So the purpose for my blog posts will be keeping everyone up with my curatorial process up until the show/exhibition that will be taking place on September 5th.
Since my last curatorial proposal for the grant I have changed a few things about my research and about the show. Ultimately I decided that doing a show on “the use of popular imagery as a means of critique” was way too general and not challenging enough for yours truly. Considering I have done a show already on the use of appropriation in post-millenial art, I decided that I want to narrow down my focus on something that has caught my interest. For this reason I decided to look into the use of the female body, primarily the female nude, in the discourse of art history and how young artists today are using the female body as a vehicle to address what ever they deem pertinent, and how they are using their mediums to expand the way the female body is seen in art and visual culture. I will come back to this soon.
Although it was first proposed at the Gallatin Gallery, I decided to propose the show outside of the NYU vicinity. The academic environment can obscure the intentions of the artists, considering many of their works critique the academic environment’s influence young artists. Considering that artists in New York are visually informed by more than what they are taught at their respective institutions, I wanted to remove the art outside of that context so we can view the work as a part of New York City, not simply within a small academic community. Luckily I already have a place set: The Living Gallery on Broadway in Bushwick. It’s a spacious gallery with a small courtyard in the back. They are very active in the Bushwick art scene and I appreciated the fact that a creative young woman ran the space, for I feel that it is in tune with the curatorial framework that I’m working with.
I also have a list of artists, many of which have already responded to me showing interest. My goal is to use as many mediums as possible and try to get the most diverse range of experiences and backgrounds to truly get a taste of what is going on in new art and provoke an engaging discourse between the works. So far there will be multi-media works, drawings, videos, site-specific works, photography, sculpture, zines, and performance. It is important to show that the idea of the female body has left the limitations of the framed canvas in the museum and has taken many shapes and forms. Not to mention the fact that young artists today have truly transitioned into a more interdisciplinary practice. Hopefully through the variety of mediums the viewer can understand the importance of style and form when addressing such an institutionalized subject.
Finding the artists and space is the fun part. What is really racking my brain is all the academic research. Don’t get me wrong… I am a nerd and can do research all day. I have already read more than 50 essays in the span of two weeks! The part that is driving me crazy is how I can pull all this research together to not only shape my official curatorial proposal, but how it is going to be integrated into an eloquent and efficient 12-15 page research paper. A paper that not only gives the art historical background of the female nude, starting at modernism, but goes into present day, where the internet and cyber theory (a territory that is relatively new and not addressed as much) obviously has to be included. So far I already have 12 pages! And I’m not nearly done!
I have already met with a few artists and will continue to meet with artists in the next week to discuss the show, their works, and how they want to be involved. This part is, personally, the most fun. I love talking to artists and figuring out how we can involve their work in the show. I don’t want to show images yet because nothing is concrete yet.
The thing about being so young and curating a show is that I will absolutely not have a concrete thesis where I will be mandating what it means to use the female body in the new millenium. Why? Because I don’t have my BA yet, nevermind a Master’s degree that would give me the “credibility” to feel like it’s my place to tell people specifically what they should get from a show. Not to mention that I also simply do not have the answer! All I can do is read and research as much feminist visual theory, critical theory, art historical texts, and post-millenial theory (as well as discussing these topics with the artists) in order to respectfully and eloquently address the works in the space in a way that is relevant and educated. And engaging enough that the viewers won’t be scared away by some pretentious jargon. What I hope will happen is that once all the pieces are up in the gallery, and I can see how viewers are interacting and viewing the works, one can start to gather at least a sense of the importance of the female body and the efforts artists are making today to manipulate the modernist tropes of femininity.
So far I am extremely excited and extremely grateful for the grant. I look forward to seeing what other students are working on!