2005-05-20 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance How To Become A Curator
by Susan Hartenstein

Rockaway Artists Alliance
How To Become A Curator – Part Trois

Gallery Happenings:

A Mixable Feast, Geoff Rawling’s solo exhibition featuring A Month of Sundays of delicious events continues through Sunday, May 29. Admission is free. Gallery hours: Saturdays 12-5 p.m.; Sundays 1-4 p.m.

*Sunday, May 22: Tea for Two Hundred or so – an afternoon of “high art,” high tea and lofty music, poetry and dance. 2 p.m. start at sTudio 7 Gallery.

Figure Drawing Workshop sessions starting this Friday, May 20, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. at Fort Tilden, sTudio 7. Work from a live model. $10 model fee. No pre-registration required.

Upcoming – American Women : A Portrait Series by Constance Del Vecchio Maltese. June 4 – June 26. sTudio 6 Gallery. Opening reception June 5, 1-3 p.m.

Correction: in the column last week I wrote that today, a Ph.D. is becoming a job requirement or a preference by most art institutions of the second category – i.e. museums and galleries of contemporary art and alternative spaces. I meant to write, the first category – i.e. large museums and smaller city and university museums.

This final column in the series will briefly describe a few curatorial study programs and help you to find others. Remember, before you leap into any program, it is advisable to volunteer or intern at a museum or gallery to see if this work is for you. As you read this, keep in mind some of the programmatic features I have listed in previous columns that are important in any preparation for this career.

The Whitney Museum of American Art offers an Independent Study Program (ISP) that consists of four interrelated parts. These include a Curatorial Program, in which Curatorial Fellows collaborate to produce an exhibition. Working with the program faculty and curators at the Whitney Museum, these students develop proposals for the exhibition. Once a proposal is approved, the fellows select the artworks, arrange loans and design and oversee installation of the exhibit. They also write essays for and participate in the production of the catalogue brochure. The other three parts are: Studio Program, which involves art practices; Critical Studies Program, which involves scholarly research and critical writing; and an Architecture and Urban Studies Program, in which fellows engage in the critical study of architecture, the city and the public sphere. Frequent seminars are held by faculty and art professionals at which the fellows from all four programs learn about the other three fields of study and about factors and methods of cultural production and reception.

Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York offers a graduate program from which a student can earn a masters of art in curatorial studies. A student may elect a track in curatorial practice or a track in criticism. The interdisciplinary program provides practical training and experience in a museum setting and an intensive course of study in the history of the visual arts, the institutions and practices of exhibition and the theory and criticism of the visual arts in the modern period. The faculty includes curators and other museum professionals and scholars in the humanities and related fields. The program addresses practical and intellectual aspects of curating contemporary art, the social and cultural environment and art interpretation and critical writing, the latter of which can also provide preparation for work in periods other than contemporary art and museum work other than curating. The program includes an internship with an artist, curator or other arts professional. Visit www.bard.edu/ccs/ graduate to learn more.

New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts (IFA) offers a doctorate-level curatorial studies program jointly with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, under the supervision of faculty, curators and the directors of both institutions.

The purpose of the program is to prepare students for curatorial careers in specialized fields. A master’s degree in art history is earned.

The Certificate in Curatorial Studies is awarded at the completion of all requirements. Colloquia include focus on the role and responsibilities of curators in a museum, emphasize connoisseurship and research methods, provide actual hands-on experience with original works of art in the context of an exhibition and internships at the Metropolitan or other appropriate museums.

A Ph.D. may be pursued. Visit: nyu. edu/gsas/dept/fineart/ifa/curriculum/curatorial.html

Georgetown University offers an interdepartmental program leading to an MA in museum studies. Visit: gwu. edu/ bulletin/grad/mstd.html and investigate that website.

Want more? Type in the keywords: curatorial study programs or contemporary art curatorial study programs and go from there. If you want a really thorough survey of guidelines for curatorial programs go to the College Art Association website: collegeart. org/guidelines/curatorial.html, a major research source for these columns. If you want a listing of museum job positions go to the CAA website or the American Association of Museums website: aam-us.org, where you can also find professional seminars for members.

A broad source for job descriptions in this and related fields and available positions is: nd.edu./~crosen be/jobs. html.

I hope this series has helped you understand the hard work and training behind the simple phrase, “This exhibition has been curated by…” A future column will take you through the steps of planning, organizing and mounting an actual exhibition at the Rockaway Artists Alliance galleries.

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