As curator Steve Dietz has observed, new media art is like contemporary art—but different. New media art involves interactivity, networks, and computation and is often about process rather than objects. New media artworks, difficult to classify according to the traditional art museum categories determined by medium, geography, and chronology. These works present the curator with novel challenges involving interpretation, exhibition, and dissemination. This book views these challenges as opportunities to rethink curatorial practice. It helps curators of new media art develop a set of flexible tools for working in this fast-moving field, and it offers useful lessons from curators and artists for those working in such other areas of art as distributive and participatory systems.
Rethinking Curating explores the characteristics distinctive to new media art, including its immateriality and its questioning of time and space, and relates them to such contemporary art forms as video art, conceptual art, socially engaged art, and performance art. The authors, both of whom have extensive experience as curators, offer numerous examples of artworks and exhibitions to illustrate how the roles of curators and audiences can be redefined in light of new media art's characteristics. They discuss modes of curating, from the familiar default mode of the museum, through parallels with publishing, broadcasting, festivals, and labs, to more recent hybrid ways of working online and off, including collaboration and social networking. Rethinking Curating offers curators a route through the hype around platforms and autonomous zones by following the lead of current artists' practice.
A Leonardo Book
About the Authors
Beryl Graham, an educator, artist, arts organizer, and curator, is Professor of New Media Art at the University of Sunderland and coeditor of CRUMB (the Curatorial Resource for Upstart Media Bliss Web site).
Sarah Cook, a research fellow and cofounder of CRUMB, has curated exhibitions of new media art internationally.
"Rethinking Curating is an invaluable road map to the landscape of contemporary curating and the ways in which the 'behaviors' of new media art have changed institutions, exhibitions, and the roles of curators and audiences. Outlining the characteristics of new media art and their histories, the book comprehensively explores functions of the curator—as filter, producer, or editor—and the exhibition—as touring show, festival, or platform. Multiple artworks and exhibitions serve as case studies that effectively illustrate the complex topography of curating in and for the 21st century."
—Christiane Paul, Curator, Whitney Museum
"The processes of displaying, collecting, and interpreting new media artworks offer considerable challenges to individuals and institutions across the contemporary art world. New media projects and exhibitions are innately complex. And whatever their complexity, they frequently involve much higher levels of public participation and interactivity. In this context, Beryl Graham and Sarah Cook's Rethinking Curating provides an intelligent, well-informed, and creative analysis which will be immensely valuable for the better understanding of this fast-changing field."
—Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London