What Is Curating?


What Is Curating?

December 14-16, 2010
Mohile Parikh Center, Mumbai

Installation view of Harald Szeemann: Documenta 5              Exhibition Catalogue
Specific Object, New York

What is the role of the curator? What do curators do, and how do they engage with artists, space, institutions, and audiences? What kinds of research into artists and their work do curators conduct? What are the concepts and models that they use in the making of exhibitions?

This program, co-produced with the Mohile Parikh Center in Mumbai, will examine an evolving definition of contemporary curatorial practice, shaped by institutional professionals, independent curators, and artists. Different curatorial models including solo and group exhibitions, film series, archives, and commissions will be considered and various contexts such as the museum, galleries, or festivals will be examined. With group discussion, the local curatorial context will also be mapped and explored.

This concentrated series of lectures, discussions, and workshops will provide three intensive days of training in the practice of curating a contemporary art exhibition. In addition to introducing the curatorial role and concepts of exhibition-making, the program will include a hands-on exercise in conceiving a small exhibition that will be presented in a gallery space.

Working through conceptual and practical considerations, the participants will engage directly with one of ICI’s Exhibitions in a Box. These shows provide the primary material for exhibitions to be worked out and built upon by curators according to their interests.

The Exhibition in a Box Harald Szeemann: Documenta 5 will provide an archive related to Szeemann’s controversial 1972 exhibition, which defined a watershed moment in modern curatorial history. It includes the exhibition catalogue, ephemera, artists’ publications and editions, as well as published reviews and critical responses. Through a number of workshops focused on the box contents, the participants will devise an exhibition concept and propose relevant modes of display for their own presentation of Harald Szeemann: Documenta 5.

Instruction will include presentations by experienced professionals Susan Hapgood, Senior Advisor, and Renaud Proch, Deputy Director, of Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, and additional guest speakers.

This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation to support the development of ICI’s training courses internationally; and by generous contributions from Toby Devan Lewis, James Cohan, the ICI Board of Trustees, ICI Benefactors Barbara and John Robinson, and ICI Partners and Patrons.

Chatterjee & Lal is the venue sponsor for the Mumbai course.

The Mohile Parikh Center (MPC), Mumbai, is one of the leading centers in India devoted to Art, Culture and Education, with a focus on the visual arts, contemporary culture, media, underserved communities, and continuing education. Since its inception in 1990, it has provided extraordinary opportunities to both emerging and established artists, scholars from a variety of disciplines, cultural theorists, writers, students, children, and the general public to engage and interact with ideas and transformations in culture and society at large. In recognition to its contributions, the MPC has received grants from the Getty Foundation (2004) and its activities are presently supported by Hivos, Doen Foundation, Mondriaan Foundation & Arts Collaboratory. The MPC seeks to offer an integrated approach in interdisciplinary initiatives and lifelong learning by addressing cultural diversity, developing creative modes of pedagogy, and broadening the understanding of various knowledge systems in the contemporary world.

Chatterjee & Lal was formed in 2003 by husband and wife team Mortimer Chatterjee and Tara Lal. Based in Colaba’s art district, the gallery’s program is focused on the work of artists working within India or those with a special interest in the region. Over the last seven years the gallery and its artists have formed an important node in the city’s maturing art scene. In addition to the exhibiting of work within the confines of the gallery, Chatterjee & Lal has also organised a number of projects that have utilised non-traditional spaces within the city by artists that use mediums as diverse as performance, video and installation.


The Curatorial Intensive is ICI’s short-term, low-cost training program that offers emerging curators the chance to develop their exhibition ideas and make connections to leaders in the field, providing the opportunity to forge new international networks through peer-group education. The Curatorial Intensive takes place twice annually in New York, and in other locations in conjunction with institutional partners worldwide.

For more information about this program or the Curatorial Intensive, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 212-254-8200 x26.