’s interviews is more diverse than his first, and reflects a broader span of voices and points of view. Each person is a person, and each person is unique. This is a difficult feat to accomplish.”

Hans Ulrich Obrist: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Curating But Were Afraid to Ask
so here's the book
At e-flux you can find out about the book.

Whilst on this theme ...here's a journal:

Manifesta Journal: around curatorial practices
Read about Manifesta Journal Issues here.

I'll close with this book:

Read about this here... towards the end of the post!
Words of wisdom indeed... 


Mlle Paradis said...

oh i think you definitely curate for us sophie! that's why we keep coming back! if only i could keep up!!!!

Sophie Munns said...

Would not have thought that three years ago when starting out here Mlle P ... but these days the thought some if us bloggers are doing a fair bit of curating does seem to be the case... on that note I'm a little fond of 'the curating process' myself!

Keep up? ... I'm not l keeping up with myself at the moment... think it's that half of last year it (blogging) became such a time challenge as my brain was so busy working over-time elsewhere. It took me all of December and January to find my way back and at first I thought I had seriously lost my blogging mojo and better call it a day!

Now I realise this might become a pattern... I'm having a huge run on all my social media tools this week because I am about to have my time swallowed up in projects again... at first I wont notice and I'll keep blogging... then at some point I will be stretched too thin and needing to think elsewhere so my blog may well seem like I'm turning up but no-ones at home.

Be warned... maybe I should look into guest blogging... thats an interesting concept!

Art said...

I love the part of the quote where Obrist says: "Selection, presentation, and conversation are ways for human beings to create and exchange real value, without dependence on older, unsustainable processes." Its so true.

Thanks for a great post!

Carole said...

Wow....Sophie....so much to read, ponder, and re-read!

Where do I start? Moleskine's website is a feast to behold. Very creative bunch over there! Obrist's notebook is an example of his curatorial skills of his personal experience. Beautifully done!

Have you read This Will Make You Smarter? I wondering if it would be a slog of a read or pure joy.
It looks interesting. I'll see if it's available here and have a look before I buy.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Curating is of huge interest to me. I have curated two of my own art exhibitions and worked with a curator for the Elementary School Art Show at the Vernon ARt Gallery. After curating these exhibitions I have a great respect for curators.

I only took a glance at the Manifesta Journal but plan to take a more in depth look later with a cup of coffee and some lunch.

Douglas Coupland is a Vancouver Artist/Writer. Have you read any of his works or seen his Canadiana exhibition? Fabulous!

Thanks Sophie for posting such interesting and thought provoking posts.

Take care. xo

Sophie Munns said...

ART.... spot on with that line...I agree.

Thanks for tweeting this post.... I wrote it on Sunday ... only posted it yesterday. Was really taken with some of what he said...not the least because I do find myself NOT getting much at times from some heavily curated shows.,, a fact which has made me question the state of things.
This however I found utterly engaging and worthy of chewing over ... even being quite inspired by.... quality of engagement where there is a real artfulness to it..and human core!

Sophie Munns said...

Carole... much to répond to in your comments... would ilke to know more about Coupland.
I am running out the door now...so let me come back to your comments later... thanks for your response!

Anonymous said...


This was a fascinating post. As Carole says...so much to chew over.You always bring such interesting things to the table.

The ideas I found most interesting were the need/ ability to filter/ curate. Choose.

Perhaps it is because I am in my own personal state of cyclic overload but...with all the info constantly being produced by everyone...filtering is becoming more and more important.

Oh...loved the imagery on the previous post.

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Mary,
Words you highlighted I thought were so apt too.
Its a very no nonsense take on this subject... reassuring and exciting.
I appreciate what your are saying about the present moment for you... putting work out in various contexts like art shows and online and all the promo material... it does ask for a well-considered approach and the clarity becomes ever more important the more is out up in public.
thanks... and have a great show Mary!!!