Curators archives : 2 many curators

This image reminds me of coming across the Demarco Archive in the old Blackfriars Street Church, Edinburgh which at the time Richard Demarco was using as his gallery, probably around 1985. The piles of materials, lots of paper and print material, undeveloped film canisters – organised chaos. While reading about Szeemann and his practice, it seems similar to Demarco. Demarco famously brought Beuys to Scotland in the 70’s (I do remember seeing Beuys, outside the previous Demarco gallery in the High Street, while I was still at school, I remember the image of the hat and pocket jacket). Its documented that Szeemann made his history with the “When Attitudes Become Form” exhibition in Bern, changing the way we experience an exhibition and how artists and curators make them.
They seemed to work in similar ways, taking risks, being entrepreneurial, making things happen, keeping it going. I’ve just read some reporting on the Trade Secrets curatorial conference at the Banff Centre, Canada (not the NE one) and there are comments from Matthew Higgs and others about the “pandemic” of curatorial courses available and that there is a potential for a new conformity in going against the modernist canon, and so are we creating a new one?, referring to what he perceived as too-frequent study of phenomena like the New York MOMA’s “Information” exhibition of 1970 and Harald Szeeman’s archives. So is it best not to study the history, so that you don’t get any old ideas? or as Cuauhtémoc Medina said that curating to him was a ‘ paradise of the improvised” but “you may not be able to teach curating, it is possible and productive to educate curators”. well thats okay then…

image: Balthasar Burkhard



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