I was talking with a friend. He is a designer, writer and theorist of communication. He does not do logos, he works in avant-garde advertising, he pays the bills.
“Is it possible that curators could only practise in an institutional way only if employed in a museum, foundation, kunsthalle and so on?” – this was the question he was moving.
Nice one. I can’t answer.
I frequently tend to think ad absurdum. Pushing the limits of the subject over the reasonable line. That question drove me mad. I confess I tried to formulate several answers.
Here is a funny one: the gallery should be fluid. The gallery should represent curators, writers, thinkers, composers. No stakes on sales, no fees on commissions, no guidance on the curatorial line, just identity affinity to a certain reflection, research and practice. In that way the gallery may work for the curators’ benefit, providing exhibitions to work on, catalogues to write in, panels to moderate and so on. Curators could work with gallery artists within the gallery walls without any conflict of interest. They could also freelance for institutions and magazines.
I am thinking about this model while having a couch chatting with my friend, so please take it into your consideration.
I am not an institutional curator or writer.
In a world in which every gesture can become political, in which a curator is fired from its institutional position “for featuring Jewish-Polish relations too prominently, promoting the “culture of shame” rather than Polish self-respect”, it is necessary to reflect on what curating means. And “reflecting” does not necessarily means writing academic papers, longform articles, apologetic essays and so on.
We do need tangible statements and institutional support to avoid the bias of curatorial omni-presence and auto-referentiality.
There’s no need to dictate a general manifesto, neither is important to blindly protect the curatorial activity from the commercial sector. We do not need curatorial integralism.
No moral conclusion. Not giving anyone any good lecture here.