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Tuesday 02.24.15

« Opportunities | Main | Populist Visionaries: Finster and Abernathy »

Tuesday curatorial links

David Salle discusses the much disliked The Forever Now at MoMA. He is right that forever and now are two terrible words in show titles but I still feel that much of the ire stems from the use of "Atemporal". Look, painters are always loosely using the history of painting in paintings... it isn't new and it isn't special to now. The Great drummer Buddy Rich said it best, "everyone borrows, the great ones steal." Of the whole lot I think Mark Grotjahn has something going on as do Mehretu and Sillman (where is Tomma Abts?).... many of the others, not so much.

Reports for the New Museum's under 35 triennial are filtering in here and there. These massive group shows are almost always inherently disappointing but the focus on non commodity zeitgeist art makes sense. Unless you can take viewers a little off balance, instead of what they are familiar/comfortable with these kinds of shows fail. Art isn't for understanding what you know (or who), it is for experiencing aspects of what you hadn't considered. Though it is true that the way things are installed become even more important... a digitally connected world makes everything available instantly so the way art venues present things thoughtfully has become an ever more valued respite. I call it, "a considered zone," where art is given the space and context to contrast with the way we usually take in information and experiences. Having a guest curator makes it fresh but it also makes it hard to install well or feel like some internet feed but I think the New Museum got something right here, a sense of discovery.

OPB spoke to 4 of the many voices in regards to the Portland Art Museum's next Modern and Contemporary Curator. The real trick will be finding someone whose strong eye and leadership is incisive enough to move the contemporary and modern art discussion into the open here, rather than a series of feints or something that devolves into an insiders "closed" club. Oregonians care about the strength of a curator's convictions "in the open" and it is where Bruce Guenther excelled because he captured people's imaginations when he spoke. [Yes my piece is still coming. It is written and the partially completed coding is an enormous task I want to get right and not rush. I'll push that one out into the world sometime soon... I've bee making arrangements for PORT's 10 year anniversary in June].

Hyperallergic notices the main problem that plagues Disjecta's programming... group shows (and all but maybe 3 solo shows), curated by a revolving cast of curators generally fail or achieve a critical mass because they aren't tailored well. Spaces like that require a comprehensive approach and most curators simply do not know how to handle the scale or have the planning time, perceptive restraint or budget to let the art clear its throat. I think it is good to be aspirational and they have been improving but their learning curve is somewhat slow on the execution side and it doesn't help not having a full time in house curator because most typically take 1.5-2 years to learn how to use a space and develop a cogent program that generates off its own momentum for the community and institution.

Overall, any institution without a curatorial vision/program is often fated to repeat itself and though some institutions have tried to forgo having a curator I haven't seen one that was the better for having made that decision.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 24, 2015 at 11:22 | Comments (0)


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