Timing of the temporal dimension of exhibiting

Any autonomy of art is inconceivable without the concealing of labor.

Theodore Adorno

Only after the second world war and under the influence of industrial mass culture does it become apparent that art is not only work but also entails labor, and an overwhelming majority of art histories and philosophical aesthetics dedicated to this ‘post-modernism’ have been decrying this development as art’s infinite lapse, instead of taking it into account as art’s belated materialization  as potential force, not only an aesthetic facet but also a social component of contemporary capitalist reproduction. And it is exactly this economic and social leap from modernity into contemporaneity in artistic production , presentation, and distribution, in which the figure of the curator emerges as a new guardian of what is “Art”. p.16 ‘Cultures of the curatorial, Timing on the temporal dimension of exhibiting’


Within the newly established affinities between artistic labor and methods of industrial productions in the 1960s on the one hand, and the simultaneous implications of and identification with artistic practices into the expansion of the service industry of the other, the curators became service contractors just as much as the gallerists became industrialists. Discussing from a Marxian perspective, both began to occupy economic posts that secured the continuing identification of what became of art regardless of its changing attire and mass cultural appearance.



Intellectuals, are the thinkers who identify themselves with a subject endowed with a universal value so as to describe and analyze a situation or a condition from this point of view and to prescribe what ought to be done in order for this subject to realize itself, or at least in order its realization to progress.

The intellectuals  still do today; in their fight for justice they still use a universal subject victim as a tool for creating effect, for unifying various elements in society, for -an obviously misguided attempt at- populism.

The curator is faced with a similar problem when attempting to develop a clear political stance through the medium of exhibition making. It is either that he or she unifies and creates connections and links between the various works through some sort of universal subject entailing a victim, or he or of his narrative and thus of the construct of time itself, risking a slide  into the non-position and ethical vagueness of “unstuck time”. Of course, this is somewhat of an oversimplification tainted with a generalization, but the challenge of curating within the format of group exhibitions at this particular moment in history presents particular problems that are situated at the borderline between constructions of time, questions regarding the role of intellectuals, political positioning, and artistic autonomy.

In a sense, the question that the curating of contemporary group exhibition poses is: How not to be an intellectual while maintaining some form of universality?

How not to fall into the universal subject-victim and the community of will as a narrative that creates the links and ties between the various artworks and elements of the exhibition

And there is a second part

How not to be an intellectual while maintaining some sort of universality?

How not to fall into the universal subject-victim and the community of will as a narrative that creates the links and ties between the various artworks and elements of the exhibition?

It cannot be the aimless stargazing universality of the intellectual, at least the intellectual as Lyotard describes “they are thinkers who identify themselves with a subject endowed with a universal value so as to describe what ought to be done in order for this subject to realize itself, or at least in order for its realization to progress. p.86-90


The role of the curator

Artangel : James Lingwood. We are happy to operate in a somewhat undefined space that combines all of those. We commission artists, we produce their work, we try to work out how best to help realized the full potential of an idea.Maybe we’are curators, in the senses of looking after relationships, in not objects.

Perhaps one of the pre-eminent concerns of curatorial work is what happens when a work is placed in relation to others. We’re so involved in this idea of a relationship-between what an artist and their idea brings to a particular site or setting or situation, and what the latter offers to the artist. The New Curator, Beyond the white Cube, Lawrence King Publishing, p.16

“Curating is at best when it is sensibly addresses art’s political relevance with timeliness, as well as when it critically tackles, in way or another, the politics of sponsorship, purview and display. Those ideas I consider of curatorial exigency-and personally expect these to be  a modus operandi, rather than an exhibition topic”.Sofia Henrandez chong Cuy, The new curator, p. 67.


In late 1960’s were distinguished from early years by the appearance of organizers of contemporary art exhibitions working independently from mixed museums




Curator as networker

“curating has become a paradigmatic immaterial practice of biopolitical production. As a consequence of their tasks of managing subjectivities and social processes, curators are frequently forced to capitalize on their own emotive resources, personal ties and relationships. Hence, the neo-liberal perversions of friendship economies with their blurring of the boundaries between leisure and work as well as between friends and colleagues have provoked considerable criticism in the field (e.g. Verwoert 2011). Art historian and theorist Beti Žerovc, for instance, complains that the tendency of many curatorial studies programmes to ‘assist students in establishing such “VIP” connections’ and ‘meeting as many key figures as possible, building personal networks and acquaintances, etc.’ reproduces the status quo instead of enabling students to critically change the field (2007: n.pag.). Against the backdrop of an increasingly explicit biopolitical colonization of what used to be considered as private, and as a consequence of neo-liberal commodifications of subjectivities, the politics of the personal have become an urgent issue once again.”NANNE BUURMAN Freie Universität Berlin CCB with…: Displaying Curatorial Relationality in dOCUMENTA (13)’s The Logbook. Journal of Curatorial Studies Volume 5 Number 1 © 2016 Intellect Ltd Article. English language. doi: 10.1386/jcs.5.1.76_1

Despite the radically egalitarian ambition of Steyerl’s proposal, the ploy of turning oneself into an image seems to harmonize with capitalist imperatives of self-branding. Such reification of one’s self may also be associated with the celebrification of culture, which has been theorized by art theorist, critic and publisher Isabelle Graw with a particular focus on the objectification of artists in their self-stagings. Graw discusses how the replacement of the star by the celebrity exemplifies the biopolitical turn from an economic valorization of labour to that of life itself (2008a: 165–71, 220). The democratization of the celebrity logic and its expansion to other fields also corresponds with the increasing amount of time spent online, a consequent ‘dematerialization of the real’ (Fortunati 2007: 151) and the necessity to model digital alter-egos in order to be able to participate in the immaterial networked ‘second life’.

Adam Szymczyk : The curator

“We will also start publishing a magazine, which is the continuation of “South as a State of Mind,”founded by Marina Fokidis, who is now a member of the Documenta team. The first issue might be out by the beginning of October and four issues are planned in total. The editorial and the curatorial team of Documenta will be in a constant dialogue, the development of ideas for the magazine and the curatorial definition of the show will mutually influence each other”. Director Adam Szymczyk at http://www.dw.com/en/greece-crisis-draws-documenta-art-show-to-athens/a-18597081.

It is not a system error that happens here – the system itself is in a deep crisis. My approach is to leave the position of power, the authority as far as possible, and to go into the position of weakness, to practice solidarity and learn from it.Adam Szymczyk at http://www.zeit.de/kultur/kunst/2015-07/adam-szymczyk-athen-griechenland-documenta/komplettansicht

What does that mean for your work?

Szymczyk: It’s about trying to unlearn its privileges and not something to someone “teach” or even “help” to want. Specifically, I am not specifying any thematic framework for the exhibition, but rather invite the artists to Athens and Kassel, and encourage them to develop new works from the lived experiences in both cities.Adam Szymczyk at http://www.zeit.de/kultur/kunst/2015-07/adam-szymczyk-athen-griechenland-documenta/komplettansicht

said Peter Handschin, who served as president of the Kunstverein Basel from 2003-9. “He is like an artist himself so this is why his exhibitions are totally different than what you see in other institutions.” at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/14/arts/14iht-rartadam14.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

He is able to identify what is happening in the zeitgeist,” said Ms. Blazwick of Mr. Szymczyk’s choices, “to have his finger on the pulse and create the intellectual framework within which to understand it.”http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/14/arts/14iht-rartadam14.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Mr. Szymczyk said he sees his role of curator as someone who can create opportunities for artists who would not otherwise have the chance to make a show on such a grand scale. “I prefer to invite artists who bring their ideas into the Kunsthalle and I help them develop and materialize those ideas,” he said. “It’s an experiment because you do not know what the outcome will be.”http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/14/arts/14iht-rartadam14.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Nairy Baghramian, a Berlin-based artist, says that is the best part of working with him. “He is searching for a gentle dialogue between the artist and the curator,” she said. “Working with Adam, the ground under your feet is never secure. He produces a healthy little gray cloud of doubt.”http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/14/arts/14iht-rartadam14.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

“In his dedication to the untested,” said the panelists in a joint statement, “Adam Szymczyk has provided a critical framework for a generation of artists and curators.”http://www.e-flux.com/announcements/36097/adam-szymczyk-named-2011-recipient-of-the-walter-hopps-award-for-curatorial-achievement/

I guess there are going to be quite some interesting ones, and it’s the main theme of us working with these artists. Not so much the staging of an event. Adam Szymczyk & Elena Filipovic: This Is Berlin and It’s the Centre of the Artworld — Apparently. By: Lapp, Axel, Art Review, 17459303, April 2008, Issue 21

It is not so much, that having established themselves in the last four years in an economically void city, these spaces share an ethos or approach – though they do at times overlap; but more that in the absence of larger institutions (the National Museum of Contemporary Art remains closed; NEON is one of the few private foundations for cultural funding), they only have each other. The presence of like-sized, if not always likeminded, initiatives creates an informal network between peers, but as the market is elsewhere, this looks little like ‘networking’.LETTER FROM ATHENS Hypesterism :http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.bathspa.idm.oclc.org/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=6&sid=bb7a31ac-0be5-49a9-97ea-7515543db5c2%40sessionmgr107&hid=119(By: GREGORY, HANNAH. Art Monthly. Jun2016, Issue 397, p36-36. 3/4p.)

Documenta14 Athens: Interviews

Varoufakis interview



“The curatorial team was also introduced at yesterday’s conference. It includes Pierre Bal-Blanc, director of France’s Contemporary Art Center (CAC) Brétigny; Hendrik Folkerts, curator of performance, film and discursive programs at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum; Hila Peleg, founder and artistic director of the Berlin Documentary Forum, which examines film, photography, art and other contemporary cultural practices; Dieter Roelstraete, senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and Monika Szewczyk, visual arts program curator at the University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan

How curating took over the art world

While Documenta has always been difficult to preview because its lineup is traditionally kept vested until opening. p.67photo-on-03-12-2016-at-12-44

In her 2012 book, Artificial Hells: Participatory ARt and the politics of Spectatorship, critic Clair Bishop describes this 1990 social turn in art through the marked shift in vocabulary  it effected;’the artist is conceived less as an individual producer of discrete objects than as a collaborator and producer of situations; the work of art as finite, portable, commodiable product is reconceived as an ongong or long-term project with an unclear beginning and end; while the audience, previously conceived as a ‘viewer’ or ‘beholder’ is now repositioned as a co-producer or participant.p.59

What makes a great exhibition

img_3015By Paula Marincola, Editor: Philadelphia Exhibitions initiative : Philadelphia center for arts and heritage.Philadelphia, 2006.

“The job of the exhibition maker is to do all that can be done so that those decisions will be well informed, rooted in perception and, in a positive set, inconclusive. Granting the reader power equal to that of the author, and therefore should be heard, but who can no longer lay claim to absolute authority over”

This shift in balance between creator and audience is stayed by the exhibition-maker and hence itself is an act of mediation. The exhibition maker make the intervention transparent that is self-evident and expansion the meaning of the act.Robert Storr, Show and Tell. p.30


Preliminary events for complicated and abstruse curatorial pronouncements on world politics. And as general rule, they seem less engaged with considering the experience of individual viewers before specific works of out than with constructing a global profile.

Documenta is a fortunate byproduct of the Gold War, while on the other it was created from the need for postwar Germany to bring itself up to date with the evolution of modern and contemporary art and leave behind the painful excesses and omissions of Nazism.

You talking to me? On curating group shows that give you a chance to join the group. p. by Ralph Rugoff, 44-52.

Notes about Panofsky

Meaning in the Visual Arts: Views from the outside: A centennial commemoration of

Erwin Panofsky (18892-1986) Edited by Irving Lavin.

Panofsky’s 3 levels of meaning:

  1. The recognition of images arising from the subjectives basis of our everyday experience of our own persons and of the practical world. At this level a Last Supper might be thought to show a genre scene, perhaps the meeting of an eating club with a dispute over money. This is first level of interpretation
  2. Subjective basis of our own education or culture. If we know the Christian gospels, then we are in a position to recognize the Last Supper as a Last Supper
  3. Essential or documentary meaning, the subjective origin of which is our own world-view. This is the most problematical level of interpretation , which , as I have already said, would finally be called “iconological”. p.11-12 David Summers

For Panofsky, the deepest stylistic categories were in fact not simply “formal” but spatial, or spatiotemporal, analogous to the primary imaginative synthesis that constitutes our spatiotemporal world according to Kant and many after him. P

Questions for Interviewing Curators

1.How do you define yourselves – as curators, producers, collaborators?

-How you define your curatorial style

2. What is the arts landscape what you started work as curator..

3. How did you come to curating?

4. Is it difficult to obtain funding?

5.How works distributed around ? What experience do you hope the viewers have?

6. Do you draw a line between curator and artist, or artworks and social process?

7.How useful do you find terms like social engagement and relational aesthetics in describing the work that you do?

8. Is there a danger of instrumentalizing art?

9. How did you select artists? Were they practitioners you have worked with on a regular basis?

Interview with Marina Fokides: curator of Documents14 at:


Interview with Adam Szymczyk(director of Documenta 14) at  : http://www.lifo.gr/print/print_feature/117425



The New Curator


The New Curator [Researcher] [Commissioner][Keepr][Interpreter][producer][Collaborator]. Colin Milliard, Rafal Niemojewski, Ben Borthwick, Jonathan Watkns, Natasa Hoare : Laurence King Publishing.

Pontus Hulten  founding director : Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Los Angeles Museum of contemporary Art, the Kunst-und Aussstellungshalle in Bonn & Jean Tinguely Museum in Basel :

introduce the element of spectacle and redefine the profile of the museum

Harald Szeemann : director of kunsthalle Kassel, documenta in Kassel the independent exhibition maker , the hundred day event

H & S : respect and understanding the artist : the progenitors of  the contemporary curating.

The contemporary curator consists of making connections between its various constituencies and stakeholders such as artists, dealers, institutions and critics.

Artangel: James Lingwood and Michael Morris: arts commissioning bodies.

Jl: we’re curators in the senses of looking after relationships if not objects: What an artist and their idea brings to a particular site or setting or situation.

Fram Kitagawa ETAT (Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale) in Japan is different from biennales and triennales the fact that is rural.

Adam Sutherland-  Grizedale Arts (1999-) p.30 in Lake district.

“There is a desperate need to reform public life and services, and actually artists really be a key to that”

“It might sat curation is living life. What I was doing in community was art was relational aesthetics and social engagement.

Aesthetics come up on a monotonously regular basis, especially in the gallery and art world context. There is always the worry that any socially engaged project will look shit in the space.To me looks good if it works:function looks good. I find I am not really that interested in things that don’t work in a practical way. Function is my aesthetic”

Juliana Engberg Sydney Biennale (2014) p.38

I see art as having a very important role in shaping and reflecting the kind of society that we desire, and that we hope for.

  • I see my practice as being concerned with the three As: art, artists and audiences.


Katrina Brown – Our Surroundings 2005, Glascow.

Curators often start out with something to say, but then end up just filling buildigs.

Clark House Initiative in Mumbai

Rethinking the Biennale Model

The Biennale has arguably become the pre-eminent exhibition format of our time. Proliferating internationally, the biennale promises to bring international artists to bear on a local art scene, to up-end centre/periphery divides, and to attract tourism and investment. Detractors criticize the format for what is seen as dubious cultural politics, favouring of large-scale and spectacular artworks, the use of the same blue-chip artists and, despite the rhetoric, a failure to connect with local audiences.

Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy  BIENAL

9 Bienal do Mercosul Brasil : ‘Weather Permitting’ The Bienal sought to examine artists’ability to take the uncontrolled or unpredictable as their subject, meditating on the complexities of nature and culture, and the interaction between them.

Laying for something to happen : curatorial signature

Curating is at its best when it sensibly addresses art’s political relevance with timeliness, as well as when it critically tackles, in one way or another, the politics of sponsorship, purview and display .

  • I see my practice as being concerned with the three As: art, artists and audiences.

The collaboration is successful ? if it means that the collaboration between artist and participating industries, universities and civic groups had a productive outcome, as in the fact that an artwork was collaboratively created, then the programme was quite successful.

An art exhibition is good in so far as it invites you to experience an uncommon feeling, as well as grant you a new perspective on something that matters. And if you didn’t care about that issue before, but come out with an interest, that’s the exhibition’s particular contribution. 

Chus Martinez : Documenta13

The closeness with the artist draw her to curating.I’m not a curator if curating in more traditional sense is preoccupied by the life of institutions and matters of display. What is essential is the interaction between artist practising today and how different knowledges come and meet in the artistic field not only art but science, thinking about nature.


Curating’s beginnings did not emerge out of political movements or social movements, yet curating is part of (critically addressing) the politics of how art and culture are produced, shown, mediated, analysed, and made public. Curating cannot be understood without the concrete historical conditions of which they are a part.