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Title: Stop making sense : the ends of curating and the beginnings of the exhibition
Author: Drabble, Barnaby C.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2010
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This study addresses the recent interest in the role of the curator as author and producer, arguing for the value of shifting critical focus away from curating and towards the exhibition. It proposes that, when thought of in terms of knowledge production, exhibitions are actually constituted by the combined activities of artists, curators, institutions and their publics. With reference to three case studies it examines how exhibitions can be understood as sites of collective negotiation of knowledge, and goes on to question the curatorial role in relation to this new understanding. Beginning with the question 'How do we talk about curating?' the study observes the development of curatorial discourse since the beginning of the 199os. Through analysis of this critical development and the frequent announcements of a crisis in curating, it identifies several perennial points of impasse for the development of the exhibition. The study suggests that these have arisen as the result of a professional model bound to a framework of cultural traditions, which have come to define institutional practice today. In response to this rigid model, the study proposes an alternative in which the field of exhibition making is understood as a dynamic network of influences, where roles and codes of conduct are interchangeable and hierarchical characteristics prone to continual reconstitution. In this way production in the exhibition field is redefined as not only the making of art objects for display, or the forming of art -experiences but also the reception of these. The study looks in detail at three exhibitions that explore ideas of collective and collaborative methods of production, curated by independent curators between 2003 and 2007. It considers to what extent and at what stages curatorial decisions influenced the forming of temporary communities of practice, concluding by identifying what can be learned from exhibitions when they are observed as experiments in the collective negotiation of knowledge.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available