I’ve been brainstorming syllabus titles for class #3 of curatorial practice. (I may propose them to Jack at the end of the semester for future class sessions.)

Here are three of my faves:

Week 3. The Reality Check

Week 3. Get overwhelmed! 

or

Week 3. Here is what you should have been doing during week 1 and 2 while you were admiring art and finding your creative identity. 

Are you starting to get a feel for how class went this week? Let’s just say that I didn’t leave the museum with the warm, fuzzy, feeling that I am used too. Instead I left with questions swarming in my head and a knot in my chest. How am I going to find an artist this fast? Who should I speak to–the artist or their gallery representative? What do I say when we don’t even have an exhibition theme? When am I ever going to find the time to write this proposal by next week? Visit a gallery this week?! When?

Then, I stepped down from this insane mountain that I had just climbed and started to breathe. (I know… for a second you were concerned that I spiraled into a full-fledged panic attack and began hyperventilating until I passed out on a random sidewalk in Northwest, DC. And all for the love of art.) I began thinking of how amazing and intricate the job of a curator really is. There is a laundry list of important details that must be considered in order for the viewer to have a seamless experience in the exhibit. It is pretty ironic actually, all of the chaos that must take place in order to create the calm and peaceful atmosphere of a museum  or gallery.

Today, I will not delve into all the minute details of curating (especially since I am still learning them all) but, I can offer some thoughts on catalogs that we discussed during class. Katzen is currently featuring works by Anil Revri, Raul Middleman, and Cristobal Gabarron. They are three very different exhibits and the extreme variation in the style, context, and theme of the catalogs emphasizes these differences.

Revri’s catalog focuses on the mental experiences with his exhibit. Many of my classmates agreed that the catalog was an essential educational tool and that it would benefit viewers to read the catalog before entering the exhibit. Meanwhile, Middleman’s catalog discusses the physical experience of both creating and viewing his paintings. The class saw Middleman’s catalog more as an addition to the exhibit and a keepsake rather than an essential educational tool. Gabbaron’s catalog is the simplest of the three, however the artist’s answers to interview questions offer true insight into the motivation behind his work which is to highlight human life and coexistence.

Jack interviews each artist and incorporates excerpts of these interviews into Katzen’s catalogs. In this way, he is able to add a personal touch to the exhibit and offer some credibility to the artist through anecdotes and facts tied into the interviews. Jack’s presence in the catalog brings it to life and demonstrates his investment in the artist.

Prior to this class, I viewed the catalog as an afterthought but now I see that it is a work of art in itself.

Quote of the Week

“After the show, the catalog is all that remains.” -Jack Rasmussen

This is a sculpture by Cristobal Gabarron.

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