September 10, 2012 - Independent Curators International (ICI) - Thinking Contemporary Curating
September 10, 2012

Thinking Contemporary Curating

Thinking Contemporary Curating by Terry Smith
Introduction by Kate Fowle 
Softcover, 272 pages
54 B&W illustrations

Published by:
Independent Curators International (ICI), 2012

“Do curators think in ways that are unique to their profession? Can curatorial thought be distinguished from the thinking processes within the myriad of closely related practices—especially art criticism, art history, and art making—and from curating within other kinds of museum or display spaces, public and private?”
–Terry Smith

Thinking Contemporary Curating is the first book to offer an in-depth analysis of the volatile territory of international curatorial practice and the thinking—or insight—that underpins it. In five essays, renowned art historian and critic Terry Smith describes how today curators take on roles far beyond exhibition making, to include reimagining museums; writing the history of curating; creating discursive platforms and undertaking social or political activism, as well as rethinking spectatorship.

The catalyst for the publication was “The Now Museum” conference that ICI produced in collaboration with the CUNY Graduate Center and the New Museum in New York in 2011. In panel discussions and lectures over 30 leading artists, art historians, curators, and museum directors, such as art historian Claire Bishop, Okwui Enwezor (Director, Haus der Kunst), Massimiliano Gioni (Associate Director and Director of Exhibitions, New Museum), Lu Jie (Director, Long March), Maria Lind (Director, Tensta Konsthall) and Terry Smith discussed the diversification of the notion of the “museum of contemporary art,” providing intergenerational perspectives on recent developments across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. This spurred a year-long journey for Smith, responding to ideas, events, and encounters in the artworld in the process of questioning what “curating” is today, which forms the heart of this publication.

“Through his act of global metacurating, Terry Smith places different and sometimes contradictory curatorial practices and attitudes into a panorama that fascinates and intellectually engages the reader. It is a must-read for everybody who wants to understand the inner logic of contemporary art processes.”
–Boris Groys, Global Distinguished Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies, New York University

Thinking Contemporary Curating is the first in a new series entitled Perspectives in Curating developed by ICI to provide sustained analysis on topics that are pressing for curators now.

Thinking Contemporary Curating was made possible, in part, by grants from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation. Additional support for this publication was received from the ICI International Forum Patrons Melva Bucksbaum and Raymond Learsy, Haro and Bilge Cumbusyan, Carol and Arthur Goldberg, Belinda Kielland, Patricia and Charles Selden, Younghee Kim-Wait, Georgia Welles, and Elizabeth Erdreich White.

By Terry Smith. Introduction by Kate Fowle.
Softcover, 272 pages, 54 B&W illustrations.
Published by Independent Curators International (ICI), 2012.

e-book version available through Distributed Art Publishers (DAP), September 2012

Upcoming events:
Book Launch & Reading with Terry Smith
Tuesday, September 18, 7–9pm
New York University
rsvp [​at​]

Terry Smith in conversation with Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy
Sunday, September 30, 3–4pm
New York Art Book Fair

Terry Smith in conversation with Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev
Sunday, October 14, 3–4pm
The New Museum

Terry Smith in conversation with Jens Hoffmann
Tuesday, October 23, 7–9pm
Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art
California College of the Arts

Terry Smith in conversation with Mary Jane Jacob
Sunday, November 18, 1–3pm
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

About Terry Smith
Terry Smith is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. His major research interests include global contemporary art; the histories of multiple modernities and modernisms; the history and theory of contemporaneity; and the historiography of art history and art criticism. Among Smith’s most recent publications is What is Contemporary Art? (2009), which won the College Art Association’s Mather Award for the best book of art criticism published in 2010.

About ICI
Independent Curators International (ICI) produces exhibitions, events, publications, and curatorial training for diverse audiences around the world. Since 1975 ICI’s mission has been to connect emerging and established curators, artists, and institutions, forging international networks and generating new forms of collaboration.

Since 2010, 13 ICI exhibitions have been presented by 83 venues in 27 countries profiling the work of over 613 artists worldwide; 134 curators and artists from the U.S. and abroad have contributed to ICI’s talks programs, online journal, and conferences; and 165 curators from 39 countries and 19 U.S. states have participated in the Curatorial Intensives.

Independent Curators International (ICI)
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