IT’S THE POLITICAL ECONOMY, STUPID The Global Financial crisis in Art and Theory Curating course essay

Gerardo Montes de Oca Valadez

Curating and curator Curatorial work is a complex task immersed in a context created by art history and tendencies, institutions within a wider context where this art world happens: the social. A proper understanding of what an exhibition is today requires knowledge of that complexity. An analysis of the exhibition It’s the political economy, stupid is a clear position and statement to counter fight capitalist and neo liberal discourses and practices from a joint stand of art and theory. It is therefore important to understand how come art and artists can create an exhibition on such topic today. Before analyzing the exhibition I will briefly mention some basic contextual elements. One of the most important legacies of avant-garde is that it brought art to the everyday life not only to bring it closer to people in their routinely lives, but to question the foundations of the institution of art. Political art can be seen as a result of the process where art opened up to areas out of this institution and out of itself in certain way that questions the foundations of the social structure itself. It allowed art to reach new contexts, so to say, new topics and processes, new ways of production, exhibition and circulation of art. The curator role appeared along this conceptual, practical and institutional change. It is important to remember that it would not have been possible without the political and economic changes that occurred alongside. Today it is a profession that, as Acord (2010) states, became standardized together with the appearance of the modern museum. Accord also points out how the first generation of curators from the mid-19th century had strong academic education that defined in a great

He makes it clear that he is not proposing to get rid of the organizer but to question their way of existing. Unfortunately it has lead to some situations where unquestionable respect and authority is given to curators. The experimentation touched the very core of the exhibition format. the artwork. market forces. keep a reflective practice within a critical and democratic approach where open dialogue and negotiation are constantly crafted. the exhibited works. “curators have risen to prominence in the contemporary art world because of the increased importance of mediating between institutional bureaucracy. He sees an excessive domination by what he calls the author or artist-curator that sets the organizer as the author and the artist as the interpreter. as I wrote in 1972. “if exhibition organizers today defend the status of author it means that they consider that the work resides in the exhibition produced (which becomes their work) and that. interferes with the development of art practices and concepts. The curator became a key element in the mediation of the art creator. the institution and the audience. since curators trends and tastes can constrain the own development of the artist. In particular. an avant-garde movement in curating.extent their way of doing exhibitions –historical and linear. in my opinion. one with a critical and experimental approach. It was indeed. Furthermore. In the project (resulted in a book and a internet based compilation of texts) The next Documenta should be curated by an artist (2003) Daniel Buren questions the manner in which curator execute their practice. I consider. Durng the 60s and 70s a new generation of curators emerged. p. the fragments that make up the corpus of this . as Acord affirms. Good curators. situation that. 447) Today the role of the curator has gone as far as to proclaim authorship in exhibition making. the curx of curatorial practice in contemporary art is the construction of artistic meaning through the exhibition” (Acord. artistic representation and public taste.

Curating is a work that if. are not really artworks but have become. at best. I would add. in my perspective. . but a wide range of individuals with particular backgrounds and. Curating practice frames the works. Ricardo Basbaum. It is this variety of individuals that inhabit that cloudy context where practices are constantly negotiated. It is indeed a good question. overlapping or moving in counterpoint. exhibition and display and reception. it is adequately done. Curating and art production are part of a cloudy context where their intention and function oscillate together or separately. parallel to the works formulates context. particular details in the service of the work in question.exhibition. It is a question we cannot take for granted. it surely add another layer of meaning and. resulting in exhibitions where artworks and artist’s discourses and positions are forced or even distorted or forgotten. even though these different works overlap. the institution of art. offers us a brilliant categorization in his text I love Etc. especially because it points out the complexities of art production. accents. mediation. becoming closer and distant.-Artists. This differentiation points out to the fact that there are neither pure curators nor pure artists. the exhibition of our organizer-author” (2003) Buren goes on to argue that in some cases curators interests and exhibitions are larger imitations of artistic movements or research. who also participated in The next Documenta should…. For Buren the question whether an exhibition formed by different artists can become a “work” itself remains open. in particular situations. I consider the exhibition making a work of a different function than the art production. can share some of the artwork making process.

They argue that artistic practice from the 90s became more and more political project-based. 2013). organized by the two curators (editors). process-oriented and selforganized. after mentioning how the barriers between artist and curators blurred and blended. It is even expressed by the curators when. Still. 2013. They resort to Zizek’s theories and his idea of how capitalist ideologies generates narratives that constrain individuals and society to economic desire. stupid This project is both a book and a series of exhibitions. where the artist occupies the position of the curator. making capitalization the meaning of existence (Sholette and Ressler.It’s the political economy. I must say that the movement Occupy Wall Street and derivatives in other countries has an important influence and inspiration in this project. The starting point of this project is the idea that ultra-deregulated capitalism permeates toxically every detail of our lives. p. an interpretation of cultural power admittedly quite different from many political art precursors who confronted the art world as strictly enemy terrain” . 10) Sholette and Ressler define themselves as artist-curators in the opening text of the book Unspeaking the grammar of finance. All this resulted in a more theoretical art that at times resembling curatorial work. In their words it aims to “countermand that particular narrative through the auspices of visual art and critical theory… the artists and authors selected for this project do actively seek to disable “econospeak” (Sholette and Ressler. they develop some more on this concept and use it as a tactical approach: “institutions began to resemble components of a ‘system’ to be used and occupied. It seems that they naturally assume a rigid division between the artist and the curator. but they do not really mention how they understand the emergence of the curator’s figure so we could have a better understanding of the synergy and impulse before this “occupation”.

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