in Curating, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)
Symposium: Curating in Feminist Thought
at Migros Museum and ZHdK. Concept: Elke Krasny, Lara Perry, Dorothee Richter.
With contributions by Amelia Jones, Maura Reilly, Helena Reckitt, Sigrid Schade, Dorothee Richter, Lara Perry, Elke Krasny, Hilary Robinson, Stella Rollig, Lina Džuverović and Irene Revell, Laura Castagnini, Susanne Clausen, Michaela Melian. Videoprogramme: Martina Mullaney, Szuper Gallery, Liv Wynter, Louise Fitzgerald, PUNK IS DADA;
All contributions have been published in the issue 29 of OnCurating.org.
Curators and their partners are working in a contested field, in which the meanings of institutions, their power structures and modes of participation can be debated and reshaped. The number and diversity of high-profile major museum exhibitions in the twenty-first century that have been devoted to the themes of feminist and women’s art has attracted an unprecedented critical attention to the practice of feminist curation. The diversity of the ways in which feminism has been represented in curatorial projects—from Womanhouse (1972) to Gender Battle (2007)—is explored here most fully by Amelia Jones and Hilary Robinson, which identify the range of these projects and the various ways in which exhibitions have articulated feminist perspectives.
At the same time that the nature of the feminist exhibition has been subjected to growing historical and critical scrutiny, the rise of the identification of the exhibition with the curator as its author (instead of the museum or indeed the artist or artwork) invites us to expand our considerations of the nature of curatorial work, histories, and scholarship. The focus on the curator often generates an account that individualizes or personalizes the agency of curatorial work, a tendency which we have aimed to resist. Instead, we have proposed the curator as an agency within which the art world locates its work of recognizing, celebrating, validating, and rejecting, and one that is susceptible to a feminist analysis. It is important to see the curatorial function as part of a developing discursive formation, with its specific inclusions, exclusions in respect of race, class, and gender: “To think of institutions in terms of production (of work and discourse and political practice and solidarity) instead of representation would be, to my mind, a first feminist step”. With this provocation the curator Ruth Noack invited us in 2013 to rethink the nature of feminist critique of the museum, the gallery, the exhibition space.
A cooperation with feminist curators united, and the University of Reading, Department of Art.