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Social Theory and Curatorial Practice

Semester and Year SP 2017
Course Number IDSEM-UG1901
Section 001
Instructor Eugenia Kisin
Days T
Time 3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   SOC



In contemporary art and media worlds, it seems as if everyone who makes choices about what to present to the public is called a curator. But what exactly is the work of curating? How do curators refine their capacities for judgment, storytelling, and display? How are these forms of expertise learned, and in what ways do they intersect with other forms of cultural production? Balancing critical and applied perspectives, this course investigates curatorial work as a site of cultural practice, a sphere of action and knowledge—above all, the “eye” or sense of critical taste—that is learned and performed in multiple contexts of display. Connecting curation to its etymological roots in “cure” and “care,” this course will also consider curating as a remedial practice that has changed over time in relation to globalized networks of the art market, professionalization, and the phenomenon of celebrity curators. Students will investigate curatorial intent and outcomes based on exhibition catalogs, reviews, and other forms of documentation. Students will also explore contemporary practices of curating within and beyond the space of the gallery through their own curatorial projects. Throughout the class, we will read theoretical texts by curators, social theorists, and artists, including Claire Bishop, Pierre Bourdieu, Andrea Fraser, Candice Hopkins, and Hans Ulrich Obrist.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)