The idea to realize this Symposium was born thanks to the collaboration and cooperation between Espronceda Institute of Arts & Culture, On Mediation_Platform on Curatorship and Research from the Universitat de Barcelona, in a common reflection on the current role of the curator and its value along with Barcelona Gallery Weekend.
The main objective of the Symposium under the title “Towards a new role of the curator: challenges and limits”, is to analyse the role of the curator in our current times, the new trends, challenges, limits, it’s innovation and to question if this figure is still valid and necessary. How indicates the Latin etymology of “Curarae” or “to take care of”, nowadays it seems that the role of contemporary curator rests between two interpretations: one is more linked in taking care and the other is in being proactive in the artistic process becoming almost an “artist” themselves.
Much of the literature on curating today focuses on the institute of the biennial. The renowned Venice Biennale was first established in 1895 when the first International Art Exhibition was organized. Biennials since then have become one of the most obvious manifestations of the art world’s globalization and often feature artists who, until recently, were unlikely to be represented or exhibited in great metropolitan cities or museums of the art world. At biennials, a visitor can see works that spur new and novel thoughts about globalization and different cultures. The rise of the modern biennial coincides with rise of the independent celebrity curator. We could go as far to say that the role of the curator is trending towards a more privileged title than that of the creator.
Since the mid-1990s, curating has come to be a creative activity, with more overlap between the artist and the curator than before—they are increasingly engaged in similar activities.
The curator is, more and more, an auteur who experiments with different formats and ways of experiencing the art by creating different meanings and approaches. Like an artist, the contemporary curator tests old formats and invents new ones.
This Symposium aims to go deeper into this analysis by inviting curators, artists, collectors, gallerists, and art historians to come together and discuss if we are facing a new challenge and how globalisation, the art market, new technologies and big institutions have influenced the change of the curator’s role. This Symposium also intends to analyse the figures of artists who transform themselves into curators and gallery owners who become curators, while also diving into the art scene and questioning how a curator is chosen because he represents a celebrity or the opposite, how an artist is chosen for the celebrity of the curator. If we are faced with a change, then, what is the true role of the curator today? And what is the responsibility of an art center or a gallery owner towards the public?