The Art of Curation
Tiffany Tsao • 18 March 2022
At The Circular, we think a lot about curation. It’s our raison d’être, after all. We look through the enormous list we’ve compiled of 'Pieces We Think Are Awesome with a capital A' and think about how they speak to each other. We think about how best to foreground these dialogues through the theme we choose and what pieces we select. We ask: in what order should the pieces be read? Which lines should we quote? How can we describe each piece without being reductive?
So, perhaps it was inevitable that we would one day curate an edition about curating. We begin with Sachini Poogoda and Lauren Pratt exchanging their impressions of the 'Connections' exhibition at Western Australia’s Boola Bardip museum. From there, we hop to the National Gallery of Victoria, where Jared M. Field shares his thoughts on their 'Big Weather' exhibition.
Is it possible to curate an item that is digital, time-specific, and diffuse? Tiiu Meiner grapples with the problem of how to collect, archive, and display conspiracy theories for a museum-going public.
We’ve included two texts from the five that make up 'Arts Lives Here' – a collaborative art criticism series between The Finishing School, Parramatta Artists’ Studio, and Griffith Review. (We encourage you to check out the whole project.) How does the artist – and more specifically, the artist who is a mother – curate her artist self? Felicity Castagna and Sheila Ngọc Phạm explore these issues in their critiques, respectively, of Linda Brescia’s and Marikit Santiago’s artwork.
'I’m just going to make a confident stance with it. Whether it’s taboo or not, whether it’s welcome in the Australian contemporary art world or not, that’s where I’m at': Santiago can use her art to defy and define herself. But what of those whose lives are curated for them? The closing piece in our collection – Eunice Andrada’s powerful poem 'Pipeline Polyptych' – sheds light on the saintly poses in the structures of 'colonial architecture' that, throughout history, Filipino women and men have been forced to strike and hold.
And speaking of curation, we’re pleased to announce that our curator for next week will be none other than Jon Tjhia. He will be drawing on his expertise as a radio-maker, musician, artist, and writer to guest-edit a special audio issue of The Circular, and we couldn’t be more excited. (Do subscribe so you don’t miss it!) We close with his recent essay on capitalist society's bizarre and chilling drive to quantify, standardise, optimise, fungible-ise people, communities, life.
A reminder that our open call for guest editors closes on 1 April. We seek three guest editors to curate the following editions for first weeks of September, October, and November 2022.
- An audio edition that brings together compelling non-fiction audio recordings according to an organising principle of the guest editor’s choice.
- A graphic edition that brings together compelling graphic non-fiction according to an organising principle of the guest editor’s choice.
- An open edition, curated according to any organising principle of the guest editor’s choice. You can find the full details on our website.