A Brief History of Curating
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Anne D'Harnoncourt, Werner Hoffman, Jean Leering, Franz Meyer, Seth Siegelaub, Walter Zanini, Johannes Cladd
Part of JRP|Ringer's innovative Documents series, published with Les Presses du Reel and dedicated to critical writings, this publication comprises a unique collection of interviews by Hans Ulrich Obrist mapping the development of the curatorial field--from early independent curators in the 1960s and 70s and the experimental institutional programs developed in Europe and the U.S. through the inception of Documenta and the various biennales and fairs--with pioneering curators Anne D'Harnoncourt, Werner Hoffman, Jean Leering, Franz Meyer, Seth Siegelaub, Walter Zanini, Johannes Cladders, Lucy Lippard, Walter Hopps, Pontus Hulten and Harald Szeemann.
Speaking of Szeemann on the occasion of this legendary curator's death in 2005, critic Aaron Schuster summed up, "the image we have of the curator today: the curator-as-artist, a roaming, freelance designer of exhibitions, or in his own witty formulation, a 'spiritual guest worker'... If artists since Marcel Duchamp have affirmed selection and arrangement as legitimate artistic strategies, was it not simply a matter of time before curatorial practice--itself defined by selection and arrangement--would come to be seen as an art that operates on the field of art itself?"
museum—people were invited to produce their own posters and prints. Photos and paintings were installed in trees. There was also a music school run by the great jazz musician Don Cherry, the father of Neneh Cherry. We built one of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes in our workshops and had a great time doing it. A telex enabled visitors to pose questions to people in Bombay, Tokyo, and New York. Each participant had to describe his vision of the future, of what the world would be like in 1981.
berate him, but he didn’t want to have anything to do with him either. They were very different. Both are represented near one another in the massive Beat Culture show curated by Lisa Phillips at the Whitney Museum in New York. Currently I’m working on a full-scale retrospective of the work of both Ed Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, to be presented later this year at the Whitney. Ed’s work was considered very 18 controversial, even into the 1960s when he had his first retrospective. Today I
kind of score that you try to relate to or understand. It puts you in a certain psychological state. I always tried to get as peaceful and calm as possible. If there was a simple way of doing something, I would do it that way. When I did the Duchamp retrospective in 1963, he and I walked through the old Pasadena Art Museum—the colors were white and off-white and brown; there was some wood paneling; some dark brown. Duchamp said: “It’s just fine. Don’t do anything that is too hard to do.” In other
atmosphere, including daily interactions with the public, which was present while the projects were being made. 189 WZ Donato Ferrari, an artist of Italian origin with a Roman background who’d lived in Brazil for a long time, came up with the idea. He’d abandoned painting, and made a name for himself for some years as an author of performances, Super-8 films, and installations. HUO So it was artist-driven. WZ Yes. For several months a whole team worked on the organization of JAC at the museum.
three works, or even one work, and some unusual comparisons. I’ve often thought that Vermeer’s work would 28 fit in this kind of show. The same is true of Rogier van der Weyden. HUO The explosion of images and sources leads also to Rauschenberg. WH Yes, in recent years I’ve had a lot of involvement with Rauschenberg, and to use your term, he’s probably the most encyclopedic artist of our time. HUO And you’re working on a retrospective. WH Yes, having done one at the National in 1976, the