Rather belated greetings from the Museums Association Conference in Manchester (see http://www.museumsassociation.org/events), and thanks Sarah for an interesting theme:
I believe that I was chairing the first panel specifically concerning new media art at MA conference, which is interesting in itself. Set up by Clare Gannaway, the panel included: Laura Sillars, Programmes Director, FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). Kathryn Lambert, Creative Director, Folly, Lancaster.
Lindsay Taylor, Exhibitions Officer, The Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston. Tim Wilcox, Principal Manager: Exhibitions, Manchester Art Gallery. The presentations included considerations of what can be achieved by mixed art form art museums, what can be learnt from a fine history of participative projects, how specialist new media festivals such as ISEA appear to non-specialist curators, and what they might need to do in terms of publicity and interpretation to draw in a wider audience than the specialist!
I can say that lots of the issues raised by this month's theme cropped up at MA, with lots of interesting panels by education, interpretation or other Museums staff who are pushing the boundaries of participation, such as the "Democratic Exhibition" workshop with Subhadra Das UCL Cultural Property Advisor (see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/museums), and the "Ultimate Participation" panel where Tara Jane Herbert for example, showed for example Dance United's very high quality work "co-created" by artists and non-artists including prisoners. The speakers acknowledged that these projects were not without hierarchies, and that overall choreographic directing was important as well as parts developed more collaboratively through improvisation. "Quality" was always stressed, although, interestingly, not necessarily quality as measured by art critics, but also by the peers and families of the prisoners/performers - allowing the prisoners to 'fail' in front of them was "not an option", whereas the critics were more distant and less important.
Theatre and performance could be argued to have a better-documented history of "co-created" works with more strongly differentiated roles within groups, but as
Louise Govier commented rather mischieviously - "where is the co-created or co-curated Titian exhibition?" Are art curators particularly resistant to these ideas?
'Quality' is a such a major concern for participative projects of all kinds, and in the Rethinking Curating book we quote Steve Dietz's telling comparison that conceptual art works from the 60s that include public participation are not subjected to the same critical concerns about 'quality' in direct relationship to the level of celebrity of the artist.
So, concerning the Guggenheim video project, and other projects where the individual curator or critic must consider these quality judgements alongside those of peers - what is the balance of that, can they compare?
On 4 Oct 2010, at 13:32, Sarah Cook wrote:
> Hi CRUMB
> to kick off this discussion I've compiled a list of related readings... dig in!
> 1. the reviews of the conference Me You And Everyone We Know is a Curator, in which people from the Masters of Media at University of Amsterdam compare notes about Andrew Keen's speech, clips of it you can watch online too:
> it's especially interesting to watch the clip where Keen describes how curators have to stand up and describe what they believe in, tell their own story, in the face of all this overwhelming content online.
> 2. the blog posts by Hanne Mugaas and Caitlin Jones on the blog the Take. Caitlin will be joining this discussion too about her sense of what it is, as a curator, to use online spaces for research, and how judging material is different in that context.
> 3. Joe del Pesco's blog post, on the SFMoMA blog, about VVORK:
> 4. Paddy Johnson, from Art Fag City's blog post in response to the New York Times article about 'curating' becoming a buzz word:
> 5. Michelle Kasprzak's blog post about curating the web, which was posted here some months ago also:
> On 1 Oct 2010, at 11:21, Sarah Cook wrote:
>> October/November 2010 Theme of the Month: The Jury is Out!
>> This month on CRUMB we look at the curatorial role of filtering and selection, and how the online world continues to change what the term curating has come to stand for.
>> The Guggenheim Museum has just announced its longlist for its YouTube Play Biennial of Creative Video, and On October 21, 2010, up to 20 videos selected by the jury of experts* will be presented on youtube.com/play and at a celebration at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, with simultaneous presentations at the Guggenheim museums in Berlin, Bilbao, and Venice (http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/interact/participate/youtube-play). In their advertising for this project, curator Nancy Spector comments that the project is about "how to reach an audience" and that the Guggenheim doesn't "create a hierarchy among mediums...." (which is just as well because we're not sure yet quite how "creative video" differs from video art and videos distributed online). The Guggenheim's accompanying blog, The Take (http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/interact/participate/youtube-play/the-take/play/3574-the-take-what-and-why) seeks to illuminate the process and discuss digital content, online video and the like.
>> In December of last year, CRUMB members attended a symposium in the Netherlands organised by the Graphic Design Museum excitedly titled "me and you and everyone we know is a curator" (http://www.graphicdesignmuseum.nl/en/events/calendar/symposium-me-you-and-everyone-we-know-is-a-curator/455). The symposium was about "looking for quality in a messy world; more specifically about looking for notions, ideas and ways of working in online culture, and asking ourselves how these could be applied / assessed / made into qualitative content in the offline world (and vice versa)." At the symposium Andrew Keen, author of The Cult of the Amateur, reduced the notion of curating to simply gatekeeping and following his keynote most of the discussions about curating were limited to the editorial/selection/quality-control aspects of the profession.
>> The online blog VVORK, http://www.vvork.com, organised by Oliver Laric and others, continues to garner fans and result in offline real-world exhibitions due to its brilliant take on informal research online, displaying images of artworks which take the bloggers fancy, 'tagged' with just title, year, artist and link but no comment.
>> So how do you reconcile the often-assumed most important part of a curator's job - wielding personal choices in the name of quality - with the ways in which art research has changed with online tools, online art and the online distribution of other art forms such as video?
>> (This discussion may be completely overshadowed here in the UK later in October when the Government's spending review details are released and we see exactly how processes of selection in the arts and culture are enforced.)
>> Meantime, confirmed respondents this month include (with others to be introduced as the discussion goes on):
>> Hanne Mugaas, curatorial associate at the Guggenheim Museum, manages the blog The Take and is part of the team organising the YouTube Play biennial. http://www.hanne-mugaas.com
>> Sophie Krier, designer, filmmaker, writer and organiser of the conference Me, You, And Everyone We Know Is A Curator. Her ICI blog is at http://www.sophie-krier.blogspot.com/
>> Ele Carpenter, lecturer in Curating at Goldsmith's College, London and CRUMB research alumni. Goldsmith's is one of the named partners in the Guggenheim/YouTube Play project. http://www.eleweekend.blogspot.com/
>> *The YouTube Play jury is comprised of: Laurie Anderson; Animal Collective, featuring Deakin (Josh Dibb), Geologist (Brian Weitz), and Panda Bear (Noah Lennox); Darren Aronofsky; Douglas Gordon; Ryan McGinley; Marilyn Minter; Takashi Murakami; Shirin Neshat; Stefan Sagmeister; Apichatpong Weerasethakul; Nancy Spector (Jury Chair)
Beryl Graham, Professor of New Media Art
Research Student Manager, Art and Design
MA Curating Course Leader
Faculty of Arts, Design, and Media, University of Sunderland
Ashburne House, Ryhope Road
Tel: +44 191 515 2896 Fax: +44 191 515 2132
Email: [log in to unmask]
CRUMB web resource for new media art curators
CRUMB's new books:
Rethinking Curating: Art After New Media from MIT Press
A Brief History of Curating New Media Art, and A Brief History of Working with New Media Art from The Green Box