Exhibition as Medium: 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 public museum during the long nineteenth century. But all exhibitions, whether time-bound or “permanent,” tell stories, communicate meaning, and establish values by presenting objects and ideas mediated by space. 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 to complement objects. BGC Gallery Director Nina Stritzler- Levine and other museum professionals will appear as guests, and we will take field trips to critique local collections and exhibitions as well as spend time in our own Gallery at 18 West 86th Street. Assignments will include the preparation of an exhibition proposal and a mock exhibition entailing interpretive components and objects/images using Google SketchUp. Weekly readings will focus largely on curatorial practice and the history of design, decorative arts, and material culture exhibitions. This course is a pre-requisite for those students intending to submit an Exhibition QP. As in other QP tracks, topics will come out of a pre-existing paper. The faculty advisor under whom the original paper was written, together with the instructor of this class, will share advising for the project. Deadlines and other aspects of the QP process will remain consistent with other tracks. Students who are not intending to pursue an exhibition QP are welcome to take this class.

3 Credits.