MJ#11

The canon of curating

At the heart of MJ’s 11th issue, “The Canon of Curating,” lies the question on how the canon of curating is to be defined. If “a history of exhibitions” must be written what should its parameters be? In art history, the canon has been losing ground since the 1960s, when the study of “great artists” began to be replaced slowly by the study of the conditions surrounding artistic practice. This shift was also demonstrated by curators of the time. Nevertheless, within the practice of curating, the canon seems to occupy a noteworthy position—if only because some curators still feel the need to “curate outside the canon.” In the Historiography section, Bruce Altshuler explores the discussion and research around the complex establishment of an exhibition canon. Simon Sheikh notes in his contribution that it is important to keep the inclusionary and exclusionary mechanisms of a canon in mind and reconsider the writing of a history of the exhibition canon through ideas and concepts rather than events. In the Studies section, different scholars explore canonical exhibitions from the last century that took place in England, Italy, and Brazil: Elena Crippa investigates the curatorial strategies of the first International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936 at the New Burlington Galleries in London; Paola Nicolin explores the canon of exhibitions in Italy in 1967 and 1968; Inti Guerrero examines the 1998 anthropophagic São Paulo Biennial and its aftermath; and Francesca Franco directs our attention to the curatorial model of the Venice Biennale, focusing on the 1968 and 1974 editions. In an interview with Cristina Freire, Walter Zanini describes his anticanonical curatorial approach for the sixth Jovem Arte Contemporânea exhibition in Sao Pãolo. And in Positions, Bassam El Baroni proposes that a new universality should become the center of curatorial debates, and Jelena Vesić makes five comments on the canons of contemporaneity.

MJ #11 includes contributions by Bruce Altshuler, Bassam El Baroni, Elena Crippa, Francesca Franco, Cristina Freire, Inti Guerrero, Milena Hoegsberg, Fieke Konijn, Olga Kopenkina, Paola Nicolin, Jean-Marc Poinsot, Simon Sheikh, Jelena Vesić, and Walter Zanini.