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Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum / Independent Curators International Announce The Critical Edge of Curating Symposium

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum / Independent Curators International presents The Critical Edge of Curating a daylong international symposium organized in conjunction with the exhibition Maurizio Cattelan: All on Friday, November 4, 2011, 2–7 pm.

Curators and artists from around the world discuss critical issues in their practice today, examining the possible impact of exhibitions and related curatorial activities on cultural and social change. Key questions will be addressed as points of departure for a broader theoretical and practical analysis of the field, through conversation amongst colleagues from various institutions and alternative spaces, as well as those working independently.

Maurizio Cattelan, “Novecento,” 1997. Taxidermied horse, leather saddle, rope, and pulley, 201.2 x 271.3 x 68.6 cm. © Maurizio Cattelan. Photo: Paolo Pellion di Persano, courtesy the artist.

Speakers include: Ute Meta Bauer (MIT); Shelley Bernstein (Brooklyn Museum); Suzanne Cotter (Abu Dhabi Project, Guggenheim Museum); Tom Eccles (Center for Curatorial Studies); Tom Finkelpearl (Queens Museum of Art); Eungie Joo (New Museum); Weng Choy Lee (School of the Art Institute of Chicago); Chus Martinez (Documenta 13); Rodrigo Moura (Inhotim); Hans Ulrich Obrist (Serpentine Gallery); Yasmil Raymond (Dia Art Foundation); Ralph Rugoff (Hayward Gallery); Christine Tohme (Ashkal Alwan); Anton Vidokle (e-flux); and more.

Co-organized by Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and curator of Maurizio Cattelan: All, and Kate Fowle, Executive Director, Independent Curators International (ICI).

Discussion topics include:

End Results
For many curators and artists working today, the exhibition no longer serves as the culminating manifestation of their work. For some, it is merely one step along a trajectory of research and planning. For others it has become an entirely dispensable model. This discussion will focus on alternative modes of curatorial activity and the expanded notion of what constitutes an exhibition.

Authorship and Agency
As the relationship between artist and curator increasingly blurs, the notion of authorship comes to the fore. This discussion will address the question of curatorial agency in an expanded field of production, by looking at the shifting distinctions between facilitation and the creative process. It will also examine the role of the audience in determining content for a time newly dominated by social media.

In a world of global cultural flows, does the art-historical notion of site-specificity (as it developed in the post-Minimalist practices of the 1960s and ’70s) still resonate, or is it now just a nostalgic attachment to place? This discussion will focus on different modes of “specificity” in use today, including art created in relation to social and political contexts, as well as art adapted to museum architecture, and art situated in an expanded public realm.

Curating as Activism; the Social Responsibility of the Museum
The intersection of global cultural activity (including the building of new museums and emerging biennial models) with the political realities encountered around the world today, raises issues of social responsibility. This discussion will ask whether curatorial practice can have meaningful social or political impact, as well as what the responsibility of the curator and the museum should be to address and/or ameliorate injustice. It will also examine whether art itself can be a transformative force.

Transnational Currents
With the recent emergence of transnationality as an intellectual framework to rethink the concept of globalization and regional-specific studies, the question arises in both the academy and museum, whether the term applies to actual art production or whether it is merely a discursive model for interpretation. This discussion will ask what it means to curate a transnational exhibition in a world of shifting geo-political, cultural, and social realities.

The program is followed by a reception that includes a viewing of Maurizio Cattelan: All.

For tickets and information visit or call 212 423 3587. Students are FREE with a valid ID and RSVP (limited availability).

Program is subject to change.

The Leadership Committee for Maurizio Cattelan: All is gratefully acknowledged.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
5th Ave at 89th St
New York City

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