During the Art Department’s trip to The Met in NYC this past November 2nd, I found several interesting books in the gift shop. The book I decided to read first is Curationism : How Curating Took Over the Art World and Everything Else by David Balzer.
With the hectic nature of mid-semester, I haven’t gotten very far into it, yet. However, Balzer presents some pretty interesting ideas right from the start.
In Part 1: Value, Balzer begins by discussing how the act of arrangement and editing is universally common but infinitely variable, which has a lot of truth to it. Throughout my research and study of curation this past semester, I have learned that curation is arguably it’s own medium. Just as every artist is variable in their use of materials and tools, each curator is variable in their selections, their tools, their organization, their writings, etc.
He then uses a quote from British art writer Kenneth Clark in which he refers to art collecting as “a biological function, not unrelated to our physical appetites.” Balzer then analyzes how many others in the past have tried to study a physical pattern in the nature of collection and curation. It’s a very eye opening suggestion to think that art collecting is something embedded within us like natural selection, only the fittest will survive. I’m pretty new and still semi-unfamiliar with the world of art collection, but I always imagined collection to be survival of the fittest bank account. Now I’m starting to question the whole nature of why we choose the artistic paths we choose. Many curators are also artists, so what makes them have such a higher regard for collecting art rather than committing solely to their own art? I somewhat did the same thing. I can make art, I love painting architecture with ink and watercolor and I’ve always had a passion for photography, but something within me would rather work with famous artworks instead of my own.
I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what else this Balzer is going to dive into, I’ll try to keep you all posted! If you would like to purchase the book, it’s MSRP is $13.95 and it is sold on Amazon.
For anyone on campus or close to the Scranton area, feel free to check out the Zeta Omicron exhibition until 11/17! I have 2 pieces on exhibit as well as some fantastic pieces from my fellow Zeta Omicron members.
Thanks always for the read, feel free to leave me comments below!
P.S. Enjoy some photos from the NYC trip below!