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Cautionary Tales: Critical Curating

With essays by: Sara Arrhenius, David Carrier, Kate Fowle, Boris Groys, Dave Hickey, Geeta Kapur, Young Chul Lee, David Levi Strauss, Jean-Hubert Martin, Andras Szanto

Edited by Steven Rand and Heather Kouris
published by apexart
ISBN: 1-933347-10-4
paperback, 128 pages
Release date: April 2007


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Cautionary Tales: Critical Curating is a resource text for students and others interested in the curatorial field. It will provide reflection for both established curators as well as those just beginning to be involved in contemporary art and cultural production.

Rather than invite curators to assess how their roles have changed, we asked academics, writers and a few curators to consider how the proliferation of "cultural producers" has changed the definition, evolution, and purpose of the curator over the last ten years. Each of the ten authors provides a unique perspective on the evolution and practice of the curator, drawing from a wide range of disciplines: the authors are critics, curators, museum directors, curatorial program directors, university professors and philosophers, writers and thinkers from Germany, India, Korea, Sweden, New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Cleveland.

Drawing from a wealth of exhibitions as examples of successful curating and the changing role of the contemporary curator, the authors present subjects such as balancing artistic vision and expectations of funders or institutions, as well as considering potential ethical dilemmas in dealings with artists and collectors. Some authors touch on the growing numbers of "independent curators" who graduate each year from the many curatorial programs around the world, while others address the difference between working within the institution and being an outside influence. A few essays mention the more practical aspects of independent curatorship, including fundraising, administration, and the need for good and open communication. And as an interesting commentary on the times, many of the papers speak to the importance of taking risks.

It is the diversity, personal comments and compelling observations by people of note that make this edition a unique and noteworthy book for anyone interested in art.