The practices we know today as collecting and curating artworks were recuperated during the Renaissance. Since our study of Module 3, you have been thinking and observing different artworks to compile—or curate—your own hypothetical exhibition. You have also learned what it means to curate, what is a curator, and what is a curatorial statement.
As a final, extended research project, you will be curating a small exhibition of conceptually related artworks. You will write a curatorial essay/statement of at least 500 words explaining your research and exhibition.
What is Curating? What is a Curator?
When we “like” a video on YouTube or an image on Instagram or Pinterest, in essence, we are curating. Curating is simply selecting and separating a set of images, objects, or ideas for the purpose of experiencing and contemplating them as a whole. The job of a curator at a museum is to put together an exhibition of artworks. Their selection is never random. The works usually have in common a medium, genre, subject matter, theme, or concept.
What is a Curatorial Statement?
A curatorial statement is an essay written by a curator meant to explain the rationale behind the exhibition. It is usually a persuasive essay that informs the reader about the premise of the exhibit and describes in detail some of the works to show how they relate to one another and why it is significant to see them together.
Step 1: Access Google’s Art Project
The source for your research will be Google’s Art ProjectLinks ( copy and paste that link to an external site.. Here you have access to several art museum collections from around the world. If you are not familiar with the site, begin by exploring. You can navigate via the left menu panel by looking at collections, themes, artists, mediums, art movements, events, figures, or places. Alternatively, you can use the Explore option (top right) to view artworks by categories, collections, or popular topics. Click on an artwork to gain access to more detailed descriiptions.
Step 2: The Process
After you feel comfortable navigating the site, begin research for your exhibit. Here are the parameters for the exhibit:
It must be an exhibition of 10 different works of art.
The works must come from at least three different civilizations and/or time periods.
The works can use the same or different art media.
The works all must share some theme or concept.
Process of your research:
It is suggested that, rather than choosing a concept and then finding works that rigidly fit that concept, you let your exploration guide you toward a concept.
Here are some terms you can use to begin your research: survival, mortality, mind, gender, power, physics, learning, agony, happiness.
In the “Explore” page of Google’s Art Project, enter any of these terms in the “Search” field. As you explore the art that is presented, begin looking for art that shares formal and conceptual elements. Remember to read the “Details” sections for the images to gain better insight. As you search, you can continue to refine your search by adding other terms. For example, “power” may lead you to the idea of “subjugation” or “energy.” In the “Search” field, you can add search terms by typing a comma between the words.
If you have a Google account, you can log in and save images of artworks into your own gallery. Otherwise, you can save screenshots of the images and details. Edit your gallery to a final 10 artworks that will be your curated exhibit.
Give your exhibition a title.
Writing Your Curatorial Statement Essay
Congratulations, curator, you have chosen the works for the exhibit and given it a title. Now it is time to write a statement that will inform viewers about the show and make them excited to experience it. Here are some guidelines for the paper:
The essay should be at least 500 words, double-spaced.
The initial paragraph should establish the overall premise of the exhibit and the main theme or concept of the show.
The middle paragraphs should describe detailed aspects of four of the 10 artworks. Describe what they have in common and how they each illustrate the overall theme of the show.
In the final paragraph, suggest the wider significance of your theme. Describe what you learned from putting the show together and/or what you hope the viewer takes away from the exhibit.
As with any persuasive essay, think about your audience and any counterarguments or opinions to your ideas and address one of them in some way.
Include within your document a page or two with images of all 10 of the artworks in the exhibit. For each image, include the artwork’s title, artist name or culture, media, and year of execution.
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