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Cautionary Tales: Critical Curating, "The Curator as Iconoclast," by Boris Groys

Chapter 4 Summery
by

Ramiro Martinez-Saenz

on 10 April 2012

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Transcript of Cautionary Tales: Critical Curating, "The Curator as Iconoclast," by Boris Groys

Groys has written over 150 articles on modern and contemporary art and Russian art and intellectual history in several languages. His books include: (2010) (2010) Art Power (2008) (1992) Dream Factory Communism (2004)
The Total Enlightenment: Conceptual Art in Moscow 1960-1990 (2008) Going Public (2010) Groys has also published Thinking in Loop: Three Videos on Iconoclasm, Ritual and Immortality (DVD, 2008) RUSSIAN PAVILION AT THE 54TH INTERNATIONAL ART EXHIBITION – LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA

Exhibit Title: Empty Zones co-curated the exhibition Medium Religion with Peter Weibel at the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, (2009 Karlsruhe, Germany). Boris Efimovich Groys
Born on 19 March 1947 in Berlin, Germany, Boris Efimovich Groys is an art critic, media theorist and philosopher. He is currently a Global Distinguished Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University and Senior Research Fellow at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design in Karlsruhe, Germany. He has been a professor of Aesthetics, Art History, and Media Theory at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design/Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe and an internationally acclaimed Professor at a number of universities in the United States and Europe, including the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Southern California and the Courtauld Institute of Art London.

Groys has curated numerous exhibitions, including:

♦ Fluchtpunkt Moskau at Ludwig Forum (1994 Aachen, Germany)
♦ Dream Factory Communism at the Schirn Gallery (2003-2004 Frankfurt, Germany)
♦ Privatizations at the KW Institute of Contemporary Art (2004 Berlin, Germany)
♦ Total Enlightenment: Conceptual Art in Moscow 1960–1990 (2008-2009 at Kunsthalle Schirn in Frankfurt, Germany, and Fondacion March in Madrid, Spain).
The theme of 2012 Shanghai Biennale will be “RE-Form/Public/Source/…”. Based on new research on resources and energy, the curating team will study the energy of sites, memories, will, comprehension and, ultimately, the community. Boris Groys Bio: The Curator as Iconoclast Originally art became art through the decicions of the curators, rather than artists. pg. 46 Why have curators lost the power of transforming non-art into art? 19th century museums curators would take objects previously used for various religious rituals and display them as works of art defunctionalizing and taking them out of context transforming them into aesthetically "beautiful" objects of contemplation. alaskanativeartists.com What is Iconoclast?


I·con·o·clast
   [ahy-kon-uh-klast] Show IPA

noun
1.
a person who attacks cherished beliefs, traditional institutions, etc., as being based on error or superstition.

2.
a breaker or destroyer of images, especially those set up for religious veneration.

www.dictionary.com Now it is artists who have the power of transforming non-art into art. Curators only place art work in an exhibit space!

Mr. Groys gives the example; Marcel Duchamp, "Fountain," photo by Alfred Stieglitz. Courtesy SFMOMA

thefirst10000.com Exhibiting an object as art no longer signified its profenation, but is sacralization.
pg. 47

-not in the religiouse sense but in the sense of, "this is what sells!" or Valorizing by labeling it a work of art.

Boris Groys refered to this as Iconophilia!
Modern art wanted to purify the image of everything exterior to it, to render the image autonomous and self-sufficient, but in so doing it only affirmed the dominant iconophilia. Iconoclasm has become subordinate to iconophilia: the image's symbolic martyrdom only strengthens belief in it. pg. 51 . . . Comodity ftishism; a belief in the inherent value of an object, its value being its intrinsic quality.
pg. 48 Traditional Iconoclism functions as a mechanism for the reevaluation of values, destroying old values and idols in order to institute new ones.
pg. 51

So where does the "Iconoclast" come in? Tradition:
Avant-garde artists speak of demolishing traditions, breaking with conventions, destroying their artistic heritage, and annihilating old values.
pg. 50 the value of art based on its intrinsic value. By placing an artwork in a controlled evironment; in the context of other carefully chosen objects; and above all in the framework of a specific story, a narrative, the curator is making an iconoclastic gesture.
pg. 49 According to the tradition of modern art an image must speak for itself; it must immediately convince the spectator, standing in silent contemplation, of its own value.
pg. 47 Back to Duchamp; The artist appropriated the right of the museum curator (the right to say what is and what isnt art) by taking eveyday objects (or profane objects) valorizing it and calling it art. independent curator is an artist that has lost the artist aura, one who no longer has magical powers at his disposal, who can not endow art objects with art's status.
pg. 52 themexicandress.com The contemporary curator is heir to the modern artist, although he doesnt suffer under his predecessor's magical abnormalities.
pg. 52 The independent curator does everything the contemporary artist does. The independent curator travels the world and organizes exhibitions that are comparable to artistic installations, because they are the result of individual curatorial projects, decisions, and actions. Artworks presented in these exhibitons/ installations take on the role of documentation of curatorial project.
pg. 52 The value of art is based on its extrinsic value.
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