Monday, August 3, 2009

Class notes: Curatorial Process

Guest Speaker: Peter Ireland
  • Practising Artist since 1968
  • self taught
  • 1981-now 46 solo shows, 85 group shows approx.
  • work in lots of collections
  • has been freelance curating since 1974
  • photography writer/curator
  • published in various journals and magazines
  • currently in Te Papa Catalogue
  • writing book 'Loaded shots'
  • chooses to keep a low profile, however can be found on the web here, and here, and here.
Two Parts: Theoretical/Philosophical and Practical.

Past two decades has seen artists increasingly more involved in the curatorial process, fulltime artists have to curate, as well as practise, these days.
Art practise feeds curatorial practise which feeds the art practise.

Starting point/Hub:


The IDEA is very important.

Who is the show for? For you?
For your mates?
For arts professionals?
For the wider public?

Joe Public - someone from a small town with no art background needs to be considered as well as those from within the art world.

To be a successful exhibition it must be engaging.

If you show outside/above just "for you" it will show a level of unknow, where you will learn new things.Art is about what you don't know.

Arts Professionals - exhibitions aimed purely at this group often flop because they have no relations to Joe Public. Try not to exclude any viewers.

Modernism was about authenticity and originality, postmodernism is questioning those concepts.

Art - Art is either about a lot of things, or just about other art. 80% of contemporary art is only about other art. The 20% of contemporary art that is about a lot of things is the art that will most probably survive its own period.

Overly self referential art is generally not as successful.

Curator - Responsible for the idea - which should provoke thought in Art Professionals, whilst engaging Joe Public.

Don't get trapped in the institution.

Think rigorously, stay mentally alert, think outside the square!

There are different levels of engagement, theory is a galaxy of ideas, try to focus on one idea.

Theory- intellectualism - connotations.

Don't have to impress everyone/anyone. The artist's job is making good art.

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