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Show Time

Garnet, Eldon (2008) Show Time. Canadian Art, 25 (4). pp. 94-97. ISSN 0825-3854


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In Faenza, a picturesque medieval town in Italy's scenic Tuscany region, a group of international curators and critics gathered last spring to examine "present-day art and the directions in which it is developing." The question of the training of curators ran as a central thread throughout many of the festival's presentations and discussions. Present for the threeday event was an eccentric gathering of curatorial heavyweights, including Carlos Basualdo, a member of the curatorial team for Documenta 1 1 in 2002, Iwona Blazwick from Whitechapel in London, Vasif Kortun from Platform Garanti in Istanbul and two Italian superstars, Germano Celant and Achille Bonito Oliva. The recent growth of curatorial programs is one of several trends that clearly signal fhe market's progressive encroachment upon the academy. At fhe Faenza conference, Pamela M. Lee, a former student of the Whitney School and Harvard now teaching at Stanford University, asserted that curatorial programs now seem the logical point of entry into the art world for aspiring professionals. They are "the world's most glamorous vocational schools," providing students with requisite practical know-how. With the curator now assuming celebrity status in the art world, newly minted curatorial schools, Lee suspects, are, at least in the United States, "but a cash cow to older and more established programs in art history." But at what cost? American graduate schools are hugely expensive and offer little in the way of financial assistance. The well-established Bard College, for example, charges first-year curatorial-studies students more than $30,000 in tuition each year. Aware that the art academy is well established as a place of vocational training and art-market production in both Europe and North America and that it has functioned very successfully in this way for two decades, Demos is interested in a more critical approach. He is engaged in a rethinking of the academy as a space of critical discourse, characterized by more "experimental practices," a place where the "invention of new kinds of institutions" is taking place. While a managerial ethos has seemingly taken over the art academy, there has been a parallel rise in alternative, experimental art programs. These new "institutions" are often modelled on Joseph Beuys's work with the Free International University. Initiatives such as Charles Esche's protoacademy, the 16Beaver group in New York, fhe International Academy of Art Palestine, in Ramallah, and Manifesta 6's (failed) attempt to develop an academy in Cyprus represent a return to previous models of the radical art academy. These are usually nontuition-based, non-hierarchical and absolutely inclusive, characterized by an atmosphere of collaboration and an overturning of the teacher-student hierarchy. The hope is to move away from the managerial model of art education and toward "the development of an arts academy that is truly about the exploration of knowledge in its most inclusive and process-based form."

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Art, Art education, Art markets, Curators, Vocational schools
Divisions: Faculty of Art
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 18:42
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2021 16:46
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/1389

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