not to be nitpicking but as i recall the line was both live art and  
new media, given that they were programmed by one department at the  

either way, Charlesworth's essay is much needed. for a long time i  
have felt frustrated by the "de-skilling" within arts institutions  
where curators are expected to be generalists, and be able to 'talk  
the talk' of corporate sponsorship and private philanthropy and  
fashion and pop culture all while trying to keep enough time to  
research and support artists in the best way possible. interesting to  
read, by comparison, thoughts on specialism from someone like Richard  
Flood, now at the New Museum, in light of the debate happening there  
about the ethics / politics of exhibiting the collection of a trustee...

"Flood emphasized the need for multi-functionality and training in a  
different way. “It’s a bad time for specialists,” Flood said,  
“Curators need the ability to function in the real world, and the  
real world often disappears in academic struggles.” Flood emphasized  
the need for emerging curators to have expertise in (or willingness  
to learn) budgeting, selling programs, approaching private sponsors,  
honoring existing hierarchies and understanding how commercial  
galleries and auction houses work."

these debates seem to happen most around non-collecting institutions,  
widening the gulf between those curators as caretakers - naturally  
specialists - and curators as everything else.

... that these restructuring initiatives are often described as  
exciting opportunities to rethink the institution is often all the  
more depressing.

some random thoughts on a slow afternoon,

On 11 Feb 2010, at 14:01, Rachel Baker wrote:

> Except for the statement below where Charlesworth doesn't realise  
> it was
> media art that Eshun felt lacked cultural agency, not live art.
> True, his argument still applies although, with a few exceptions,  
> media arts
> is far more invested in the free market boomtime creative  
> industries ethos
> that he lambasts (and the ICA embraced) than live art will ever be.
> "...Eshun's blithe comment at the time the closure of the live arts
> department - that live art 'lacks cultural urgency' - is indicative  
> of this
> confusion between fluid, non-disciplinary notions of curatorial  
> agency,
> trend-setter indifference to anything that is not 'now' and the  
> bureaucratic
> tendency to withdraw from contacts with practitioners. It wasn't  
> that there
> wasn't a lively culture of artistic work being done in live arts at  
> the
> time, but simply that a cultural director had passed judgement that  
> it was
> no longer relevant. "
> Rachel
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Curating digital art -
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Holley
> Sent: 11 February 2010 12:47
> To: [log in to unmask]
> 2010 to
> 10 Feb 2010 (#2010-19)
> Excedllent piece on ICA crisis:
> crisis_at_the_ica_ekow_eshun_s_experiment
> _in_deinstitutionalisation
> Tom
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