Curating For Beginners

A really nice mini article courtesy of Nolia's Gallery, London.

The task of curating, organising and setting up one's own show can be a daunting one when it is done for the first time. Dealing with the practical aspects of exhibiting such as budgets, logistics, schedules, advertising and so on don't come easy to artistic temperaments. They are not necessarily difficult tasks in themselves once you have the experience but they can be confusing when you haven't done anything like it before.
The first thing you should think about is the space. Finding an affordable exhibition space in London can be difficult, and you must book well in advance. It is a good idea to organise group shows to spread the renting costs.
I find that the main problem in curating a show is deciding what the aim or message of the exhibition will be, especially when the work of various artists is shown together. The job of the curator is to make sense of every different approach from each artist involved and come up with a unifying discourse that will bind different styles, mediums and subjects into a coherent whole. A single artist can stick to an idea right from the start of his artistic production for a given show, or even a group of artists can decide that they will produce works to put a show together with a single idea in mind, but things can get rather more complicated when a curator faces the task of selecting works by different artists who have produced their pieces independently. In this case the curator must strive to understand the work of each artist, their backgrounds, interests and discourses and try to distill from all these different elements a kind of unifying glue that will make sense of it all and give the exhibition a direction and purpose.
Funding, logistics and advertising can become a nightmare if they are not planned in a feasible and realistic way. A number of institutions can be approached for funding such as the Arts Council, local councils, your college or university, or even private businesses that may be interested in sponsoring an exhibition in exchange for advertising and having their name associated with the arts, but all this will require a detailed project proposal. It can be a big effort but the reward is the experience and satisfaction you will get from being capable of making your exhibition happen.

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