Exhibit A: Authorship on Display

Exhibit A: Authorship on Display

The Graduate Center, CUNY

The Jewel Thief, 2010. Exhibition view, Tang Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, 2010. Photo: Arthur Evans.
March 24, 2014
Exhibit A: Authorship on Display

Monday, April 7, 2014, noon–8pm

The Graduate Center, CUNY
The Skylight Room (9100)
New York, NY 10016
Free and open to the public


In the last two decades, the study of exhibition history has grown exponentially. Yet the discussions around this nascent field are conspicuously bifurcated, shuttling between a small coterie of curators on the one hand, and a select number of scholars on the other. In curatorial circles, discourse often focuses on individual practices, with little sustained reflection on broader historical and museological implications. In academic circles, the history of exhibitions is often situated in terms of spectatorship, without directing attention to the various forms of authorship involved in exhibition making. This conference brings together artists, curators, art historians and emerging scholars for a day-long forum.


Claire Bishop (professor, The Graduate Center, CUNY)

Keynote presentation: The Museum as Gesamtkustwerk
Boris Groys (global distinguished professor, New York University)
Moderated by Claire Bishop

Panel: Exhibiting Experiments
Speakers consider seminal exhibition case studies from the 1960s: Dylaby (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1962), Art By Telephone (Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1969), and the unrealized projects of Harald Szeemann.
Caitlin Burkhart (MA student, California College of the Arts), “Dynamisch Labyrinth: Deconstructing the ‘White Cube’ through Dynamic Environments”
Lucy Hunter (PhD student, Yale University), “Static on the Line: Art By Telephone and Its Technocratic Dilemma”
Pietro Rigolo (Special Collections Cataloguer, Getty Research Institute), “Failure as a Poetic Dimension: Harald Szeemann’s Unrealized Projects”
Moderated by Grant Johnson (PhD student, The Graduate Center, CUNY)


Panel: The Retrospective
Despite its crucial art historical importance and current ubiquity in the art world, little has been written on the retrospective within the framework of curatorial innovation. How have various actors—including artists, curators, collectors and artists’ estates—negotiated authorship within the format of the retrospective?
João Ribas (Deputy Director and Senior Curator, Serralves Foundation), “Just what is it that makes today’s solo exhibitions so different, so appealing?”
Lynne Cooke (professor, CASVA), “Rosemarie Trockel: way leads on to way…”
Lewis Kachur (professor, Kean University), “Maurizio Cattelan’s Guggenheim Museum Un-retrospective”
Moderated by Chelsea Haines (PhD student, The Graduate Center, CUNY)

Panel: The Artist-Curator
In the 1990s, artists and curators started working more collaboratively, embracing discursive and performative approaches to exhibition-making. Such alliances have resulted in a blurring of authorial roles to the point where the division of labor between these two figures has been all but expunged. Is there any longer a need to uphold this distinction?
Florence Ostende (Adjunct Curator, Dallas Contemporary), “Exhibitions by Artists: Another Occupation?”
Carol Bove (artist), “Gossip and Ridicule”
Ian Berry (Director, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery), “The Jewel Thief”
Josh Kline (artist and independent curator), “Conservative Curation”
Moderated by Natalie Musteata (PhD candidate, The Graduate Center, CUNY)


Discussion and response
David Joselit (Distinguished Professor, The Graduate Center, CUNY) and Dieter Roelstraete (Senior Curator, MCA Chicago) respond to the key ideas of the day’s proceedings.

This event is free and open to the public. For live stream viewing, see here.

For more information about Exhibit A: Authorship on Display, visit the website of The Center for the Humanities. This event is organized in tandem with A Story of Two Museums: An Ethnographic Exhibition at The James Gallery, on view April 4–June 7.

Exhibit A: Authorship on Display is organized by Chelsea Haines, Grant Johnson, and Natalie Musteata with the support of the John Rewald Endowment of the PhD program in Art History, The Center for the Humanities, and the Doctoral Students’ Council of The Graduate Center, CUNY.

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The Graduate Center, CUNY
March 24, 2014

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