I saved 20 kronor (about two pounds) and an inevitable sense of disappointment by not dashing out to buy a copy of Uppsala Times last Saturday. The article about the group show appeared only in the online version of the paper. As I do not subscribe I have not seen the article however I will ask one of the show’s curators for their press-release which they said was basically reproduced as the article!
The show has lead me to reflect on my understanding of curating. Over the past week various thoughts have risen to the surface … I am aware that some other as yet unformed things remain in the depths – where they may well stay, or they may acquire the shape and energy to make their way towards the light. Speaking with a couple of artist friends helped.
One of the things that interests me about working with curators is the intellectual framework(s) that they bring – particularly to group shows. Through their selection of both artists and artworks they are able to enrich what might otherwise be a rather flat experience. The best curators draw out what is always already there and make it really sing. The skill set for doing this is vast, and is something that is acquired through concerted effort.
My expectations of a curator are considerably different to those of an organiser. And this is where I am struggling with the Adelante show. The show has certainly been organised but I find it difficult to say that the show has been curated. On the show poster is says ’curated by …’ and this unsettles me. I think that it does everyone, not least the artists claiming to have done the curating, a disservice. ’Organised by … ’ or possibly ’produced by …’ would sit a lot more comfortably with me. I have nothing against being in a well organised show.
What I find difficult and uncomfortable is being involved in things (artistic or other wise) that are one thing while claiming to be another. There is nothing that I can do to change the current situation, my question to myself is about what I do in the future. Maybe I do not need to actually do anything until the future arrives. Maybe it is enough to be aware of how I feel and learn from it. Learn to be more critical and more questioning from the outset. Learn to trust my judgements. Maybe it is better to commit to that than to try to make decisions about as yet unknown situations.
There was mention of a group meeting over the summer. It will be interesting to see what is on the agenda. I need to have the courage of my convictions and raise the question of working with external curators. It will be interesting to have a proper discussion about that, and it will allow me to tackle some of my frustrations with the current show in an indirect way – which is more appropriate than making direct criticism.
I do not think that I necessarily have to know what something is to apprecaite it … but maybe I need to recognise what something is to appreciate it …