Self reflection

Cardiff Metropolitan University Cardiff School of Art and Design

Bachelor of the Arts (Honours)

Fine Art

An evaluation of the position and influence of the curator, within a museum, on the relationship between artists and audiences.

After the draft hand in I definitely lost steam and found it difficult to return focus. I used this time to get on with Subject work, but I it did mean that I failed in producing or working towards a time plan. Fortunately, I found that I was able to rediscover the spark once we broke up for Christmas, and so much of the submitted dissertation was written during this time. It was even more fortunate that I was able to do a good amount during the holidays as I hit a few unfortunate, and unpredictable medical hurdles after returning to university. The key one being that I managed to break my elbow on the first day back! This meant that I was unable to use my right arm, making typing and writing exceedingly difficult. I would like to say that I am proud that I have been able to complete this dissertation, it is in my nature to believe that there are still aspects that could be added or improved upon, despite knowing that I really have produced my best work under the circumstances.

This is also a side-effect of such a large topic, which is why I decided to title it an “evaluation”. The dissertation attempts to cover the core of the relationships between curator, artist and audience but there are more complex aspects that I have not been able to adequately approach. It is therefore my desire that the discussions raised are continued forward in my own work as well as into the convocations that I have with other artists. The evaluation has, for me, highlighted a few issues with the art world -specifically the exclusivity and often elitist aspects -, while I may not change these individually I can use the knowledge I have gained to try and take this into consideration and give other curators and artists the opportunity to develop and improve.

I continued to use my complicated referencing system right into the last edit, and I am nervous that it is still incorrect despite revising the Harvard referencing system. My main wish was that the referencing would not interrupt the core text, but instead flow naturally from my writings to sources and back to text.

Other than these two concerns the whole experience has been fantastic, which I know maybe isn’t the common feeling. In all seriousness the research was incredibly insightful and has already filtered into my own work. I feel that I am now considering my practice from a much broader perspective, something I wish to continue to improve on. Furthermore, I have always enjoyed essay writing and so the dissertation has given my the opportunity to grow these skills, I have also not felt overly hindered by my dyslexia, something I suspect to be a result of being able to choose a topic that interests and excites me.

Bibliography Review

Books:

Alberro, A. and Stimson, B. 1999. Conceptual art: A critical anthology. (s.l.): MIT Press

Looking at the conceptual at the Conceptual art movement gave me more insights into how contemporary artists have been producing work. I was given a new perspective that filter through the dissertation; art is currently extremely inward looking, with an emphasis on art being for artists. Further to this is the idea that art is now production for the sake of production, this is something that I have previously considered but reading this source helped me to conclude that this is a problem for the art community, and could inevitably hinder the development of the art world.

George, A. 2015. The curator’s handbook: Museums, commercial galleries, independent spaces. United Kingdom: Thames & Hudson.

It was a very pivotal moment when I began to read from Adrian George’s handbook. Unfortunately I discovered it quite late, which meant that I had already cemented a skeptical and critical stance against the curator. This was based on Greenberg’s collection of essays as well as my own opinions that I brought to the dissertation even before I had started. Therefore George became my go to source for the curatorial perspective, as well as forcing me to re-evaluate much of my discussions in order to produce a more rounded evaluation of the relationship between the curator, artist and audience.

Greenberg, R. et al. 1996. Thinking about exhibitions. New York: Routledge.

Greenberg was one of the first books that I picked up when I began this journey, and has remained an important source as it includes multiple essays that explore different aspects of my topic. The essays were crucial to the forming of my position as they write positively of the position of the curator. However, there are aspects of scepticism such as Ramirez’s fear of the art world leading down a “blind alley”. It is now my opinion that this massively influenced how I first approached the dissertation, feeling that, as an artist, I should be defending artists. It was only upon further reading that I began to consider that there were problems with the artistic communities that affected everyone negatively. The key issue being the continuation of the exclusivity of the art world, despite hundreds of years of attempts to be more inclusive.

Honour, H. and Fleming, J.V. 2009. A world history of art. 7th ed. London: Laurence King Publishing.

McClellan, A. ed. 2003. Art and its publics: Museum studies at the millennium. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Art and its Public, coupled with The Social Production of art were very important in giving an audience perspective for the dissertation.

Smith, T. 2012. Thinking contemporary curating. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Independent Curators International

Wolff, J. 1993. The social production of art. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Macmillan Press Ltd.

As another of the first sources that I found for this dissertation it has naturally got significance in the development of my position. However it was more useful when writing the dissertation proposal rather that the final dissertation.

Websites:

A MANIFESTO FOR MUSEUMS building outstanding museums for the 21st century. (s.l.): (s.n.). Available at: http://www.nationalmuseums.org.uk/media/documents/publications/manifesto_for_museums.pdf [Accessed: 1 January 2017].

The manifesto is the first hand source to emphasise the core museum agenda, which has – and always should be – the improved education of the general public in order to surpass the society that the museum is placed amongst.

 BBC. 2015. Britain has a ‘hidden’ art collection worth £3.5bn. BBC Entertainment & Arts 4 September 2015. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-34150322 [Accessed: 12 January 2017]

Grant, D. 2010. Is an artist only appreciated after he dies? Huffington Post 25 May 2010. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-grant/is-an-artist-only-appreci_b_512932.html [Accessed: 14 December 2016].

I had wanted to try and rely mostly on reliable sources. Huffington Post, in my experience can be a little hit and miss in this respect but when I found this article it was just what I was looking for to help the discussion of the posthumous fame of many artists.

Miller, M.H. 2011. The straight story of the matter of Rothko [Online] Observer. Available at: http://observer.com/2011/08/the-straight-story-of-the-matter-of-rothko/ [Accessed: 23 February 2017].

I had known of this lawsuit previous to writing this dissertation, but this gave me the opportunity to read up on specific events. I only required this reference once but Rothko has played a major part in my contextualization for Subject this year and so it was useful to be able to utilise this information in the dissertation as well.

Museum and Galleries monthly visits. 2017. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/582879/Monthly_museums_November_2016_published_January_2017.csv/preview [Accessed: 14 January 2017]

An absolutely fassinating source! A very insightful set of data that highlighted something that I had previously only suspected. It is startling, as an artist, to see evidence that the audience for the art world is decreasing. I speculated that this was a result of political and worsening socioeconomic conditions but it could equally be a result of technology making art so easily available.

Музей одной картины им. Г.В. Мясникова. 2002. Available at: http://www.museum.ru/m1574 [Accessed: 9 January 2017].

A different method of curating from the familiar museums. Means that audiences have to engage with singular artworks rather than being bombarded by hugh numbers of pieces without fully appreciating any of them.

Schuessler, J. 2014. Shock me if you can. Arts 25 August 2014. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/arts/shock-me-if-you-can.html?pagewanted=all [Accessed: 23 February 2017]

S.G. 2014. Why artists make good curators [Online]. Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/why-artists-make-good-curators [Accessed: 1 January 2017]

The story. 2017 The 100 Years Show. Available at: http://www.the100yearsshow.com/the-story/ [Accessed: 22 February 2017].

I would like to include this documentary as both a source and a recommendation for anyone who has not seen it. Carmen Herrera is a delightful lady whose work, in my opinion, is inspiring. I will also be referring to her in my Subject work but her experiences within the elitist art world were also useful to reference in the dissertation. I do not think I will ever not be shocked that she was excluded from exhibitions by women, because of the fact that she was a woman! It is also reassuring that Herrera was able to find success at 94, therefore I am in no rush to becoming a major artistic influencer… but of course I will continue working towards the dream.

Dissertation feedback and reflection

Feedback:

“This discussion of the relationship between artist/curator is an interesting one and the research can certainly add something to the cannon, the idea that the artist can manipulate the curator or worse the other way around is a very interesting one and can make a huge difference to the way that art is disseminated or communicated, especially if the artist is deceased.”

“our referencing process seems overly complex…”

“there is a comprehensive bibliography here, but this may end up rather too long and worth a little reflection about which are your key texts here, and who are the key authors and thinkers in this field.”

 

Self-reflection:

My biggest fear with my dissertation was that it would not fit within other research, so hearing in feedback that it would contribute positively (if executed properly) has helped me to feel more confident moving forward.
I was aware that it was currently overcomplicating the referenceing system so that I know that I have referenced things and that ill be able to find it later, but I will definitely revise the Havard referencing system.

My biggest issue since the deadline has been continue at the pace that I was at, and so I need to refocus my efforts, especially as I now have weekends free to come into the library and focus on the writing of my dissertation. I was however, unaware that we still needed to be blogging alongside the writing of the dissertation and so will need guidance to get this restarted and to know what I need to be writing about.

My next plan is to write a brief time plan for the next few months inorder to help focus me towards the end goal as well as revisiting my bibliography to refine it better.

I really hope to do well on my dissertation as I have enjoyed the process so far, I know that I can produce a good level of work when I put my mind to it, which is why I believe a time plan will help me to achieve this. As well as having the confidence in what I am writing, which I feel has improved since this feedback.