What a fascinating day! The morning lecturers really sparked some great
breakout sessions in the afternoon. Here is a recap of the topics, the
people involved, and the top points to take away:
+ Breakout Group One: Commissioning for Collection
Expert: Benjamin Weil (LABoral), CAS questioner: Julie Milne (Laing)
Local curator questioner: Alix Collingwood, MIMA
Organiser Reporter: Beryl Graham (CRUMB)
Top Point: Take Risks!
1. Risk: artist has right to fail.
2. Commission (ish). Museum commissioning artwork and then receiving a copy
from the artist. Can be collected and historicized.
3. Relationship between collecting documentation and collecting artwork.
Slippage of artwork status between archive and art exhibition.
4. Partnerships between institutions is a very good idea. Good example: New
Museum, Modern Art in Chicago, and the Hammer in LA (!! but what about
+ Breakout Group Two: Residency/Product/ Collectors
Expert: Lisa Panting (Picture This)
CAS questioner: Winnie Sze
Local curator questioner: Dr Ele Carpenter Lecturer (MFA Curating, Dept of
Art, Goldsmiths College)
Organiser reporter: Lucy Bayley (CAS)
1. Risk-taking. Looks at international institutions and the difference
2. Recupement. Often comes down to the individuals. Lots of demand on
publically-funded institutions to have recupement. Do you need to let public
institutions know when you sell a privately owned piece?
3. Arts Council Strategy: accessioning variable media. Collecting vs.
distributing film and new video work.
4. Re-iternated the need for failure. If the outcome is built from the
start, that can be limiting as to what is produced through the residencies.
5. Creating an archive of contracts, potentially how Contemporary Art
Society can make a database of past contracts with artists and galleries to
see how they evolve. Goes back to failure--documents may reveal what should
have happened that didn't happen in the past.
Breakout Group three: Collections/ Community/ Process
Expert: Graham Harwood
CAS questioner: Marguerite Nugent (Wolverhampton Museum and Art Gallery)
Local curator questioner: Andrea McDonald (independent curator)
Organiser reporter: Axel Lapp (CRUMB)
1. Institutions have to have clear outlines and also be open to networking
with other institutions.
2. Pieces might change while in collection, artists really have to be clear
about how they want it to exist. A recording of the artist talking about the
piece and what s/he wants conserved is very important.
3. All about relationships: continued strategies between artist and
institution. Ex: AV Festival. Important to have local involvement.
"we live in a world that is networked like never before. The imperative to
join forces has become greater than ever. Institutions should work
4. Communication and transparency. We haven't really talked about
artists-as-curators. Artists sometimes come in trying to shift the way you
Breakout Group four: Live Art/ Documentation/ Archive/ Public Space
Expert: Lois Keidan
CAS questioner: Chris Kirby (The Herbert, Coventry)
Local curator questioner: Llana Mitchell (Wunderbar)
Organiser reporter: Lucy Byatt (CAS)
1. Role of the Collection: it's hard to know what the role is. The way in
which collections are animated/used/researched. It's unreliable; open to the
whims of the institution. We should be clear how unreliable that is.
2. Commissioning and acquiring work: was that ultimately limiting? As long
as the artist knows from the outset that it's going to be acquired and knows
"the whole constellation", then it should be smooth.
3. Commissions that are participatory are difficult: rather than a document
of the work, there should be a documentary. Different narrative, different
cultural value, not trying to recreate the piece. A 'fixing' of a document
to an event.
4. The type of work that shouldn't be collected was a big challenge.
5. It's okay not to know...yet. We don't know what technology will be in the
future, yet we have to carry on with our work. We have to develop
narratives. We need to work with artists and have confidence not to know
yet, quite yet.
Summary and Farewells: Laura Sillars and Beryl Graham
The answer is yes! --best thing to hear/say when a collaboration is starting
Think about how collections should be contested to keep them alive.
Referring to "Golden Age" of commissioning (lots of money for
commissioning)- late 90's
Blurring the status of artist (delving into curator responsibility) and
curator (delving into artist responsibility)
Keep the space for negotiations and discussion. Keep conversations
transparent and strive to make them more transparent. Preserve artists and
create international collection. Shared knowledge banks, contract banks.
Institutions should act as catalysts to collect information and answer
Signing off! Enjoy the AV Festival.