The Artist-run Gallery: Examining the Artist-Curator's Perspective in Curating Exhibitions in University and College Galleries
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThrough this research study I aimed to critically examine the perspectives and experiences of five artist-curators who curate exhibitions at university and college galleries in southwestern US cities. Specifically, I explored how their arts background and their dual roles of artist and curator influenced both their curation and artmaking practices. Two research methods were employed to collect data: case study and arts-based research. These methods resulted in data collected in oral, written and visual documentation formats. As a participant in this study, my individual art and curation practices were documented in part through arts-based research. The findings indicated that (a) all five artist-curators use their curation practice as a teaching tool and that their individual artistic perspectives are reflected in their curation practice; (b) all of the artist-curators use the gallery as an educational tool in conjunction with the mission of their respective institutions; (c) the artist-curators are cognizant of the complex interrelationships that affect their dual roles as artist-curators and educators; (d) reflection on professional curatorial practice plays a significant role in creating and curating artwork as well as in the education process. These findings are consonant with Dewey’s theory of experience and, in particular, continuity of experience where artist-curators reflect on past curation experience to gain a better understanding of their current curation practices, which they then "transfer" to viewers through their acts of creating artwork and curating exhibitions. Additionally, I found (e) a correlation exists between the artist-curators' curation and artmaking practices that suggests that the artists reflected upon their artmaking when curating and vice-versa, which to some extent benefitted both practices; and (f) artists bring fresh perspectives to gallery work. The findings from this study may serve as a springboard for thoughtful conversations concerning the diverse experiences of artist-curators and their perspectives when they curate in university/college galleries. For those individuals interested in pursuing a career in curation, this study will illuminate the experiences of the artist-curator and show how a background in curation not only influences one’s artmaking, but is a valuable tool for educating the community and raising artistic awareness.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Art History & Education