unitednationsplaza The Building, Berlin, 2008-2009.
Photo : courtesy of e-flux

Curating the School

Véronique Hudon
The past two decades have borne witness to the emergence of numerous curatorial forms that borrow the school format. These projects place art firmly in the social and community arena, shedding new light on art practice and its impact on our lives. Midway between artistic and curatorial creation, these collective structures redefine hierarchies and roles in the art world.

The term “curatorial” designates a field of practice driven by the reflexive and critical dimension of an exhibition or institution. The curatorial unfolds in the cultural universe by bringing together the social and the political. Through their performative dimension, some curatorial projects resemble what art historian Estelle Zhong Mengual calls “art in common.”1 1 - Estelle Zhong Mengual, L’art en commun: Réinventer les formes du collectif en contexte démocratique (Dijon: Les presses du réel, Œuvres en société, 2019); Baptiste Morizot and Estelle Zhong Mengual, Esthétique de la rencontre: L’énigme de l’art contemporain (Paris: Seuil, L’ordre philosophique, 2018) (our translation). Coproduction is at the heart of these participative works in which the “collective form” constitutes a long-term process realized collaboratively with the artist (or artists) and volunteers. For Zhong Mengual, the variety of approaches taken by the artists in such projects open art up to “all social practices imaginable as material for artistic creation.”2 2 - Zhong Mengual, L’art en commun, 52 (our translation).The aesthetic quality specific to “art in common” materializes in the relationships between artists and participants rather than through the medium of a visual object produced by an artist.

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This article also appears in the issue 104 - Collectives

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