Prince in film still from Purple Rain, directed by Albert Magnoli, 111 Minutes, Warner Brothers, 1984
To start off the new school year, by way of introduction, the Curatorial Practice classes of 2015 and 2016 wrote and presented Top Ten Lists of favorite exhibitions, poems, books, artists, films, albums, and other inspirations. This was the first assignment for the Curatorial Practice Seminar course. Here are 10 memorable excerpts from the 20 memorable Top Tens:
1. In writing about Prince's 1984 album, Purple Rain, Kelly Johnson (Curatorial Practice 2014) suggested: "Exhibitions should be like Prince albums--unexpected, delightful, nuanced, deep but not too deep, carefully arranged but still playful and experimental, passionate, open to outside input, design-forward/sexy, and definitely should leave you feeling like you want to press repeat."
2. Kirsten Poulsen-House (Curatorial Practice 2015) wrote about the 2012 exhibit, Self-Portrait, at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, North of Copenhagen: "Self-Portrait showcased 150 portraits by 64 artists from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Artists included Catherine Opie, Frida Kahlo, Chuck Close, Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh, Pipolotti Rist and many more. I had the amazing fortune of getting a private tour from the curator of the exhibition."
3. Yeim (Amy) Bae (Curatorial Practice 2015) reflected on the 8th Gwangju Biennale in Gwangju South Korea, 10,000 Lives, curated by Massimiliano Gioni (2010), one her favorite exhibitions by one or her favorite curators. Amy remembers galleries filled with art focused on individual lives lived through pain and war, sometimes with teddy bears and dolls.
4. Samantha Redles (Curatorial Practice 2015) wrote about Open Engagement, a conference she and Amy attended together last year. Samatha defined the conference this way: "An internationally attended conference focused on art, social practice, and socially engaged art. The conference invites hundreds of speakers involved in social practice to share their experiences and discuss how to integrate [these experiences] into the framework of art."
5. Jennifer Melvin (Curatorial Practice 2016) included Baltimore-boy John Waters' seminal boundary-defying film, Pink Flamingos (1972) in her Top Ten. Jennifer remembers: "I first saw this film when I was 14 years old. The non-Hollywood script was mind-blowing. I respect Waters for not only stepping outside of the box, but running as far away from it as possible. (Like [the contemporary artist] Ai Weiwei, John Waters is unapologetic.)
6. Nick Petr (Curatorial Practice 2016) created a reading list of periodicals, including: International Socialist Review, Feminist Review, and New Left Review.
7. Kibibi Ajanku (Curatorial Practice 2016) shared about a trip with her dance company to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, in Detroit, a museum which houses a giant permanent collection of African American Art... Anyone want to go?
8. Jennifer Gray (Curatorial Practice 2015) chose Langston Hughes' poem, I, Too:
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
I, too, am America.
(Langston Hughes (1902-1967), “I, Too” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes.)
9. Ashley DeHoyos (Curatorial Practice 2016) included Brian O'Doherty's book Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space, Expanded Edition, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999. Ashley recommends this book that originally appeared as essays in Artforum magazine in 1976 and 1986: "Contains essays about ... artists using the space around the [art]work. Great reference for looking at how art interacts within the [gallery] space and why a gallery should be so much more."
10. Emily Russell (Curatorial Practice 2015) used space in her Top Ten to provide some sound advice for the Curatorial Practice class of 2016: "Spend time to reflect with yourself. Alone! You will be with your peers a lot this year and there will be plenty of time to bond. In order to stay sane with yourself and your classmates, you need alone time to think about why you are here and how you want to make the most of this opportunity. Even if it is eating lunch in solitude, deciding to stay in when others are grabbing dinner, or taking an hour to jog or hit the gym, make time for yourself and soak it up... Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You will need it! Your classmates, teachers, the Graduate Studies Office, and fellow grad students... Ask them questions… even if it is about something small. You will never be surrounded by so many creative people again once you graduate."