Switch to English Language Passer en langue française Omschakelen naar Nederlandse Taal Wechseln Sie zu deutschen Sprache Passa alla lingua italiana
Members: 69,736   Posts: 1,515,507   Online: 1094
      
Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    London (UK)
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    77
    Images
    18

    Curious about curating

    I went to the "Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography in the 20th Century" exhibition at the Royal Academy in London yesterday, which I enjoyed much more than many recent exhibitions I have seen. There were a number of well-known photographs by Kertesz (amongst many by other photographers) and it was a thrill to see actual prints, but they were almost all ones that I had seen before in books.

    So I wonder, how does the curating process work when putting on an exhibition? Is the curator aware of the photographer's entire output and chooses freely from it, or are there certain defining photographs that "have to" appear? If so, how has it been decided over the course of time which these photographs are? How much of a photographer's output never sees the light of day, and why not?

    I'm not complaining - just curious as to how the curating process actually works.

  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Midwest USA
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    6,101
    If you are the curator, it is your show; so how bold do you want to be? You can show the 'old favorites' or select 'unknown' works to present. You would know the work of the artist very well, otherwise you are a disservice to the profession of curator. If the show is a flop, you take the blame. If the show is a sensation, you take the credit. You will be initially limited by what is in your own museums collection. Likely you will have knowledge of other museums' collections and contact their curators and ask to borrow works for your show. You would also contct the artist's dealer or broker to see if they may have prints you could borrow.

  3. #3
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Washington DC
    Shooter
    Large Format
    Posts
    8,159
    Blog Entries
    51
    Images
    432
    While a curator may or may not be aware of 100% of a photographers' output, what makes it into a show would be entirely dependent upon the curatorial theme and the images that fit that theme that are available to display at any one time. Very few museums would have sufficiently complete sets of any given artists' work that they could compile a show only from their own holdings; most exhibits are composed of pieces from the museum's collection plus works on loan from other museums and/or private collections. With more famous photographers, especially if the museum is designing the exhibit as a "halo" show to bring in a big audience, there are probably certain pieces that would be expected to be in the show, but with a well-formed curatorial statement, you can justify just about anything. I remember a big Ansel Adams show at the Corcoran Gallery here in DC a few years ago that had mostly his early works, and while it did have some well-known pieces (the flower on driftwood for example), there were as many if not more pieces that defy the common understanding of Adams' ouvre. They had a body of his documentary photos from the Navajo nation showing dancers performing, and they also showed some of his later advertising and commercial photos, as well as some of his color work. It wasn't just "Clearing Winter Storm", "Moonrise, Hernandez", "Aspens, Northern New Mexico" and "The Tetons and the Snake River". If they had those prints there, I can't recall. I do remember being quite taken by his early works.

    Another show of Adams' work I saw over at the American Art Museum did show a lot of his "Greatest Hits" but part of the point of the show was to demonstrate how his printing technique and vision had changed over time - you could look at early and late prints of the same image and see how the early ones were brighter and less contrasty whereas the later ones were darker and punchier. Most museums would not have multiple copies of a single image, especially ones like Adams' signature works which are selling regularly in the multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars range, in their collections, and so they would have to borrow many of those prints from other sources. How a museum finds out who has what, especially if they have to go to private collectors, is not something I'm aware of though.

  4. #4
    jp80874's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Bath, OH 44210 USA
    Shooter
    ULarge Format
    Posts
    3,380
    Images
    6
    Tom Hinson just retired as Curator of Photography for the Cleveland Museum of Art. He had been in that position (under various titles) since 1973. He said that a major portion of his job was working with collectors who had or were planning to donate to the museum, either at death or late in life. He would work with the benefactor to help guide his purchases so they would help fill the museums long term goals and duplication would be avoided. Naturally he would know what was in each private collection.

    Tom also started a Friends of Photography group of numerous collectors and photographers in the area to raise maybe $20,000 a year for purchases. In the background were many conversations about who had what pictures, who should buy what pictures, and where desired pictures might be found.

    He was in constant contact with dealers who wanted to sell to the museum or the collectors that Tom was helping. Vast amounts of information about collections moves through the market this way.

    John Powers

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    London (UK)
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    77
    Images
    18
    Thanks for your replies!



 

APUG PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Contact Us  |  Support Us!  |  Advertise  |  Site Terms  |  Archive  —   Search  |  Mobile Device Access  |  RSS  |  Facebook  |  Linkedin