Book Synthisis

Bernd Hoffmann

DTC 338 – Curating Exhibits & Archives

Wednesday May 4th, 2016

Reading Synthesis

I learned a lot about curating from the two books. Out of the two I feel like I preferred Jeff Hoffmann’s book “Ten Fundamental Questions of Curating” over the Obrist’s book. Its selection of articals throughout had me much more engaged than the conversations in “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Curating” Some of the conversation in the Obrist’s book were very hard to fallow and I felt like when reading them I had to go out of my way to look up names and terms to figure out how they applied to the conversation rather than learning something from them. Obrist’s opinions and statements, which were usually the hidden title of the chapters, were some of the best informational tidbits. That being said, when I did have to go out of my way to look up a term or a name, I learned a lot about the art world, but unfortunately, not so much about the curating world.

In Jeff’s book, there was some very good information and a lot of information I felt I agree with. We constantly referenced notion from it though out class like how when being a curator and setting up expeditions you have to be very mindful in how you display that work, and the mere act of collecting or showing specific works with each other is a statement in and of itself. One of my favorite chapters in Jeff’s book was the article “What About Collecting?” where it discussed the notions of professional and private collecting. I had never thought about the responsibilities that come with making a collection for a museum, or even the responsibilities when making a private collection. This chapter also lead to a great discussion in class where we disused how we, normal people, are curators just by collecting things within our lives. It made me take an introspective look in to me own life and how I collect items that I cherish. I collect quite a few things that I enjoy, such as art, objects, and life mementos. But the art only serves a real purpose for documenting my life, and my journey though it. Some of the material objects are actually representations of history before my time. I feel now as through I have some small responsibility to either collect or display them in a certain way to share them in a way I feel fit rather than pile or horde objects in a thoughtless manner.

In terms of Obrist’s book, I felt that being a collection of discussions and conversations was less successful in explaining notions that are important to curation. The text and conversations were much more engaging and easier to read, however having to go and look up names and artistic terms did remove me from it quite a bit. However it made the book better in other ways, I rather enjoyed looking up situationalism in my chapter. With that being said, one of the best things to come out of this was the discussions in class. Obrist’s book of conversations was very good at spurring good conversation in class after the presentations. I felt Obrist’s book was much more effective at getting us to make us as students our own opinions, and decisions of what’s important regarding curating.

Overall I enjoyed both books but what really made them both constructive was the conversations and discussion of them in class. Without that I wouldn’t have left with the same understanding and appreciation now for either book.