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Page history last edited by Nancy Proctor 10 years, 10 months ago

Carrie Mae Weems "Untitled (Museum)" 2007

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 Carrie Mae Weems "Untitled (Museum)" 2007

Comments (9)

Nancy Proctor said

at 1:20 pm on Sep 7, 2011

I enjoyed reading this speech to the UK's Information Assurance Advisory Council (IAAC) by by Ben Hammersley, 7 Sept 2011: http://www.benhammersley.com/2011/09/my-speech-to-the-iaac/ But was also struck by the redefinition of "modernity" (at least as I had understood the term) as, along with technology, an unmitigated good (as well as inevitable). Although I agree with much of what Hammersley says, I also think we need to interrogate tautological, un-self-critical assertions such as:

"We can bitch about it, but Facebook, Twitter, Google and all the rest are, in many ways the very definition of modern life in the democratic west. For many, a functioning internet with freedom of speech, and a good connection to the social networks of our choice is a sign not just of modernity, but of civilisation itself."

Nancy Proctor said

at 4:38 pm on Sep 7, 2011

Today I also commented on a thought-provoking blog post on "Pictures of Pictures: A Response to Edward Winkleman’s 'What Has Art Become to Us?'” http://museumnerd.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/response-to-edward-winklemans-blog-post/#comment-85 The discussion of the role of photography in the hands of the "amateur" (with all of its French double-entendre) made me think again about Griselda's commentary on the role of photography in the construction of Art History (see my notes page in this wiki: http://feminismandcurating.pbworks.com/w/page/44133408/Nancy%20Proctor)

There are many layers to the politics here: on the one hand the panopticon effect of the Museum and how its anti-photography conventions (among others) police the movements and gaze of the visitor; on the other hand, the way the management of reproductions of its images is both a capitalist revenue stream (albeit a relatively insignificant one) for the museum, and a way of constructing and directing the market for those images by using them to create the Canon of Art (i.e. photos of acknowledged "masterpieces" command higher reproduction fees than those of "B-rate" and lesser artworks). Scarcity creates value in capitalist and 20th century economies - see Chris Anderson on the Long Tail for how he contrasts this with the "abundance" of the Internet age - and is also the effect of curation and the art market, which selects only a few artists and artworks for exhibition and collection. I am inspired by fantasies of the guerrilla visitor in the gallery, not only undermining monopolistic copyrights but also the very notion and constitution of the "Canon" by flooding Flickr with amateur photos of what s/he wants to look at...

Nancy Proctor said

at 4:44 pm on Sep 7, 2011

(hitting the 2000 character limit for comments here!) ... But of course, it's not that easy. What visitors see in the gallery has already been the subject of curation, and we do not necessarily immediately respond to that which we have never seen before - to art that is alien to our unschooled eyes - so many visitors are probably most likely to reinforce the Canon by admiring and photographing that which they have been taught is "good art". But perhaps in combination with efforts to digitize and put online all of the museum's or gallery's holdings, some "citizen curators" can start to unravel the confines of the Canon's Baudrillardian territory. It is critical that we who hold the keys to those online datasets think very carefully about how to make those images accessible - all of them - and discoverable so the online experience is not just another repetition of Art History's greatest hits.

Nancy Proctor said

at 5:15 pm on Sep 10, 2011

Great reference, James! I really loved "The Museum Project" series presented in this video - work of hers that I'd not seen before - and Weems' discussion around it from 44:45 in the video. Here is the transcript and I'll try to add one image I found online at http://theswitchboard.wordpress.com/2009/03/:

The museum project, who's in, who's out? Who's in, who's out? Who's in, who's out? So, I started standing in front of museums, right? So, this little woman then is, you know, sort of again, she's like my witness. She's my witness. You know, I go to all these amazing places and I realize that there are very few women and certainly very few people of color represented in any of them. Even though we're all doing better, there's still, you know, there's pretty poor representation, generally speaking. Just bearing witness; allowing the audience to sort of come along with me, to stand behind me. To stand with me in order to bear witness too. I often think how do you get into these spaces, who invites us in? What are the powers and the authorities in museums that tell us that this has very little value and that this is of extraordinary value?What is that system? How does that system work? Why does it nurture certain kinds of artists? Certain kinds of artists from certain kinds of places, from certain paths and positions and histories and classes. How does that work, actually? I'm really interested in how that works, and in some way I'm trying to use my little body to stand in for all that that's somehow left out. That is absolutely devalued. That has no substantial worth. And so, can therefore be, for the most part, dismissed.

Felicity Allen said

at 4:49 am on Sep 13, 2011

Because my new book is called Education (one of the Whitechapel/MIT Documents of Contemporary Art series) it might not seem relevant to people in this Forum, so I thought I'd let you know that one of my aims has been to include representations of feminist contributions to discussions about art education as it applies to formal and informal education, art practice and curatorship. In this, I think, it is a little different from many other recent publications about art education. If you're in or near London, do come to the launch at the Whitechapel on 23 September when I'll be giving a talk http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/shop/product/category_id/1/product_id/1036

Nancy Proctor said

at 11:00 am on Sep 14, 2011

Sounds like a great resource, and it's nice to know there will be a parallel event in London at the same time as ours in DC! We'll be sending you good vibes across the Atlantic. Please share any outcomes from your talk that you can on the wiki or add links here so we can follow up!

Felicity Allen said

at 1:35 pm on Sep 14, 2011

Thanks - our event is considerably more modest, and I wish I could come to yours. I've just seen Nicky Bird's proposed paper which looks really interesting - she might want to see my paper Situating Gallery Education, originally published as part of the Tate Encounters e-journal, which can be found at http://felicityallen.co.uk/library This paper argues that the development of gallery education in the UK (distinguished here from museum education) had strong links to feminist criticism of conventional curating, and gallery education (which was originally inclusive and ranged across age and knowledge base) had strong links to the impulse for access. I'm heading off to the Getty in a couple of weeks to research and write more about the cross cultural and international mutual learning programmes that have been developed out of gallery education in recent years, sometimes leading to exhibitions, considering them in the context of cross cultural and international curation. So let's keep in touch.

Nicky Bird said

at 4:10 pm on Sep 19, 2011

Many thanks Felicity for drawing my attention to your work and your website - this is very pertinent! It is interesting for me as someone who spent mid 1980s to 1992 in arts community education, before I studied with Griselda Pollock on the MA in Feminism & the Visual Arts - both experiences continue to be influential, and I am obviously hoping that the workshop will broaden out beyond the specifics of my practice - so your response is most helpful - and yes let's keep in touch

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