This book about the ever-evolving and relevant profession will help the reader understand the curator’s role in the world of contemporary art.
In April, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in collaboration with Ad Marginem Press launches the new Garage Pro book series. The series, which looks into working in arts and culture today, will feature texts by curators, critics, art practitioners and theorists from around the world. One of the central subjects in Garage Pro is contemporary curating – a fast developing field and a profession increasingly in demand within the culture industry.
The series will open with Terry Smith’s Thinking Contemporary Curating. In this text, the well-known American art critic and theorist discusses curating as an independent discipline of increasing global importance, and its influence on today’s art world. In particular, Smith looks into various forms of contemporary curating and the specificity of curatorial thinking.
The notion of curating is still commonly associated with museum space. However, as Terry Smith points out, in the last decade the idea of curating and its possible objects has changed. Curatorial practice is no longer limited to exhibition spaces, and a curator is no longer only a person who prepares exhibitions. Figures like Harald Szeemann, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, and Walter Hopps have shifted the paradigm: constructing concepts, discovering new ideas and analyzing connections, curators are becoming mediators between artist and spectator, offering their informed vision of contemporary art and its place in the world.
At the same time, the boundaries between curating and artistic practice or curating and art criticism remain undefined. Terry Smith devotes a whole chapter to the similarities between these occupations: all of them can and do overlap. However, what matters most are the differences between them. Discussing successful exhibition projects, Smith explains how curating can shed new light on the forgotten past, identify the most important contemporary trends and raise the most urgent questions of today. It is precisely the insights into real curatorial projects that distinguish Smith’s text from other works on the subject: innovative curating of collections and historical monuments; curator’s role in forming a collection; curating publications and education programmes – these are just some of the challenges and issues studied in the book.
In its five chapters Thinking Contemporary Curating provides a thorough and clear analysis of what it means to be a curator today, and how one can work with the present context connecting it to the past, and extending it into the future. Although it certainly does not give answers to all the questions, the book provides a wonderful opportunity to take a closer look at curatorial practice and its development.
The book launch at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art will take place on April 28, and will be accompanied by a discussion with the author.