Course Details

Course Information Package

Course Unit CodeMFA508
Course Unit DetailsMA Fine Art: Contemporary Art Practices (Electives Courses) -
Number of ECTS credits allocated5
Learning Outcomes of the course unitBy the end of the course, the students should be able to:
  1. Develop research methodologies in curatorial practice.
  2. Reinforce awareness in art history and theory of the 20th and the 21st century as well as the history of art exhibitions.
  3. Strengthen art-writing skills.
  4. Build working relations with fellow artists, art institutions, galleries and other venues of interest.
  5. Demonstrate curatorial abilities in forming and presenting conceptual models.
  6. Construct meaning and push forward new creative relationships.
  7. Acquire skills in specialised scientific research and methodology.
  8. Generate critical arguments using comparative analysis.
  9. Develop a personal curatorial style and implement it in a personal project.
  10. Use analysis and synthesis to develop advanced critical thinking.
Mode of DeliveryFace-to-face
Recommended optional program componentsNONE
Course ContentsThis course deals with the practice of curating by examining the ways in which art has been displayed, mediated and discussed. Specifically the course examines the history of exhibition making and the role of the art exhibition as a part of a developmental process, of conceptualizing ways in which art and its contexts are understood. From the curator-guardian of the artwork to the curator-author of the work, and the curator-guardian of institutions to the curator-activist, a lot has taken place in the history of curating contemporary art. Already since the late 1960s and the emergence of the first curated exhibitions of contemporary art, such as When Attitudes Become Form by Harald Szeeman and Op Losse Schroeven by Wim Beeren, the curators acquired an iconic status in the world of art, while the first polemical responses to the ambiguous role of the curator-author and the curator-artist started to be expressed. To quote J.J. Charlesworth: “The heightened preoccupation with the authorial aspect of curating might be seen as a defensive reaction to the disappearance of shared critical and cultural values and criteria through which the institutional power of curating is mediated and legitimated.” (Charlesworth, J.J., “Curating Doubt” in Issues in Curating Contemporary Art and Performance, Rugg, Judith and Sedgwick Michele (eds.), Intellect, Bristol 2007, p. 97.) Operating on many different levels simultaneously, the role of the curator has become both complex and controversial. In the globalised arena, and the neoliberal mechanisms that guide it, art management necessitates an efficient handling of the dynamics between artists, institutions, the market, the media, and other social and political structures. The course will look at the structures and strategies behind different curatorial models, focusing on the history of exhibition - making and the development of ideas in each genre examined. Using case studies, the models of practice will include: the public museum or gallery; the biennial; interdisciplinary institutions; artist-led initiatives and institutional critique; art in the public realm; collections and the auction house; expanded museology; virtual curating and digital technologies; film and video; performance. The lessons also offers students the opportunity to build-up and present at a final stage an artist-led curatorial project that would enable them to understand and follow the contextual and conceptual operations, mechanisms, possible structures and logistics of exhibition-making.
Recommended and/or required reading:
    No specific textbook required
  • Paul O’ Neil (ed.), Curating Subjects, London: Open Editions, 2011
  • Paul Marincola, What Makes a Great Exhibition?, Philadelphia:Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, 2010
  • Paul O’ Neil, Mick Wilson (eds.), Curating and the Educational Turn, London: Open Editions, 2011
  • Judith Rugg, Michelle Sedwick (eds.), Issues in Curating in Contemporary Art and Performance, Bristol: Intellect, 2007
  • Beryl Graham, Sarah Cook, Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media, Cambridge (MA): The MIT Press, 2010
  • Salon to Biennial-Exhibitions that made Art History, Volume I: 1863-1959, London: Phaidon, 2008
  • Paul O’ Neil, The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Cultures, Cambridge (MA): The MIT Press, 2012
Planned learning activities and teaching methods·  Lectures and illustrated presentations.
·  Critical group discussions and debates on case study exhibitions.
·  Critical reading and writing.
·  Historical research.
·  Visits to museums, galleries, artists’ studios and art institutions.
·  Critical essay and individual curatorial project.
Assessment methods and criteria
Research & Methodology20%
Experimentation & Analysis15%
Class participation15%
Oral presentation & Analysis10%
Final written essay & project40%
Language of instructionEnglish
Work placement(s)NO

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