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Hans Ulrich Obrist: A Brief History of Curating (Documents) Paperback – Oct 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: JRP Ringier (Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 390582955X
  • ISBN-13: 978-3905829556
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 2 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 186,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Part of JRP]Ringer's innovative "Documents" series, published with Les Presses du Reel and dedicated to critical writings, this publication comprises a unique collection of interviews by Hans Ulrich Obrist mapping the development of the curatorial field--from early independent curators in the 1960s and 70s and the experimental institutional programs developed in Europe and the U.S. through the inception of Documenta and the various biennales and fairs--with pioneering curators Anne D'Harnoncourt, Werner Hoffman, Jean Leering, Franz Meyer, Seth Siegelaub, Walter Zanini, Johannes Cladders, Lucy Lippard, Walter Hopps, Pontus Hulten and Harald Szeemann. Speaking of Szeemann on the occasion of this legendary curator's death in 2005, critic Aaron Schuster summed up, "the image we have of the curator today: the curator-as-artist, a roaming, freelance designer of exhibitions, or in his own witty formulation, a 'spiritual guest worker'... If artists since Marcel Duchamp have affirmed selection and arrangement as legitimate artistic strategies, was it not simply a matter of time before curatorial practice--itself defined by selection and arrangement--would come to be seen as an art that operates on the field of art itself?"

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By bigBlueMango on 13 Jan 2010
Format: Paperback
It's difficult to understand just who this book is for. Certainly it's of interest for the dozen or so curators interviewed, but questionable for very few others. Including those in the art business. The text reads as a couple of old sailors on a dock talking about the good old days...all those big fish caught years ago. I'm not sure anything could be learned from much of the text, other than the answer to a common question of How Did You Get Started?...which might be inspirational for other curators. Mostly though it's watching sausage being made, and listening to old people reminisce about the good old days. In fact, all of those interviewed were born between 1919 and 1943, making it largely a window on curating in the mid-20th century. I guess the author couldn't find anything worth investigating after the 1990s...
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Famous for his interview books, Obrist manages once again to gather interesting interviewees but for a different aim this time: to start writing a history of contemporary art curation, which no one has ever bothered to do. Considering the amount of books published on contemporary art, it is very odd that no one ever thought of writing a story of the exhibitions on the topic. As a collection of interviews, this book should be considered oral history, and is not not chronologically organized, but it's a good start. Thank you Obrist.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a must read not only for curators but for everyone in creative activities and industries that need to reach out and communicate to a wider audience.
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By Book Club on 17 July 2014
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Gift, presume recipient likes it, didn't give it back
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Westlake on 12 Oct 2011
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This series of interviews by HUO is an absolute must read for anyone interested in the history, present and future of creating.
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