ARTISTS CURATING EXHIBITIONS

Two important early exhibitions in this catagory are Working Drawings and other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to be Viewed as Art by Mel Bochner in 1966 at the Visual Arts Gallery, School of Visual Arts, New York (facsimile below) and "Nine at Leo Castelli Warehouse" organized by Robert Morris in 1968 that included Anselmo, Bollinger, Hesse, Kaltenbach, Nauman, Saret, Serra, Sonnier and Zorio (no catalogue - images of the installation in Reconsidering the Object of Art: 1965-1975  and Six Years: The dematerialization of the art object....).

In an extention of this catagory I have included David Lamelas' "Publication" that included responses by 13 artists and critics to three statements pertaining to Language and Art - Published as Lamelas' exhibition; and Douglas Huebler's Duration Piece #8 Global, 1973 which was a two part project that lead to this publication involving the participation of 50 artists and critics. Publications like New Observations invited artists and writers to edit (curate) each issue, such as the lone listed below by Peter Halley. Another publication from Italy also invited artists to curate each issue, one curated by Sol LeWitt  is listed below.

The art work of Fred Wilson is nearly always an examination of existing art works by others, often works gathered from and within specific institutional collections, to reveal an alternative (and more contexually accurate) understanding of their social and cultural meaning. This approach to selecting works from museum collections to "re-assemble" and construct new ways of seeing and understanding an alternative meaning of the works has often been the curatorial role taken on by Joseph Kosuth, Hans Haacke, John Baldessari, Michael Asher, Mark Dion and Andrea Fraser. During the 70s and 80s a number of "alternative" spaces came into being in New York whose stated purpose was to have artists curate exhibitions - Artists Space was one of the leading galleries to do this, beginning in 1972 [see the Artists Space link to view artists and exhibitions listed] It also became more common in the '80s to see exhibitions curated by artists in the numerous galleries in the East Village of New York, Anton van Dalen was one of those artist/curators. Group Material (including Doug Ashford, Julie Ault, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Mundy McLaughlin, and Tim Rollins) also organized numerous exhibitions and installations.

An artist exploring the traditional curatorial approach of conceptualizing a theme or framework in order to organize and present existing works by a range of artists, or works from a museum’s permanent collection, is the primary focus of this page. Though before leaving this subject I want to mention the work of a number of other artists who also took on the museum as a subject.

In 1941 Marcel Duchamp produced the “Boite-en-valise”, a small compact portable museum of copies of his works; and later in 1969 Marcel Broodthaers created the “Musee d’Arte Moderne, Department des aigles” that assembled images and objects by categories, often provoking a semiotic reading. Oldenberg’s “Mouse Museum” and Daniel Spoerri’s “Musee Sentimental” were more playful presentations of ordinary objects in the museum context (thank you Duchamp). From 1970 to 1977 Herbert Distel invited artists to create a miniature work that would fit into a compartment of a cabinet drawer (a cabinet that was formerly used to hold cotton reels containing 500 compartments in 20 drawers) - "The Museum of Drawers".

An important reference text to this subject and related issues is Art and Artifact: The Museum as Medium  by James Putnam, 2001.

Michael Asher George Washington at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1979 and 2005 The Art Institute of Chicago 2006
Julie Ault Cultural Economies: Histories from the Alternative Arts Movement, NYC The Drawing Center, New York 1996
Mel Bochner Working Drawings and other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to be Viewed as Art Visual Arts Gallery, School of Visual Arts, New York [facsimile by Walther Konig, Koln in 1997] 1966
Tania Bruguera Una Brecha entre el Cielo y la Tierra [see Catalogues Cited] Centro Provincial de Artes Plasticas y Diseno [during the 5th Havana Bienal]  1994
John Fekner Artist as Apolitical Sensor [catalogue includes a one act play by Fekner: "Foreigners in the Library Americans at the Beach"; exhibition included Bullet, Lou Forgione, Don Leicht, John Piper, and Sara Spinelli, among others.] Hillwood Art Museum, Long Island University 1990
John Fekner Tawkin' New Yawk City Walls [see Catalogues Cited] Hillwood Art Museum, Long Island University 2005
Andrea Fraser Report EA Generali Foundation, Vienna 1994
Group Material  numerous exhibitions listed at link various 1979+
Hans Haacke Viewing Matters / AnsichtsSachen Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam 1999
Peter Halley New Observations # 17 - Science Fiction Issue  New Observations Ltd, New York 1983
Douglas Huebler Duration Piece #8 Global self 1973 
Alfredo Jaar Inferno and Paradiso Bild Musett, Umea, Sweden 1999
Joseph Kosuth Guide: Special Edition Isabela Stewart Gardner Museum 2003
Joseph Kosuth The Play of the Unmentionable The Brooklyn Museum, New York 1992
David Lamelas  Publication  Nigel Greenwood, London  1970
Sol LeWitt  Numero Quattro a cura di Sol Lewitt - Periodical Curated by LeWitt  Edizione Cenobio Visualita Ass., Milan 1982
Anton van Dalen 100 Years: A Tradition of Social and Political Art on the LOWER EAST SIDE P.P.O.W. 1988
Anton van Dalen 2nd Annual Neighborhood Invitational P.P.O.W. 1986
Fred Wilson Mining the Museum: An Installation by Fred Wilson  Museum for Contemporary Arts and the Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, Maryland 1992
Fred Wilson So Much Trouble in the World - Believe It or Not  Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College 2006
Fred Wilson Speak of Me as I Am 50th Venice Biennale - U.S. Pavilion 2003
Fred Wilson The Museum: Mixed Metaphors Seattle Art Museum 1993
       
  RELATED BOOKS     
James Putnam Art and Artifact: The Museum as Medium  Thames & Hudson 2001