From art biennials to restaurant menus, a widening swath of contemporary culture seems to involve, even require, the hand of a curator. So what exactly does it mean to BE a curator? How and why did this activity develop into a profession and from a profession into a trend? Where did the role of curator originate and how has it evolved over time? To answer these questions, this class will examine the cultural roots of collection and display, focusing on private acquisition strategies such as the Wunderkammer, mass spectacles such as the World’s Fair, and legendary “shock” exhibitions such as the Armory Show of 1913. Our tracing of the lineage of curatorial practice will consider the economic and political contexts for historical developments as well as the role of technology, especially today, in understanding our need for “curated” experience and identifying the deeper potential for the curator, as a cultural producer, in the global art world.
Short writing assignments; midterm and final exams.