>Ah! Pots and kettles! Glad to see you are so objective! Will you stop
>labeling me as if I were thinking more hierarchically then anybody else
>too? Dear me.
OK, let's try to be friends then ;)
>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?
I think that there are at least a couple of exemplary curators (some of
whom are on this list) who clearly represent just this, although whether
they have made any economic difference is a good question. Possibly, in
that they have focused attention on an artist who has then been
commissioned for something else, for example. Whatever, there are curators
who do seem to place equal value on media art and to also promote it
through writing as well as curating. They are few and far between
though...although increasing in number.
>2 - There are on line and off line exhibitions. Do curators take more
>liberties (with both the artists and the artworks) when they arrange an
>on line exhibition then when they organize physical exhibitions? If yes,
My personal experience is that liberties are taken, as a recent thread on
this list evidenced. Still no resolution to that...
>3 - When dealing with net art (but also other electronic art and new
>media art) do curators realize at all there is a history and context? If
>yes, should they take this context into account at all? Are catalogues
>giving enough insight into the works presented?
I would have assumed that an important part of a curators job is not only
to contextualise artwork into existing artworld discourse but to also
research the context that the work emerges from and address that in public
in an attempt to present the work as a living thing, emerging from a real
context, whether that be the street (as in grafitti art) or a media art
sub-culture. The value in this, at the very least, is in how the process
can effect the dominant discourses of the artworld. However, it would seem
that many works are appropriated by institutions with curators implicated
in this. By appropriated I mean that the work is torn away from its context
and repackaged to facilitate another agenda. This happens all the time in
all walks of life and it is corrupt and corrupting. I would never work with
a curator or an institution if I knew they were doing this. I would also
seek to expose what they were doing. Problem is that it might be that all
institutions, and thus their curators, do this just by doing what they
do...that they cannot help themselves, or if they can it is something they
have to address proactively on a constant and ongoing basis - a bit like
dealing with the subtleties of institutional racism, for instance.
An example of this can be seen in how most ethnographic museums exhibit art
from prehistory or from non-Western cultures. Some are good and seek to
show the work in a well researched and documented manner that brings the
context of the work to life...but most do not, placing much of the work
into a linear narrative founded on Western values. In the process they
render the work inaccessable on its own terms, corrupting the work and its
So, yes...curators should be obliged to deal with the background and
origins of work, regardless of where it comes from. Sadly, unlike dealing
with something like institutional racism, there isn't anybody "out there"
to oblige "them".
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The Great Wall of China @ http://www.greatwall.org.uk/
Babel @ http://www.babel.uk.net/
Research Professor (Digital Media)
Art and Design Research Centre
School of Cultural Studies
Sheffield Hallam University