— Claes Oldenburg (via artnotartnot)
of reducing gallery objects to the common level of the everyday object, this ironic
gesture simply extended the reach of the gallery’s exhibition territory.” [Dan Graham] One must
return to Fountain, the most notorious and most interesting of the readymades, to see
that the gesture does not simply raise epistemological questions about the nature of
art, but enacts the dispersion of objects into discourse."
— Seth Price - Dispersion (2008)
I recently applied to be a writer for Plymouth Art Centre’s blog. I was accepted and asked to attend, photograph and write about The Way We Were, a closing event on Saturday 1st February, for the exhibition Looe Street Detectives at Plymouth Art Centre.
On the 19th February 2014 I received the following response to my application for the PAC Home Curatorial Grant:
Thank you for putting significant time and effort into your proposal for the PAC Home Curatorial Grant.
Your proposal has not been selected however I hope that the work you have put into planning the proposal will have been of use in thinking about your curatorial practice. I would like to encourage you to consider developing your proposal further and seek other opportunities to make it happen. If PAC Home or PAC staff can offer specific support with that do get in touch to ask for it.
If you would like to have feedback on your proposal I am happy to offer comments and observations though please remember that feedback is specific to this opportunity and may not be applicable for other opportunities you are applying for.
The selected proposal will be announced in the next PAC Home Newsletter, along with information about when and where it will be. I hope that you’ll be able to come along to it and support other artists in PAC Home.
I’d also like to remind you of the next PAC Home Talk, which is Glasgow/Bristol based artist Alexander Stevenson talking about The Wild Project, tomorrow at 6pm. Free for PAC Home members, £3 for non-members.
Thank you again and best wishes,
– Vickie Fear | Programme Assistant | Plymouth Arts Centre”
Due to finding out that my lecturer was intending to apply for the same curatorial grant as me, I felt as though I would not be able to ask her for advice or feedback on my proposal. Luckily Harry William Watson managed to get in contact with a gallery owner who is a friend of his sister, who was able to give me feedback on my proposal. The feedback is below.
"Artists: Amanda Leman, Carl Arnold-Young, Harry William Watson
I would say everything you need is here it just needs re-ordering as currently I don’t know what is being proposed till half way through this paragraph and editing so that this section is only about the curatorial aims for why it relevant and important for this exhibition to take place.
1.What do you want to do? Within 25 words I should be able to know if I’m interested in what is being proposed or not – i.e. Curate a group show focused on a consideration of modes of perception which then stimulates a broader curatorial intention to increase the access and visibility to work made by emerging and mid-career artists
2. How will this manifest – Artists included and wee bit about work (what you have is totally fine)
3. Expand on why the linking thematics of these artists and their current positioning as emerging fits your curatorial aims. This is where the final part of your below paragraph is really good in regards long-term goal beyond the exhibition.
“Carl Arnold-Young focuses on the perception of high and low culture, as well as the emotional and physical self when creating paintings through performance, questioning how painting is viewed and produced. A subversive use of traditional mediums is also seen in the work of Harry William Watson who produces structural forms or imagery as a catalyst for self reflection and consideration of human behaviour, placing a value on negative space as a tool within the work. This ties into the work of Amanda Leman, who looks at perception of self and hidden emotion through a process of repetitive application or removal. All artists explore how structure, process, action and form can exhibit emotion and an idea of self. I intend to exhibit works by Leman and Watson and commission a performance work for the exhibition opening by Arnold-Young, the results of which would then be exhibited within the gallery. Bringing this performance element into the exhibition and the opening will draw a larger audience” why is this relevant to the curatorial aim? “and push the exhibition further” How will it? “whilst still retaining the key exhibition concept” I currently don’t yet know what this are. “Bringing together emerging artists, I wish to create a stepping stone by exhibiting the work of students and alumni from both Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth University to give opportunities to those who would not necessarily fit within the vision of higher profile exhibiting spaces within Plymouth. This is not to say these spaces should be providing for this level of artists but that I want to take the opportunity to fill this gap.” I understand what you are trying to say, but I would re-word this so that it sounds more like a curatorial objective rather than a criticism that PCA could be doing more to support emerging artists. Always think ‘how can I integrate my questions or address them as part of the curation of the show’ whether this is made explicit or not in the realisation and presentation. “This is a long term plan that I have already began to take steps towards as part of Dis. Collective, a Plymouth based art collective. I view the PAC Home Curatorial Grant as just an early step in my long term goals.” Repetitive use of the word step. Rub their ego slightly, and suggest how this will act as a catalyst to longer ideas. “By exhibiting artists and accessing the support sessions offered with the curatorial grant, I feel I would gain the most from this opportunity because I can take what I have learnt to help further develop Plymouths art scene. Although I am exhibiting the work of students, I do not intend for it to emulate a graduate showcase, I have selected artists from multiple institutions within Plymouth who’s work fits together through their practice and conceptual focus.” Don’t even include this as you mentioning this immediately makes me doubt the standard of the work – something that otherwise may not entire my head. “View further details on Dis. Collective here: http://siobhanfedden.wordpress.com/category/dis- collective/“
Preferred Support Sessions: “All (if possible)“
I would be more specific here and select those that are most relevant to your proposal. I would suggest from your proposal the below. You can suggest you would also be interested in the other but you need to suggest you have given this some thought.
Curating and exhibition interpretation
Legacy and future strategy
Technical Requirements: “Exhibition instillation and de-instillation equipment and materials (drill, paint, screws, protective cloths, cleaning materials, spirit level, step ladder)“
Initial Marketing Strategy:
“The focus of the marketing strategy will be primarily online, utilizing social media to access the student demographic who predominantly contact each other and source event information online. This allows direct promotion to groups who are attracted to the type of work exhibited and access to a wider audience. The student demographic is the focus as PCA and art courses at Plymouth University, provide a large audience with a direct interest in art. Due to the involvement of artists who attend these institutions, I have direct email access to the large student population. A poster will be produced to distribute within Plymouth and used online as promotional tool. Use of social media and the internet lowers advertisement production costs, which is vital considering the limited budget. The performance work will be filmed and published online as promotion. By building an online presence for the exhibition I can promote the artists work and Plymouth Art Centre.”
This is quite long-winded. It is good to be clearer. State who your distribution list and target audience are and how you will reach them through a bulleted list of marketing methods for pre and post opening including Social Media, Poster Campaign, Local listings. The film idea is really good – having quickly looked at the Dis. Collective blog it may be worth pushing how this meets Siobhan interest in ‘focusing on the role of institutions and their relationship with developing technology in terms of how art is experienced’. It also broadens the visibility of the artists, PCA and Siobhan’s curatorial enquiry to a potentially national and international level. If you want, Generator is part of the Hot 100 so I can quickly pass on info to all these spaces who will then spread it further.
* As this is to curate a show, I’d recommend the heading of ‘Curatorial Work’ rather than Gallery work as immediately makes them aware your lead has relevant experience.
* Always include two reference
* Sometime worth fully designing a CV so it is visually eye-catching – odd band of colour goes a long way. We received one recently that was actually beautiful and it totally stuck in our minds that the applicant had an eye for good design.
* I would include In-kind costs. So basically the work you will all be doing to either produce work or organise the exhibition should be cost at an hourly rate (officially this is £20-£25 p.h. but as you are all still studying I would lower this to £10ish) Another way of doing this is setting the artists a set fee, which is clearly stated as in-kind. As a small artist-led space we would always do a minimum fee of £100 with production costs and travel on top.
* Check spelling of installation.
* I would try get confirmation on the opening night as otherwise this is £50 that could be allocated elsewhere in your budget.
* I would include the quantity of your poster and guide run as that is a third of your budget going on posters.
* You don’t need to include this ‘Already Confirmed/Sought Equipment and Materials: drill, brackets, broom,vacuum cleaner, spirit level, step ladder’
* Don’t understand exactly what this means ‘***Already confirmed that the Exhibition Guide production will be completed by all involved to reduce cost.’ and therefore not necessary.
* I would be careful of including that you will share any left-over money between yourselves. Given the low level funding you are applying for I suspect it is unlikely they expect you to pay yourselves. I’ve had a look on the PAC site for guidelines for this fund to check this but couldn’t find them.
* A contingency should only be 5% of your budget. Yours currently stands at 14%. I would lower this by increasing costs elsewhere in your budget. Your install costs are extremely low!”
“I work with the unseen, we are all lived through our unconscious, our drives and primal urges connect us all. Through the use of oils, egg tempera, words and plaster I make pieces that speak for my unconscious. I paint to meet the person I want to be and along the way I meet the edges where I dissolve. I am interested in the complexity of being human and what it means to accept your fragility. I use found supports and carve into them, reworking their appearance and resolving inner conflicts with each piece. Bleached and abstracted paintings drenched in whiting hint at the turmoil that lies beneath. The free and spontaneous nature of my work allows for surprise and an ever changing perspective on what it is to be human.”
“I am a mixed media artist/performer; my work explores the dynamic relationships between sound and visuals with a performative aspect. I intend to bring ‘street’ to the institution. I have soaked up the hip hop lifestyle; music is a big part of my life as well as my art, it’s only logical to combine these two passions together. Hip Hop is my identity and this is current in my practice. I feel as if I’m at a start of something really interesting and unique with my most recent work ‘beatbox painting performance’ I like to question what art is?, creating work that challenges perceptions of what painting can be. My current work combines my beatboxing talent with painting. I have completely rejected all conventional means of traditional art making by literally throwing away my paint brushes and pushing the easel to one side. For a while now I have combined my hip-hop talent beatboxing with my fine art practice, mixing together these high and low cultures to create something unique and fresh while also questioning these values and the distinctions between them. I now use my mouth as the painting device, spitting out paint onto a surface while beatboxing (creating sounds). The action of spitting is something that is seen as disgusting and to spit on the floor in the 1850’s would be seen as a vulgar act. Furthermore to spit on someone’s face is a universal sign of anger, hated, disrespect and or contempt. I see the action of me spitting the paint as a rebellious gesture, rebelling to the conventional ways of making art. When creating the paintings I take swig of the paint, then attack the canvas releasing a combo of sounds (kicks and snares) working from left to right, the same way you would read music, gradually building up layers of marks created by individual sounds. When I stop it’s just like I’ve finished a piece of music all the parts involved are working together compositionally, nothing needs to be added or taken away. I find it compelling that I can create something beautiful from an action that is considered to be ugly. The marks themselves that I make have a similar resemblance to marks of that created by a spray can. The marks leave drips that are prominent in graffiti art.”
Harry William Watson:
“My artwork consists of many fragments of matter, brought together via my observations of human behaviour, these of which I feel necessary to condense into minimalistic forms. Bringing the philosophies of my thought pattern into physical work while manipulating the viewer’s metaphysical boundaries and constraints, thus broadening their horizons with the questions of their presence within themselves, letting them querying the idea for free thinking. I idolise the use of formulating negative space to encompass my concepts yet also use it as an extension on emotion that doesn’t exist in literal matter. In view this gives opposing spaces notion and meaning, not blank space but the measure of ones thoughts. In addition to the use of extensions I feel obliged to feed balance within the work. Its qualities bring structural support, something of which we all naturally perceive as comfort. In return the work grasps aspects of architectural forms to guide the space and depth. These forms then turn into the measurements of how we may visualize our obstructions.
The works displayed here may vary from their medium; however pose only the same concepts in place. The collage only threatens its materialistic use of the ‘woman magazine’ because of the abstraction of paint in which removes itself from the constructive configuration only to confront the structure from a different view point. The paints texture and measurement is to provoke the viewer into realising their challenges or approval. In addition to the collage the sculpture lets the viewer observe their spatial awareness and comfort abilities(their negative space). It is only their presence within the space that allows the sculpture to include their values, as they become the oil mark.”
“My work ‘tip toes’ between the commercial necessity of sustaining individual practice and a wider social activity driven by my interest in notions of autonomy and isolation. Each project provides a platform for social engagement and exchange by inviting artists/ interested parties to participate in the process painting and other creative activities. Questions around value and authorship are explored where creative outcomes(whilst being purposive) almost become a by-product of the act of sharing ideas/ artistic concerns. Possibilities for new creative opportunities are examined whilst strengthening networks within the community.”
- Carl Arnold-Young
- Paul Hillon
- Amanda Leman
- Harry William Watson
The most vital part of the exhibition proposal was choosing the artists involved. Using Harry William Watson’s work as a starting point to source other artists and generate a concept. The artists concepts behind their work can be viewed here. It has been a long held decision by Dis. Collective that we wished to exhibit Amanda Leman’s work with Watson’s work, which brought in my second artist. Finding the third was not difficult, as I have known about Carl Arnold-Young’s art practice for a year and a half. With the display of two artists, Watson and Leman, who’s work has a very passive level of engagement, I wanted to explore how related concepts could be portrayed through artwork gives that a different level of spectatorship or involvement. With this search for differing levels of engagement in mind, I made the decision that instead of just exhibiting the results of Arnold-Young’s performances, I wanted to audience to really experience it. Commissioning a performance for the opening night of the exhibition provides something unexpected for the audience, a closer level of involvement in the work. I also hope that by creating this event, I can bring a larger audience, which is vital as the artists exhibited are only at an emerging level in their practice and it also promotes the art centre. A film of the performance can then be used as a marketing tool after the opening night, to attract more visitors to Plymouth Art Centre. The work resulting from the performance will be displayed in the exhibition space as a record of the performance artwork and as an artwork in itself. It was also important for me to exhibit artwork from Plymouth University as well as the College of Art, to represent Plymouth students as a whole rather than exhibiting one institutions artists. At this point I felt I could really see how these artists would piece together, but that there was something missing, that I wanted to push the notion of engagement in another way as well. The concept that joins these artists together is the exploration of self-other relations, so I knew I needed another artist that explores this with a different level of engagement. Paul Hillons work fitted into this perfectly through his explorations into collaborative painting as a result of conversation, where the process of production is as much the work as the final result. This event is a private experience between two people, with the privacy allowing for more openness and honesty in conversation.
To view a more in depth summary of each artists concept click here.
PAC Home Curatorial Grant Submission Guidelines
Initially the decision to apply for the PAC Home Curatorial Grant was difficult, as I only became aware of it two weeks before the proposal deadline and with all of the other work I had to do in terms of dissertation, community arts work, etc I had to be sure I could commit to it fully. However once I started building the proposal, I had no doubt that I wanted to apply as it would be such an amazing opportunity for both myself, for Dis. Collective and the artists involved. In terms of my future and education, having the opportunity to professionally manage and curate an art exhibition, will really help me in terms of experience and education. It will be a catalyst for my future goal to set up exhibition space, wether the final result is a physical gallery or a conceptual framework for the construction of exhibitions on one or multiple platforms.
The first step I took in creating the proposal for PAC Home curatorial grant was to discuss with all members of Dis. Collective as to how we go about applying and how it relates to our long term goal of exhibiting emerging artists. We agreed that as my interest is more curatorial focused, I would be the one to complete the application and Harry would shift into the role of the artist, but still be on hand for brainstorming ideas, exhibition install/de-install and making sure that although it is written just my myself, that the result still fits with our objectives as a collective. The second step I took was to break down what is required for the proposal, which can be seen below.
PAC Home Curatorial Proposal
what the event/exhibition concept is: students – plus how artists work fits together
the venue (PAC or elsewhere; if elsewhere whether the venue is confirmed): PAC
date/s and duration (confirmed or preferred date/s),
technical requirements (including confirmed/sought equipment)
initial marketing strategy
preferred support sessions with PAC staff
Key areas for exhibition concept:
Creating opportunity for student/alumni (emerging artists)
Plymouth currently does not have gallery space at this level
Long term plan
How support sessions will have most value for us
Artists chose from both PCA and Plym Uni
Details of artists
Concepts/details of work in terms of how they fit together
Create events within exhibition period to bring in audience (carl creating ‘live’ work) – opening night
Names of artworks ?
Scale/dimensions of works ?
images of artworks – one from each artist
essentially I would be commissioning carl to produce new work
Notes on the process:
- I am struggling writing the PAC Home Curatorial proposal because it is from just myself, even though the exhibition work I have done before was with harry as we are working together. So now I have to present everything in a different way but do not want to discount the work harry has put in.
Saying that my aim is to exhibit the work of students and alumni to give opportunities to those who would not necessarily fit within the vision of higher profile exhibiting spaces within Plymouth, could be taken in the wrong way by higher profile spaces. I do not feel it is a negative to the pre-existing spaces within plymouth but may come across in that way. Theres nothing wrong with the current institutions providing for the level of artists they do, in fact its a positive and without it Plymouths art scene would not function. Through my work I just want to fill this gap to provide for a different level of artists. Which can only be a positive for all exhibition spaces within plymouth.
commissioning work from carl means I don’t need to view his work in person before I submit the proposal
Dis. Collective -> Dis. Exhibition?
Concept behind artists work:
- who is involved?
carls performance – bringing audience/doing something new/not usually seen at art opening
how the works fit together
painting/use of paint?
Support sessions: all or as many that can be made available?
dis collective: Giving students and alumni something to strive for as they will have the space to exhibit work in, from their studies, to give confidence that they can exhibit their work outside of graduate exhibitions within the institution. As students ourselves we understand that there is a feeling of being outsiders to Plymouths art scene, that we are contained within the constraints of the institution and not taken seriously as artists. We wish to break this barrier and form a link between these differences, making our presence in plymouth acknowledged.
Artwork Exhibited: We aim to source artwork that exhibits a strong concept and a clear process and research method to illustrate the development of their practice. We do not wish to exhibit intuitive lead artwork as we feel this lacks strong conceptual awareness and does not fit within our interests.
Thoughts on proposal:
We could present it as a long term plan…so talk about all the student related stuff we think is important, in terms of creating opportunity. Then talk about how this would just be the first step in a longer series of exhibitions. Talk about how the grant/ help sessions would benefit us more than anyone else because we aim to utilise this information in the future. This grant/help gives us a starting point that we can develop from & would be most helpful to us in terms of education/work
so this exhibition would be a learning process that we will progress from
obviously theres still the issue of which artists we exhibit.
- So long as its me curating rather than all of Dis. Collective, I can exhibit the other members work, plus others.. without the issues that arise from curator exhibiting own work.
- I want to include Plymouth university and PCA students, so it doesn’t emulate a PCA grad show and so i’m not just showing off the results of one institution
- I do know some people on the university fine art course, the issue then is it becomes a thing were we are exhibiting friends work. Is that an issue?
- but we can talk about how in the future.. the process we would go through involving the uni & college & a panel of judges to source artist and that the only reason we are not doing that this time is because of their proposal limitations
cleaning materials (to clean up after carls performance)
sheets for carls performance to reduce mess
advertising – social media (facebook, twitter). Access to uni/pca (email all students). poster (clean, b&w, graphic, geometric, date of exhibition, name of exhibition & artists & produced by dis collective, curated by x): poster is also used as advertising online.
pay graphic designer for poster? (adam)
opening night – drinks/food
paint/filler – for any holes/marks made on walls
printing cost for exhibition guide/description (1 side of A4) – explanation of exhibition/artists concept.
- – Poster production & Printing cost and marketing (poster and exhibition guide): £170
Opening night drinks/food/tableware: (if applicable. If art center wishes to sell food/drink instead, then this is not required): £50
Materials for exhibition instillation and de-instillation (screws, paint, etc) £30
Floor/wall protective covering and cleaning materials for commissioned artwork event £20
-Unforseen costs: £30?
- How much as Unforseen?
- use these as title sections – with subsections underneither for more exact costs?
Cant afford to pay artists or curator due to limited budget of £300
Can I include: “Due to a limited budget, all parties involved have agreed that they are not to be paid within the budget plan but any leftover financial aid will be shared equally between all parties” ?
do they allow for drinks/food for opening night or do they want people to buy from their cafe/bar?
In the ‘key dates’ section of the PAC Home Curatorial Grant information page it states that the exhibition will run from March 1st – March 31st. However it also states in the proposal guidelines that I am required to state the duration of the exhibition. So I am uncertain about when the exhibition will happen. Does this mean that the exhibition is required to run from March 1st until March 31st or that I am free to choose a length of time within these dates, to exhibit work? But that I could exhibit for the full month if I chose to.
What I need from artists:
Images of single artwork shown
Dimensions of artwork shown
Examples of work: (hight, width, depth – Inches)
Carl: filmstill from performance
I am currently working towards creating content for the BB Roots website. This involves me writing summaries of all the work and events that have happened as part of the BB Roots project. I was emailed a loose summary of three out of the seven projects as a starting point for my work as I have not been directly involved with any of the projects due to my work in web development for BB Roots. From these summaries I created pieces of writing about the Riverside School Art and History Project, Bonkers Bunting and the Kinterbury Creek Community Soundscape Project. The original summary of the Kinterbury Creek Community Soundscape Project was written by artist, Tony Whitehead, so it was in depth enough that I was able to produce a full explanation of the work. However, the information I was sent about the Riverside School Art and History Project and the Bonkers Bunting Project, lacked depth, so I have contacted those involved to ask for further information. I sourced the basic information on the Down The Tamar project from the BB Roots Facebook page and have adapted it for website display. The remaining projects are Barneoke, a Barne Barton based talent contest that occurred in summer 2013, a mural project which involved artist Philip Harvey and a photomontage based project commissioned to Dom Moore, commencing April 2014. I have been in contact with Dom Moore, who has informed me that he is able to email me the full details of his work in Barne Barton which I can then develop into a project summary.
In this meeting we discussed the web content in more depth and clarified which areas need working on. We also confirmed each project section that needs to be written and created a list of all those involved with BB Roots, in terms of Partners and Community Groups so that we make sure there is information about them on the website. At this point the website still has not been completed by Will Hubbard so we cannot upload content, even though the website completion deadline has passed.
I have recently been really struggling with the creation of artwork. This is in part due to the amount of curatorial and dissertation work I have to do and in part due to putting a lot of pressure on myself to figure out how to create film for the space I created. I have created an environment and context that explores the curation of art online and offline through the use of live stream to create a dual audiences, one online and one offline. I created a cinematic viewing space, to explore how, due to the commercialization cinema, art film has now found a home both online and within temporary structures in art galleries. This space holds a single, physical audience member. The limited access relates to the limited access to art film but also explores how art is viewed and how the audience can be arranged/manipulated to effect the way they view an artwork. The singular nature of the audience also references how we experience art online, as an individual in front of a screen. A live stream is connected to the space, exhibiting the space and audience within it to a wider online audience. This way of viewing the work online turns the singular physical audience into a ‘performer’, a part of the artwork. This singular person within a space, projecting to a wider online audience references the way we as individuals present and project ourselves online, mimicking the individual in their room, live streaming their actions to those online.
The space was intended for the projection of film but I am really struggling with this. I cannot seem to figure out how to produce a film that reflects my concept. I want to film things around me, I don’t want to set anything up, I want it to be ‘real’. Then cut up and edit together these pieces of ‘real’ life together to create a narrative; basically capture real physical events to re-order and redisplay to create meaning and then display them virtually and/or exhibit in a gallery context. However this leaves a reliance on audio to bring conceptual focus. So if am stuck with how to create audio, how am I suppose to produce a film that the audience can understand? How am I suppose to portray my concept?
An idea I have been considering is the exhibition of other artists work within the space, blurring the line between artist and curator. But would I present this as a curatorial action, citing the artists as being exhibited within my work or would I present it solely as my own practice, through an arrangement/ agreement with the artists that through this process I gain a level of ownership of the work? Both actions would be questionable in terms of the role of artist and curator but that is the point, to push those tensions and raise questions about the ownership of art when copyright is so blurred online, in the virtual world. Another, possibly a more ethically questionable action I could take would be to take copies of artists work from the internet without informing the artists and exhibit them, to explore the existence of images of work online and the blur between consumer and producer. I am also really interested in interviewing artists who’s work explores the internet as a concept, uses the internet as a medium or exhibit solely online to explore post-internet art, the duel curation of art in both physical and virtual space and how net art can be exhibited in a gallery space.
Anonymous asked: Hi Siobhan! You connected to my Curatical website which is very cool. More cool than that, I'm now aware of your website. The comment: your text size is so small, it is agonizing to read. [I'm on a 15" MacBook Pro.] I've been working as a graphic designer for 9 yrs so there are credentials behind my comment. Would you increase the size of your text? I think people will engage longer if they can read more comfortably. Mikale at Curatical and Tehdä Design Studio
Hello. I am sorry about the size of my text. It is very hard to find a theme that is clean with decent font but I will try to amend this as soon as possible. Thank you for you input, its really important to me for my blog to be as accessible as possible.