April 7: “Exhibit A: Authorship on Display”

Mon Apr 7, 2014, 12:00 – 8:00pm | Conference | The Skylight Room (9100)

In the last two decades, the study of exhibition history has grown exponentially. Yet the discussions around this nascent field are conspicuously bifurcated, shuttling between a small coterie of curators on the one hand, and a select number of scholars on the other. In curatorial circles, discourse often focuses on individual practices, with little sustained reflection on broader historical and museological implications. In academic circles, the history of exhibitions is often situated in terms of spectatorship, without directing attention to the various forms of authorship involved in exhibition-making. This conference brings together artists, curators, art historians and emerging scholars for a day-long forum.


Claire Bishop

Keynote Presentation: The Museum as Gesamkunstwerk
Boris Groys

Moderated by Claire Bishop

Panel: Exhibiting Experiments
Speakers consider seminal exhibition case studies from the 1960s: Dylaby (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1962), Art By Telephone (Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1969), and the unrealized projects of Harald Szeemann.
Caitlin Burkhart, “Dynamisch Labyrinth: Deconstructing the ‘White Cube’ through Dynamic Environments”
Lucy Hunter, “Static on the Line: Art By Telephone and Its Technocratic Dilemma”
Pietro Rigolo, “Failure as a Poetic Dimension: Harald Szeemann’s Unrealized Projects”
Moderated by Grant Johnson


Panel: The Retrospective
Despite its crucial art historical importance and contemporary ubiquity in museums and galleries, little has been written on the retrospective within the framework of curatorial innovation. How have various actors—including artists, curators, collectors and artists’ estates—negotiated authorship within the format of the retrospective?
João Ribas, “Just what is it that makes today’s solo exhibitions so different, so appealing?”
Lynne Cooke, “Rosemarie Trockel: way leads on to way…”
Lewis Kachur, “Maurizio Cattelan’s Guggenheim Museum Un-retrospective”
Moderated by Chelsea Haines

Panel: The Artist-Curator
In the 1990s, artists and curators started working more collaboratively, embracing discursive and performative approaches to exhibition-making. Such alliances have resulted in a blurring of authorial roles to the point where the division of labor between these two figures has been all but expunged. Is there any longer a need to uphold this distinction?
Florence Ostende, “Exhibitions by Artists: Another Occupation?”
Carol Bove, “Gossip and Ridicule”
Ian Berry, “The Jewel Thief”
Josh Kline, “Conservative Curation”
Moderated by Natalie Musteata


Discussion and Response
David Joselit and Dieter Roelstraete respond to the key ideas of the day’s proceedings.

This event is organized in tandem with A Story of Two Museums: An Ethnographic Exhibition at The James Gallery, on view April 4-June 7, 2014.

“Exhibit A: Authorship on Display” is organized by Art History PhD students Chelsea Haines, Grant Johnson, and Natalie Musteata. Click here for more information.

Co-sponsored by the PhD Program in Art History and the Doctoral Students’ Council.