Independent Curators International supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement.

Independent Curators International supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement.

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Talking Contemporary Curating




by Terry Smith
Edited by Kate Fowle, Leigh Markopoulos.
Preface by Kate Fowle, Terry Smith.
Published by ICI, Fall 2015
ISBN: 978-0-916365-90-5.

Talking Contemporary Curating is the second book in the PERSPECTIVES IN CURATING series, which offers timely reflections by curators, art historians, critics, and artists on emergent debates in curatorial practice around the world.

In Talking Contemporary Curating, Terry Smith is in conversation with 12 curators, art historians and theorists deeply immersed in reflecting upon the demands of their respective practices; the contexts of exhibition making; and the platforms through which art may be made public, including Zdenka Badovinac, Claire Bishop, Zoe Butt, Germano Celant, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Okwui Enwezor, Boris Groys, Jens Hoffmann, Mami Kataoka, Maria Lind, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Mari Carmen Ramírez.

“I don’t curate. I believe that I am more of a companion to the artist, as a person and as an art historian. I try to be both complicit and detached, which is a kind of contemporaneity, as you would call it, of differences.” — Germano Celant

“The postmodern museum is about pluralism, while the contemporary art museum is about taking a clear position, about breaking with the dominant interpretations of freedom, creativity, and democracy.”
— Zdenka Badovinac

“For me, if an exhibition, or the artworks it presents, question the fundamental issues related to our lives, or universal thinking, then this is more important than thinking about the method or type of exhibition.”
— Mami Kataoka

“The big question of the twenty-first century is how to foster collective action. In the age of the Internet, the potential to come to a shared engagement is there, so we ask, what would that mean in relation to display? Curating always follows art, so it is an exciting moment to be close to a new generation that oscillates between the analog and the digital.”
— Hans Ulrich Obrist

About Terry Smith
Terry Smith, FAHA, CIHA, is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2010 he was named the Australia Council Visual Arts Laureate, and won the Mather Award for art criticism conferred by the College Art Association (USA). During 2001-2002 he was a Getty Scholar at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, in 2007-8 the GlaxoSmithKlein Senior Fellow at the National Humanities Research Centre, Raleigh-Durham, and in 2014 Clark Fellow at the Clark Institute, Williamstown. From 1994-2001 he was Power Professor of Contemporary Art and Director of the Power Institute, Foundation for Art and Visual Culture, University of Sydney. In the 1970s he was a member of the Art & Language group (New York) and a founder of Union Media Services (Sydney). He is the author of a number of books, notably Making the Modern: Industry, Art and Design in America (University of Chicago Press, 1993); Transformations in Australian Art (Craftsman House, Sydney, 2002); The Architecture of Aftermath (University of Chicago Press, 2006), What is Contemporary Art? (University of Chicago Press, 2009), Contemporary Art: World Currents (Laurence King and Pearson/Prentice-Hall, 2011), and Thinking Contemporary Curating (Independent Curators International, New York, 2012). He is editor of many others including Antinomies of Art and Culture: Modernity, postmodernity and contemporaneity (with Nancy Condee and Okwui Enwezor, Duke University Press, 2008). A foundation Board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, he is currently a Board member of the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.