Design and Curatorial Thinking

The temporary exhibition, where objects are grouped together for a limited time to elucidate a particular thesis or argument, has been a key curatorial practice since the establishment of the art museum in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century. But all exhibitions, whether time-bound or “permanent,” tell stories, communicate meaning, and establish values by presenting objects and ideas in ways that are always mediated by design. This course will examine how curators and exhibition designers construct aesthetic, historical and didactic narratives and the way they use different modes of interpretation such as text, images and various digital components. Classes will be led by Deborah Krohn and Nina Stritzler-Levine, with guest appearances by museum professionals from BGC and around the city. Classes will take place at BGC, with field trips to local collections and exhibitions. Assignments will include the preparation of an exhibition proposal and a mock exhibition entailing interpretive components and objects/images, using Google SketchUp or Vectors software. Weekly readings will focus largely on curatorial practice and the history of design, decorative arts and material culture exhibitions. 3 credits.