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Rethinking Curating: Art After New Media

by Beryl Graham and Sarah Cook; Forward by Steve Dietz

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, 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.

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.

March 2010
The MIT Press
A Leonardo Book
ISBN: 0-262-01388-6
368 pp., 68 illus.

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"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

 

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