Everyone is conservative. It’s not (always) a bad thing

Osman Can Yerebakan expresses an equally open-minded approach. Art writer with a master’s degree in fine arts and studio management (no curatorial studies), he has also organized exhibitions Queen’s Museum and the Center for Book Arts, and expresses an equally open approach. “It’s not the law, it’s not science, it’s not medicine,” he said. It’s not about the technical know-how needed to sell a business or perform a blood transfusion – curation is about having “a certain way of seeing different things, or being able to see connections” between works.
Francisco Correa Cordero, who runs the Tribeca Lubov Gallery, works as an executive coordinator at Independent Curators International (ICI) and serves as “guest curator” for Foundation (a new one online Platform for emerging artists) – began his career studying photography and art in the studio. Qualifying himself as an exhibition curator, he now supports artists in the realization of new projects and organizes public programs. The role, for him, concerns less objects than engagement. “Artists bring a whole different approach to designing shows and working around ideas,” he told me. Such examples are countless: earlier this year, organized a big show at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, centered on the idea of ​​copying, or appropriation (his contributions included a small replica of the Sistine Chapel). MoMA awarded conservation credits for last winter’s “-” show; contributed and curated his own collection of eclectic art in a two-part exhibition at Artists area in 2013; the Whitney invited to organize an exhibition of paintings by in 2010; The list is lengthened increasingly.

Artists also understand the process of working in a studio better than most academics. It’s foolish and elitist to dismiss what Cordero does as a non-conservative because he took an alternate route to get there.

But where do you draw the line? It’s easy enough to slander the self-proclaimed “conservatives” outside the world of the arts. In 2012, Choire Sicha wrote a stellar go down of all bloggers claiming to be “curators” in their publication, The punch. “This precious disguise of what people choose to share on the internet is, of course, silly, but it’s also a way for bloggers to distance themselves from the dirty blogging masses,” he wrote. “You are no different from a teenager from Indiana with a LiveJournal on the cut.”

“Being super aware of the overuse of the word over the last 15 years or so, I think then we started reintroducing it with some irony, and then of course we quickly forgot that there was supposed to be any. irony, then just decided it was a straight-up useful art term, “Sicha wrote to me recently, admitting that some of the headlines were” a little * eyebrow raised * “, but defending its application. to Kimberly Drew.

Drew is indeed an interesting case. In 2011, she launched a Tumblr titled “Contemporary black artWhich brings together images and information on art made by people of African descent. His popularity, in part, has earned him an influential position as Metropolitan Museum of Artsocial media manager of. Longtime Brooklyn AIR Gallery bestowed Drew with her first award as a feminist curator, despite the fact that she regularly takes no traditional curatorial responsibilities for brick and mortar exhibitions. In September she said Widely: “My thoughts on the word ‘curator’ haven’t changed much. It really is a word that speaks a lot more about “care” than anything else. I am definitely a conservative in that sense. No one ever said conservation care necessarily had to be limited to the real domain, not digital (and even Sicha seems to have come to accept and promote such alternative platforms and definitions).
In fact, online art exhibitions (and even the Tumblrs) are uniquely able to transcend some of the major problems of institutional exhibitions: they don’t fetishize any object, since the art on display is accessible to anyone with a connection. wifi, and they democratize the generally expensive process of finding suitable real estate to house the works. Since its launch in 1996, the New York-based organization Rhizome has become known for its digital art exhibitions. In January, the New Museum will honor the platform with its own physical presentation within institutional walls. Rhizome staff members Michael Connor and Aria Dean receive curatorial credits for their “care” of 16 works of.

Brian Droitcour, current Associate Editor at Art in America, previously contributed to the Rhizome website and curated online art exhibitions for the platform. For him, curating is still “setting up exhibitions in an institutional context, conducting research on works of art” and taking care of them. Yet he also thinks the heyday of star conservatives is over. Instead, the most interesting conversations today are about how institutions are run: how they deal with their employees and other administrative matters.

Droitcour mentions that the smaller alternative spaces are the ones that are making the most progress in this area. Instead of further glorifying individual personalities and that elusive and rarefied act of “caring” for objects, they focus on how to change the structures themselves. They are removing the curator from a questionable pedestal, not by broadening the term in wacky new directions, but by calling attention to bigger issues about the job. While such spaces facilitate exhibitions and new artistic commissions, public programming and awareness raising are just as integral part of their missions.

However, as long as the word is circulating, its application requires more vigilance. “To” keep the treasures ” Is means bringing them out into the world in a way that educates the public, ”Cameron said of his own understanding of what“ curator ”means. “I guess it has something to do with whether or not you see certain exhibitions as having a really vital educational imperative versus when they feel more of a part of a market driver.” In an ideal world, the term “curator” connotes a responsibility towards the public, and not towards the financial actors. The job is to share, not to hoard, to manage, not to sell things. Many people outside of institutional settings actively fulfill this role, which has very little to do with having a degree.

Yes, the word “curator” is overused, especially in a commercial sense. But there is much to be gained by expanding who we accept as curators in the art world. The broadening of the definition promotes a wider range of perspectives on what art can mean and to whom it is intended. Let’s continue to denounce the blatant abuses, you are do not a curator to name five different cannabis strains, for example, while accommodating more diversity in art exhibition spaces.

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