Book Launch: The Curatorial Conundrum, What to Study? What to Research? What to Practice?

23 September 2016 6pm

Mercer Union is delighted to host a publication launch for The Curatorial Conundrum, What to Study? What to Research? What to Practice?, edited by Paul O’NeillMick Wilson and Lucy Steeds and published by The MIT Press, on Friday 23 September at 6:30PM with special guest Paul O’Neill.


Today curators are sometimes more famous than the artists whose work they curate, and curatorship involves more than choosing objects for an exhibition. The expansion of the curatorial field in recent decades has raised questions about exhibition-making itself and the politics of production, display, and distribution. The Curatorial Conundrum looks at the burgeoning field of curatorship and tries to imagine its future. Indeed, practitioners and theorists consider a variety of futures: the future of curatorial education; the future of curatorial research; the future of curatorial and artistic practice; and the institutions that will make these other futures possible.

The contributors examine the proliferation of graduate programs in curatorial studies over the last twenty years, and consider what can be taught without giving up what is precisely curatorial, within the ever-expanding parameters of curatorial practice in recent times. They discuss curating as collaborative research, asking what happens when exhibition operates as a mode of research in its own right. They explore curatorial practice as an exercise in questioning the world around us; and they speculate about what it will take to build new, innovative, and progressive curatorial research institutions.

Nancy Adajania, Mélanie Bouteloup, Nikita Yingqian Cai, Luis Camnitzer, Eddie Chambers, Zasha Cerizza Colah, Galit Eilat, Liam Gillick, Koyo Kouoh, Miguel A. López, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Paul O’Neill, Tobias Ostrander, João Ribas, Sarah Rifky, Sumesh Sharma, Simon Sheikh, Lucy Steeds, Jeannine Tang, David The, Jelena Vesić & Vladimir Jerić Vlidi, What, How & for Whom/WHW, Mick Wilson and Vivian Ziherl.

Co-published with the Center for Curatorial Studies Bard College/Luma Foundation

About the Editors

Paul O’Neill is a curator, artist, and writer who has curated or co-curated more than fifty projects. He is currently Director of the Graduate Program at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.

Mick Wilson, an educator, researcher, artist, and writer, is Head of the Valand Academy of Arts, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Lucy Steeds is a writer and teacher specialized in exhibitions of contemporary art. The editor of Exhibition (in the Documents of Contemporary Art series, MIT Press) she is Pathway Leader in Exhibition Studies at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.

This is presented in partnership with the MVS Proseminar at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto.

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