While I have had the opportunity to curate a few items within my "freshman" year at Living Arts (artists Tim Brown, S. E. Nash, Holy Mother Collective, New Genre Performance Art Festival 2018, Dell Hamilton for Juneteenth 2018, and Landsc(r)aping:Development, Community, Affect from May 2018-July 2018), my sophomore year puts my curatorial practice in a new place. And thus, as many people within the Tulsa community may be unsure as to what I do/think/operate, and I feel it important to submit my current curatorial statement. Last week, I had the platform to reflect and expand upon my curatorial practice; there may be some Living Art(ist)s who will appreciate and benefit from these words.
*note- these statements are always under construction, always within revision, and always need editing. If you would like to inquire and contribute to this conversation/polylogue, please feel free to reach out to me- directly.
My curatorial approach responds to the spatial, historical, and affectual conditions of a given site through group exhibitions that emphasize ephemeral and research-based artwork. I consider how artists exhibit subjective experience through performative means, and respond to site; how artists consider their practices in new ways through group exhibitions, and how viewers reimagine site(s) after witnessing group shows. I often research a place/site by way of texts, articles, histories and local stories in order to understand the conditions of showing artwork and my own implications within complicated histories and contemporary conditions. Because of this, it is important that I curate work that considers the body, place, subject-formation and critical inquiry; art that utilizes aesthetics as a platform for invitation, research, asking questions, generating accountability, and providing thoughtful and empowering experiences for viewers.
Since 2014, I have developed methods of working within and exhibiting ephemeral practices that generate dialogically enriching experiences between artists, artworks, and viewers through: spatial considerations between and among artworks, providing physical and reflective space for each work and for viewers, offering multiple educational platforms within the course of an exhibition to offer engagement for different age groups and learning styles, give artists the opportunity to work with documentation to produce images and video that resonates with, and reflects, their concept. Education is vital within curatorial practice, and I often work with interdisciplinary partners in order to approach the exhibition from multi-faceted perspectives: artist talks may be moderated by someone in the social, natural, or political sciences depending on the content within the exhibition; participating artists may be asked to provide a reading/media list of what they are reading/watching in order for the exhibition to collaborate with a local library or bookstore to showcase those reading lists; exhibitions may work with local social-justice groups for programming; artists provide impact statements after exhibitions as a form of insight and feedback. The entirety of this process actuates my interest in finding interstices between curation and pedagogy: how can we all learn in new ways, from these exhibitions?
When working with artists, I encourage conversation. Rather than selecting particular objects in order to formulate a group exhibition, I curate artists who work with critically-engaged subject matter. Therefore, I often curate the artist, rather than certain work, to be in a group exhibition, providing the artist an opportunity to either show previously created pieces, or develop new work for the exhibition. Rather than telling an artist what to do, I curate relationally and engender agency for the artist. The relational approach exists becomes reflected within the exhibition, as viewers can develop visual and conceptual relationships between performances and artwork. Because I am interested in points of relation between works, I curate group shows that highlight individual artists and develop an organism of the exhibition, itself. This organism may change or grow, as programming occurs during the length of the exhibition, and produces nuances and changes to the entity of the exhibition.
Maura Reilly highlights the relational approach to curating in Curatorial Activism (2017) as “Exhibition as Polylogue… we can present multiplicity in terms of an ongoing dialogue, or more accurately, a Polylogue. A relational approach to curating, then, is interested in… multitude of cacophony of voices, speaking simultaneously. A relational approach to curating presents art as if it were a polysemic site of contradictory positions and contested practices…In a ‘writerly’ exhibition, the reader, or viewer, can be seen as an active participant in the construction, or writing of meaning with respect to works on view.”
I aim to produce exhibitions, festivals, and programs that ignite this Polylogue, curating works that reflect different styles, points of view, and aesthetics, to develop a holistic approach toward materiality and content. As cultural producers, we contend with myriad socio-political and cultural tensions and may offer platforms for conversation rather than statements and directives. I understand my curatorial role as a facilitator in generating shared textual, linguistic, visual, and physical vocabularies for complex ideas and ephemeral media. If an exhibition can offer an opportunity for re-envisioning site through shared time/space, then potent and vital cultural work materializes.