Category Archives: Assignment 5 – Curating the work

Assignment 5 – Curating the work

Curating research

Reading the book¬†Art and Artifact. The Museum as Medium. James Putnam. Thames and Hudson. 2009¬†has been invaluable for insights into the display of art and I have learnt many things I hadn’t thought of [notes here – Reference 1].

I have also looked at the way the text recommended artists curated their work;

Mari Eastman

This artist seems to use the ‘white cube’ method of display where the work is spaced out on a clean white background with the display in a single line, not always completely straight. I read the artist had thought of displaying in the gallery’s storage and workroom because she had realised that’s where people gather and socialise [2]. It is interesting to have read about artists displaying in gallery lobbys for a similar reason [1].

Andrew Mania [3]

This artist uses some clever devices to frame his work – such as the metal mesh divider between two paintings, and placing a blue bulb to illuminate them, with a painting of a blue shadow. I have also found photos of works placed against wood, and frames so that you could look at work through a round or rectangular frame.

Nadia Hebson

This artist uses the space in a seemingly more random way – looks like there are paintings on the floor, which I haven’t seen before!

In this exhibition the artist had used dry ice as a device, although the reviewer in the piece above was not keen on this prop!

Karen Kilminik [5]

In this exhibition [5] the artist uses a stately home setting as a backdrop for her paintings, with dark walls, separate rooms to give a sense of the works being divided up.

Although I found in her latest exhibition, it is curated more like the white cube again in a very straight single line!


Curating ideas from research;

From reading [1] I did form a few ideas for curating my assingment 5;

  • ask others to curate for me for their personal perspective, although my daughters first thought of curating them ‘from best to worst’ sounded a bit scary!
  • juxtapose them with personal items [? valuable to me like medical equipment] although I bear in mind the OCA text warned against props!
  • interspersed between furniture [gives a flavour of me but is props again]
  • illuminate through fabric if possible [I liked Barbara Bloom’s installation ‘Historical ARt Nouveau’ 1993 where ornate chairs formed shadows], not sure if I have anything that this will work through.


Curating assignment 5

This was an enlightening experience. Having read about curating for the last few days, I also learnt a lot from actually trying to do it myself!

Spaced arrangement;

First, I arranged the work around my landing as that has the biggest expanse of available white wall. They were hard to photograph as they were on four different walls as above! They were not on the same eyeline, and the flow was disrupted by that and by doorway openings. I liked the smaller groups together – ie. the figures, and the two earth coloured paintings, but the tondo and the metal did not really go with anything else and seemed better on their own.

Grouped arrangement;

I think this worked the best, as I had worked out by then which sub groups went best. I had no space to put the figure and portraits together but in an ideal space they would all have been on the same eyeline.

Guest curate;

I asked my daughter to arrange them, and she chose the stairs.


While I think this was an innovative idea, and I liked the upwards flow, I do not this this was sucessful. Paintings in the foreground were naturally thrust forwards, while the ones at the back seemed to fade away. It reminded me of the stairs collage at the William Kentridge study visit [6].

Illumination through cloth;

I tried this with a strong light though cloth but it did not work well and I now see that it would work best with objects and the cloth needs to be much thinner.

I quite liked the illuminated tondo on the right though, I thought it gave it atmosphere.

Using props;

Even though the text warned about this, I thought I would have a go;


It did look twee and rather forced, and I can understand why props with paintings really have to be carefully thought out!

Reflection on different displays;

Apart from my environment, there is no link between these paintings as a whole. I was looking to depict myself, things I like [the life class], environment [city graffiti and rural landscape] and a found images with homemade paint and enamel. By trying to make each one develop a different technique, they have not really come together as a whole. Of the artists I investigated above, I would say the more ‘white cube’ display of Mari Eastman influenced me the most, but I’m glad I tried out different ideas, even to see if they didn’t work. For the future, I would look at a more coherent theme and similar mediums within a series if I wanted it to work better as a collection.