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Subject:

Re: curating critically

From:

Rachelle Knowles <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Curating digital art - www.newmedia.sunderland.ac.uk/crumb/

Date:

Tue, 12 Feb 2002 15:05:49 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (41 lines)

re: Josephine 's questions - >
>1 - it is beyond doubt that curators are as important or probably more
>important as critics in the way art is perceived. Can they make a
>difference as to how it is valuated (economically) as well?

Apols for jumping in halfway though this discussion and if this point has
already been made. I'm a media artist based in Canada. I recently had the
experience of trying to donate (not even sell) a piece of video to a public
gallery. The project had been made as a context-specific project for a
particular city in Canada and it seemed appropriate to me at least, that the
piece should be represented in the permanent collection of the local
collecting institution. The piece was rejected by the gallery director and
curator on the basis that the gallery had no video in its collection and no
policy in place at that point for the collecting of media works. Not an
unusual scenario. Having worked within a public art institution in Canada, I
have seen how works from permanent collections are exhibited over and over
within different contexts and how this process allows for a build up of
critical and percieved economic 'value' and layering of meaning. For
example, a photograph of an upsidedown tree could be first written about and
contextualised within an exhibition of Nature/Culture, then show up again a
couple of years later in an exhibition about photography, then again in a
critical analysis of contemporary approaches to landscape, then again within
a show addressing conceptual art. Much is made of the fact that these art
works in public gallery collections belong to the people of that city, and
it does seem that members of the public do develop relationships with
particular artworks and develop a sense of the works 'importance' through
these varied lenses that the works are presented through. Needless to say,
new media works in Canada at least, are often still relegated to the
'travelling show about art and technology' that do the rounds. It seems
that even the most forward thinking of institutional curators, still must do
battle with an aquisition committee and a board made up of local lawyers and
shopkeepers to justify bringing 'challenging' works into public collections
- the place where a general public will not only see art, but recieve a
jugement on its 'value'.

Rachelle Viader Knowles
http://artists.banff.org/rvk

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