Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Curating with Kat
I am in the last throes of curating a show, with my friend and alarmingly tireless compatriot Kat Hodges. It is the first show of the season here at RISD, in the still relatively brand-spankin' new Chace Center Wing of the Museum, designed by José Rafael Moneo. it is modestly titled This is a Show About Rock and Roll. I have been doing nothing but work on the show, so I've been thinking a lot about the process of curating.
At it's worst, curating is a giant to-do list, a nagging and never-ending monster. It doesn't allow for down-time; it is a breakfast meeting that turns into a dinner meeting. It is shifting deadlines and panicky phone calls. It is endless editing.
At its best, curating is an endless thought, a great huge swirling conversation. Our conversations with all the artists shows me how the show's concept can expand, become richer, more complex, and more significant. If I am smart enough, I can let them be shift and be far-reaching in their scope, while quietly guiding them and encouraging them. The work that all the artists have been making for the show is so exciting that encouraging them is easy like Sunday Morning.
For moral support, I have been reading and re-reading Mike Kelley's famous essay from the exhibition catalogue that accompanied his show "The Uncanny." I highly recommend it to any artist taking on the role of curator, or examining what the idea of curation means to them.
A little support from the school doesn't hurt, either. Actually, it feels great:
All we do is work on it. But it will be so good.
This is a Show About Rock and Roll opens on September 24th at the Chace Center.