Art Exhibition Class

Exhibition Planning &
Gallery Management

Philosophies of Curating > Independent Study



PHILOSOPHIES OF CURATING First Wave 1800-1960: Curator / Exhibition SecondWave1960-1980: Situation Investigator Third Wave1990s-Present: Dramaturgical Orchestration
Question Why is it Modern? Why is it Contemporary? Why is it relevant? 
Method Singular Vision and Permanent Collections Inderdisciplinary Dialog and Travleing Exhibitions Collaborative working program / Transcultural Circulation
Vision Optical Experience Haptic Experience Immersive Experience
Theory Content Driven Context Focused Hyper Self-reflexive 
Narrative Mono-Cultural Narrative Multicultural Narrative Transcultural Narrative
Direction Authorial Presence Exhibtion Auteur Mediator Production Designer
Space Abstract Space Negotiated Space Contested Space
Power Departmental Roles Expanded Roles New Ever-Expanded Roles
Politic Unitary Narrative Intertextual Play, Participation and Experimentation Multi-layered Complexities / Open-Ended
Dialectic Counterfeit / Original Conflict / (Re)Semblance Continuity / Assemblage


Primary Dialectic: Thesis: Discrete Experience / Anti-Thesis: Directed Experience / Synthesis: Open Experience


Waves of Pyscho-socio-cultural Development: Fowler (Stages of Faith - Temple, Church, Museum)

Two Dialetic Triads: Thesis, Anti-Thesis and Synthesis, 4th Wave becomes a new first wave.

Curatorial Design: First Wave Wave: Guradians, Magical | Second Wave: Keepers, Mythical-Literal | Third Wave: Curators, Conventional | Fourth Wave: Exhbition Makers/Star Curators, Individuative-Reflective | 

Philosophies of Curation: First Wave: Exhbition Makers/Star Curators, Individuative-Reflective | Second Wave: Situation Instigator, Conjuction | Third Wave: Dramaturgical Orchestrator: Univeralizing Commonwealth | Fourth Wave: Transcuratorial Operator, Super-Integral



Demystification of the curatorial role since the 60s as a project of the avant-garde.


First Wave 1800-1960: Curator / Exhibition

Fredrick Kiesler’s Exhibition of a New Theater Technique 1924

Lissitzky’s Abstract Cabinet. Made in 1927-28

Duchamp’s Mile of String 1942



Primacy of the curator-as-author during the 70s and 80s.

Encouraging the viewer to become an active agent

Made the viewer a proactive reader-in-the-text

Meaning being located the point of reception

Making the exhibition both bounded and spatially active

Integrated new methods of design that were mobile, interchangeable, and flexible that challenged the structure of permanent collections, the abstract space of the gallery and commercial models of design and display the world over.


SecondWave1960-1980: Situation Investigator

Lucio Fontana Ambient Nero 49’ (Light and Space)

Richard Hamilton, An Exhibit 57’ (Installation)

Yves Klien, Le Vide, 1958 (The Specialization of Sensibility in the Raw Material State into a Stabilized Pictorial Sensibility, The Void, displayed at the Iris Clert Gallery, Paris France. (Conceptual art)

Gutai Group 57’

Arman, Le Plein, (To fill up) 1958

Allan Kaprow, Happenings 1959-60 (Happenings)

Claes Oldenberg, The Store, 1961-62 (Pop Art) 

Helio Oiticica, The Grand Nucleus 60-69 (Neo-Concretism)



Consolidation of the role of the curator as being centered on discourse (and the educational ‘turn’) from the 90s to the present, i.e., the beginning of curatorial studies.

Redesign of the museum to include more social elements became increasingly common.

Integrated design and communication networks that reference popular culture, graphics, product design and fashion become accepted elements of artistic practice.

The period of Demystification sets the stage for the dematerialization of the art object during postmodernism and begins the transition toward the belief that art should directly intervene in life.


Third Wave1990s-Present: Dramaturgical Orchestration

Harold Seezman, When Atittudes becomes Form, The Museum of Obsessions, Agency for Spiritual Migrant Work, Documenta 5, Venice Biennial (1980)

Lucy Lippard, Eccentric Abstraction, Numbers Shows: 1969-1974, Six Years, Mixed Blessings

Germano Celant, Italian Art: 1900-1954, Italian Metamorphosis: 1943-1968, First Biennal della Moda in Florence Ars Multiplicata

Seth Seigelaub, Seth Siegelaub Contemporary Art (Happenings), The Xerox Book, January  5-31, 1969, Developed the Artist’s Rights Transfer Sale Agreement, Stiching Egress Foundation, founder

Nichols Bourriaud, “The Great Acceleration,” Taipei Biennial, (2014), "CookBook," Palais des Beaux-arts, Paris, (2013), "The Angel of History," Palais des Beaux-arts, Paris, (2013), "Monodrome," Athens Biennial, (2011), "Altermodern," Tate Triennial, (2009), "Estratos," 1st Murcia Project for Contemporary Art, (2008), “Footnotes,” Moscow Biennale, (2007), "Are you Experienced?" Pescara, Budapest, Bucarest (2006-2007), with Paolo Falcone, “Nuit Blanche,” Palais de Tokyo (2006), with Jerome Sans, “Experiencing Duration,” Lyon Biennale, (2005), with Jerome Sans.
First Moscow Biennale, (2005), with Rosa Martinez, Daniel Birnbaum, Joseph Backstein, H.U. Obrist, and I. Boubnova, "Playlist," Palais de Tokyo, (2004), "GNS / Global Navigation System," Palais de Tokyo, (2003), "Touch," San Francisco Art Institute, (2002), "Contacts" Kunsthalle Fri-Art, Fribourg, Switzerland, (2000), "Le Capital" CRAC Sete, (1999), "Joint Ventures" Basilico gallery, New York, (1996), "Traffic" Capc Bordeaux, (1996).
“Commerce” Espace St Nicolas, Paris, (1994), The Aperto, Venice Biennale, (1993), Unmoving short movies, Venice Biennale, (1990).

Nato Thompson, The Creative Time Summit (2009–2015), Pedro Reyes’ Doomocracy (2016), Kara Walker’s A Subtlety (2014) , Living as Form (2011), Trevor Paglen’s The Last Pictures (2012), Paul Ramírez Jonas’s Key to the City (2010), Jeremy Deller’s It is What it is (2009, with New Museum curators Laura Hoptman and Amy Mackie), Democracy in America: The National Campaign (2008), Paul Chan’s Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007), The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere (2004).

Claire Bishop: Artificial Hells

Double Agent. London: ICA, 2009





Week 1

Talking Contemporary Curating.

By Terry Smith, Kate Fowle, Leigh Markopoulos, and Claire Bishop.

[  ] The Discourse. By Terry Smith


Week 2

The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s). By Paul O’neil

[  ] Chapter 1: The Emergence of Curatorial Discourse from the 1960s to the Present


Week 3

Naming a Practice: Curatorial Strategies for the Future

Edited by Peter White

[  ] Chapter 1: The Past of Our Practice: A Note on the 1960s. By Scott Watson

[  ]  Chapter 9: Between Zones, Spaces, and Sites: A Methodology of Curating


Week 4

What to Study? What to Research? What to Practice?

[  ] On the Case of Curatorial History. By Jeannine Tang

[  ] An Autodidact’s Practice: Investigating the Reserves of the Curatorial Moment. By Nancy Adajania

[  ] In Search of a Flashlight: The Intimate Politics of the Curatorial. By Vivian Ziherl


Week 5

What to Study? What to Research? What to Practice?

[  ] Curating and Futurity. By Simon Sheikh

[  ] The Incomplete Curator: A.K.A. Fighting the Delinated Field. By Liam Gillick.


Week 6

Thinking Contemporary Curating

By Terry Smith

[  ] Chapter 1: What is Contemporary Curatorial Thought?

[  [ Chapter 5: Curatorial Practice Now.


Week 7

Curating in the 21st Century

Edited by Gavin Wade

[  ] Curating in a Changing Climate. By Teresa Gleadowe


Week 8

Cautionary Tales: Critical Curating

Edited by Steven Rand and Heather Kouris

[  ] Chapter 2: Who cares? Understanding the Role of the Curator Today. By Kate Fowle

[  ] Chapter 7: Why Curators Matter. By David Carrier

[  ] Chapter 8: Buea Monde: :Upon Reflection


Week 9

Talking Contemporary Curating

Edited by Terry Smith

[  ] Curating as Medium: Hans Ulrich Obrist


Week 10

The Curatorial: A Philosophy of Curating.

By Jean-Peal Martinon.

[  ] Chapter 2: Theses in the Philosophy of Curating. By Jean-Peal Martinon.


Week 11

The Curatorial: A Philosophy of Curating.

By Jean-Peal Martinon.

[  ] Chapter 7: Becoming-Curator. By Suzana Milevska

[  ] Chapter 12: Three short Takes on the Curatorial. By Doreen Mende


Week 12

Curating Now: Imaginative Practice/Public Responsibility.

By Kathy Halbreich, Dave Hickey, Paula Marincola, Robert Storr and Marian A. Godfrey.

[  ] How We Do What We Do. And How We Don’t. By Robert Storr


Week 13

On Curating: Interviews with Ten International Curators.

By Carolee Thea, Thomas Micchelli and Hans Ulrich Obrist.

[  ] Okwui Enwezor. Interview 2003


Week 14

Talking Contemporary Curating.

By Terry Smith, Kate Fowle, Leigh Markopoulos, and Claire Bishop.

[  ] World Platforms, Exhbiting Adjacency, and the Surplus Value of Art. By Okwui Enwezor



Study Guide: Philosophies of Curating

Psychosoical Stages Fowler's Stages Energent Strength and Virtue of Each Stage Conversion giving rise to the recapitulation of previous stages
Era of Infancy to Childhood: Ward / Servant of State Power

State Curator

Trust / Mistrust

Autonomy /Shame-doubt

Mutuality, trust, and pre-images of the ground of being / culture;  Rise of the curatorial / colonial imagination; collecting images of numinous and an ultimate environment (State and Culture: Universal Museum) Reconstitution of pre-imags of the Ground of Being / culture; Re-establishing or deepening of basic trust through preservation and achivization

Era of Adolescence: Defined goals within industry about artistic autonomy

Exhibition Curator: 

Initiative / Guilt 

Industry / Inferiority

The rise of narrative and the forming of stories of faith / developmental teleologies of modern art; exhibition-auetur; (Capital and culture: Modern Museum)

New stories, a new people, new communities of faith in Modernism, new styles (Isms) 
First Adult Era: Socio-ethico autonomous vision as curatorial practice

Situation Instigator: 

Indentity / Role confusion

Intimacy / Isolation

The forming of identity and the shaping of personal faith/practice; Focus on the reflective construction of ideology; formation of a vocational disposition based on collaborative curating and interdiscipinary dialog (Culture wars: Postmodern Museum)

New vocational horizon, new theology/belief: Postmodernism, Identity politics, institutional critique, New genres

Middle-Late Adult Era: Performative and connective actions in the field of cultural exchange

Dramaturgical Coordinator: 

Generativity / Stagnation

Integrity / despair

Paradox, depth and intertergenerational responsibility for the world based on transcultural circulation and understanding (Cultural Divide: Platform Musuem)  New quality of partnership with Being and for the world; Pluralism, cultural translation, ethics of engagement 




Psychosoical Stages: Levinson & Erik H. Erikson Fowler's Stages Energent Strength and Virtue of Each Stage Conversion giving rise to the recapitulation of previous stages

Era of Infancy and Chlidhood: Trust / Mistrust

Autonomy /Shame-doubt

Unidfferentiated Faith (Infancy) - Intuitive Projective (early childhood) Infancy: Mutuality, trust, and pre-images of the ground of being / Early Early chilhood: Rise of the imagination; formation of images of numinous and an Ultimate environment Reconstitution of pre-images of Ground of Being; Re-establishing or deepening of basic trust

Era of Adolescence: Initiative / Guilt 

Industry / Inferiority

Myhtic-Literal (school years) Childhood: The rise of narrative and the forming of stories of faith Transformed primal images of Numinous and Ultimate Environment

First Adult Era: Indentity / Role confusion

Intimacy / Isolation

Synthetic-Conventional (adolescence) Adolescence: The forming of identity and the shaping of personal faith New Stories, a new people, new community of faith
Middle Adult: Generativity / Stagnation Individuative-Reflective (young adulthood) Young adulthood: Reflective construction of ideology; formation of a vocational dream

New vocational horizon, new theology

Late Adult Era: Integrity / despair Conjunutive faith (mid-life and beyond) Adulthood: Paradox, depth and intertergenerational responsibility for the world New quality of partnership with Being and for the world
Maturation / Consummation: Wisdom / dogma Universalizing faith Old Age: Integral perspective and supera-integral eperience Being both of and for the world



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