Paul O'Neill

Paul O'Neill, an artist, curator, educator, and writer, is Artistic Director of Publics, Helsinki, and the author of The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture (MIT Press). He is coeditor of The Curatorial Conundrum: What to Study? What to Research? What to Practice? and How Institutions Think (both published by the MIT Press).

  • Curating After the Global

    Curating After the Global

    Roadmaps for the Present

    Paul O'Neill, Simon Sheikh, Lucy Steeds, and Mick Wilson

    What it means to be global—or to be local—in the context of artistic, curatorial, and theoretical knowledge and practice.

    In this volume, an international, interdisciplinary group of writers discuss what it means to be global—or to be local—in the context of artistic, curatorial and theoretical knowledge and practice. Continuing the discussion begun in The Curatorial Conundrum (2016) and How Institutions Think (2017), Curating After the Global considers curating and questions of locality, geopolitical change, the reassertion of nation-states, and the violent diminishing of citizen and denizen rights across the globe.

    It has become commonplace to talk of a globalized art world and even to speak of contemporary art as a driver of globalization. This universalization of what art is or can be is often presumed to be at the cost of local traditions and any sense of locality and embeddedness. But need this be the case? The contributors to Curating After the Global explore, among other things, specific curatorial projects that may offer roadmaps for the globalized present; new institutional approaches; and ways of thinking, vocabularies, and strategies for moving forward.

    Contributors include Lotte Arndt, Marwa Arsanios, Athena Athanasiou and Simon Sheikh, María Berríos and Jakob Jakobsen, Qalandar Bux Memon, Ntone Edjabe and David Morris, Liam Gillick, Alison Greene, Yaiza María Hernández Velázquez, Prem Krishnamurthy and Emily Smith, Nkule Mabaso, Morad Montazami, Paul-Emmanuel Odin, Vijay Prashad, Kristin Ross, Grace Samboh, Sumesh Sharma, Joshua Simon, Hajnalka Somogyi, Lucy Steeds, Françoise Vergès

    Copublished with the Center for Curatorial Studies Bard College/Luma Foundation

    • Paperback $39.95 £32.00
  • How Institutions Think

    How Institutions Think

    Between Contemporary Art and Curatorial Discourse

    Paul O'Neill, Lucy Steeds, and Mick Wilson

    Reflections on how institutions inform art, curatorial, educational, and research practices while they shape the world around us.

    Contemporary art and curatorial work, and the institutions that house them, have often been centers of power, hierarchy, control, value, and discipline. Even the most progressive among them face the dilemma of existing as institutionalized anti-institutions. This anthology–taking its title from Mary Douglas's 1986 book, How Institutions Think–reconsiders the practices, habits, models, and rhetoric of the institution and the anti-institution in contemporary art and curating. Contributors reflect upon how institutions inform art, curatorial, educational, and research practices as much as they shape the world around us. They consider the institution as an object ofienquiry across many disciplines, including political theory, organizational science, and sociology.

    Bringing together an international and multidisciplinary group of writers, How Institutions Think addresses such questions as whether institution building is still possible, feasible, or desirable; if there are emergent institutional models for progressive art and curatorial research practices; and how we can establish ethical principles and build our institutions accordingly. The first part, “Thinking via Institution,” moves from the particular to the general; the second part, “Thinking about Institution,” considers broader questions about the nature of institutional frameworks.

    Contributors include Nataša Petrešin Bachelez, Dave Beech, Mélanie Bouteloup, Nikita Yingqian Cai, Binna Choi and Annette Kraus, Céline Condorelli, Pip Day, Clémentine Deliss, Keller Easterling and Andrea Phillips, Bassam El Baroni, Charles Esche, Patricia Falguières, Patrick D. Flores, Marina Gržinić, Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, Alhena Katsof, Emily Pethick, Sarah Pierce, Moses Serubiri, Simon Sheikh, Mick Wilson

    • Paperback $34.95 £28.00
  • The Curatorial Conundrum

    The Curatorial Conundrum

    What to Study? What to Research? What to Practice?

    Paul O'Neill, Mick Wilson, and Lucy Steeds

    The future of curatorial practice: how education, research, and institutions can adapt to the expansion of the curatorial field.

    Today curators are sometimes more famous than the artists whose work they curate, and curatorship involves more than choosing objects for an exhibition. The expansion of the curatorial field in recent decades has raised questions about exhibition-making itself and the politics of production, display, and distribution. The Curatorial Conundrum looks at the burgeoning field of curatorship and tries to imagine its future. Indeed, practitioners and theorists consider a variety of futures: the future of curatorial education; the future of curatorial research; the future of curatorial and artistic practice; and the institutions that will make these other futures possible.

    The contributors examine the proliferation of graduate programs in curatorial studies over the last twenty years, and consider what can be taught without giving up what is precisely curatorial, within the ever-expanding parameters of curatorial practice in recent times. They discuss curating as collaborative research, asking what happens when exhibition operates as a mode of research in its own right. They explore curatorial practice as an exercise in questioning the world around us; and they speculate about what it will take to build new, innovative, and progressive curatorial research institutions.

    Contributors Nancy Adajania, Mélanie Bouteloup, Nikita Yingqian Cai, Luis Camnitzer, Eddie Chambers, Zasha Cerizza Colah, Galit Eilat, Liam Gillick, Koyo Kouoh, Miguel A. López, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Paul O'Neill, Tobias Ostrander, João Ribas, Sarah Rifky, Sumesh Sharma, Simon Sheikh, Lucy Steeds, Jeannine Tang, David The, Jelena Vesić & Vladimir Jerić Vlidi, What, How & for Whom/WHW, Mick Wilson, Vivian Ziherl

    Copublished with the Center for Curatorial Studies Bard College/Luma Foundation

    • Paperback $34.95 £28.00
  • The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s)

    The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s)

    Paul O'Neill

    How curating has changed art and how art has changed curating: an examination of the emergence contemporary curatorship.

    Once considered a mere caretaker for collections, the curator is now widely viewed as a globally connected auteur. Over the last twenty-five years, as international group exhibitions and biennials have become the dominant mode of presenting contemporary art to the public, curatorship has begun to be perceived as a constellation of creative activities not unlike artistic praxis. The curator has gone from being a behind-the-scenes organizer and selector to a visible, centrally important cultural producer. In The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s), Paul O'Neill examines the emergence of independent curatorship and the discourse that helped to establish it.

    O'Neill describes how, by the 1980s, curated group exhibitions—large-scale, temporary projects with artworks cast as illustrative fragments—came to be understood as the creative work of curator-auteurs. The proliferation of new biennials and other large international exhibitions in the 1990s created a cohort of high-profile, globally mobile curators, moving from Venice to Paris to Kassel. In the 1990s, curatorial and artistic practice converged, blurring the distinction between artist and curator.

    O'Neill argues that this change in the understanding of curatorship was shaped by a curator-centered discourse that effectively advocated—and authorized—the new independent curatorial practice. Drawing on the extensive curatorial literature and his own interviews with leading curators, critics, art historians, and artists, O'Neill traces the development of the curator-as-artist model and the ways it has been contested. The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s) documents the many ways in which our perception of art has been transformed by curating and the discourses surrounding it.

    • Hardcover $30.95 £25.00
    • Paperback $19.95 £15.99