[iDC] media curating & production

Cynthia B Rubin cbrubin at risd.edu
Sat Aug 25 17:39:38 UTC 2007

Hi every one

In response to the dialogue on curators (Jerome and Joe):

First of all, I think that artist residencies are one of the best  
ways to get funding and resources to artists.  An artist residency  
can be more effective for the artist than cash, because a residency  
includes an institution that has a vested interest in seeing the work  
completed and publicized, and can support the artist in securing  
access to production resources.  As a vehicle for public funding, it  
can also be effective, because it is less vulnerable to be seen as a  
gift to an individual instead of an ongoing program to strengthen our  
cultural dialogue.

Nonetheless, I would be concerned about the role of curators in  
selecting artists for residencies and overseeing production.   
Curators have their own visions, and they want to see work produced  
that supports their theories.  These theories may be fantastically  
interesting and stimulating, but they are not necessarily the  
reflective of the full range of new directions in art.  If, as Jerome  
says, contemporary curators are  "the a creative node between artists  
and institutions' work force, framing and making these production  
happen with the artists and sometimes hundreds of other people..."  
then are we not in danger of turning artists into journeymen (journey- 
people) who merely produce work that is commissioned by powerful  
patrons?  Are we sacrificing autonomy? Original thinking?

On flip side, of course, is the argument that artists who do not  
listen to the advice of curators/patrons are in danger of loosing  
touch with the public completely.  This is an important consideration  
- and one that might be convincing were it not for the fact that the  
current curatorial direction seems to be a feeding frenzy centered on  
super-stars, and that many (not all) prefer artists with work that is  
easy to explain, favoring one-trick work over multi-faceted complexity.

How do we find the right balance?

Cynthia Beth Rubin

On Aug 25, 2007, at 8:00 AM, idc-request at mailman.thing.net wrote:

> essage: 2
> Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2007 01:01:29 -0500
> From: "Jerome Grand" <grandj at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [iDC] media curating lists as pedagogical,	exploratory
> 	and speculative texts
> To: subbies at redheadedstepchild.org
> Cc: idc at mailman.thing.net
> Message-ID:
> 	<3809114f0708242301g162002dfs7f8aaa48eacbaa66 at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
>> They are as much middlemen as curators.  Curators are not  
>> producing art, they
>> are producing information about art.
> In response to your idea that curators do not produce art but simply
> relate the information about it is a narrow view of the curatorial
> work and today's art production. Modes of production in the
> contemporary art world are becoming more and more elaborate. Many
> institutions do not only collect and mediate art, but engage in
> extensive production. (a big long list could be plugged in here).
> Museum's and art center's of all sort work directly with artists and
> commission pieces/projects that are 'not yet made.' For these 'not yet
> made,' institutions offer funding, space/sites, time, fabrication
> crews, and an active dialogue with the artists. The institutions
> define a frame for the artists to explore and allow the production of
> these projects/pieces. The contemporary art curator is (I'll try to
> state it simply but not grotesquely) the a creative node between
> artists and institutions' work force, framing and making these
> production happen with the artists and sometimes hundreds of other
> people...

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