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Publisher: Intellect
Languages: English
Types: Article
This article considers the changing definitions of curatorial labour in the light of affective economies of care and love. It examines how recent conceptions of curating shift emphasis from caring for objects and collections to producing and managing social networks, collective energies and professional relationships. While curators prioritize their care for artworks and artists, they often overlook the low-status and infrastructural activities that sustain curatorial production. At the same time, by over-identifying with their work, and instrumentalizing their personal relationships and energies, curators risk self-exploitation and burn-out. By recognizing curating’s inter-dependent nature, this article prompts a redefinition of curatorial care and calls for a reallocation of curatorial and institutional priorities and resources.
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    • 1. See Paul O'Neill and Claire Doherty on the 'charismatic agency' and 'vision' performed by commissioners of long-term art projects (2011: 7). For a discussion of the impact of personal warmth, empathy,'active listening', 'cheer, positivity and belief' by developers of collaborative public artworks, see Kirsten Lloyd (2015: 151-52).
    • 2. As this text was going to press, BP announced that it was ending its Tate sponsorship (Khomami 2016).
    • 3. I was Senior Curator of Programmes from September 2006 to July 2010.
    • 4. Among other interventions to the annual Power Ball, Dobkin offered to sell her artist's ticket at the gallery's entrance, as a signed artwork, but found no takers.
    • 5. See The Power Plant (n.d.).
    • 6. On experiments in commoning and communal living, see The Grand Domestic Revolution (Casco, 2010-12); on conviviality, see Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art (Smart Museum, 2012).
    • 7. For a critique of how reflexivity itself is harvested as value, see Vishmidt (2012).
    • 8. For a discussion of female artists who have incorporated the legal contract into their artworks, in order to expose and reject the rhetoric of artistic self-sacrifice, see Dimitrakaki (2015).
    • 9. Lonzi was the starting point for the feminist programme 'Now You Can Go' that I coorganized in London in 2015 (nowyoucango.tumblr.com).
    • 10. See Rivolta Femminile (1991 [1970]), Dalla Costa and James (1972), Federici (1975) and Fortunati (1995 [1981]). For a recent consideration of the economics of domestic labour, see Mitropoulos (2012).
    • 11. For a related discussion of surplus artistic labour, see Sholette (2015).
    • 12. Participants included Valentina Desideri, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Park McArthur, Peter Pál Pelbart, Laurence Rassel, Howard Slater, Hortense Spillers, TerreThaemlitz, Ueinzz Theatre Company and Constantina Zavitsanos.
    • 13. See Lazzarato (1996), Berlant (2007) and Lorey (2015).
    • 14. See Krauss and Casco Team (2014). Ukeles's thesis on the overlapping issues of gender, class, ecology and labour has inspired other curatorial efforts such as Beyond Re/ Production: Mothering, Dimensions of Social Reproduction in the Age of Neo-liberalism (Art Space Kreuzberg/ Bethanien, 2011) and Maintenance Required (The Kitchen, 2013).
    • 15. Unlearning exercises included Off-Balancing Chairs, Assembly, Cleaning Together, Digital Cleaning, Reading Together, Care Network, Mood Colour, Property Relations, Time Diary, Passion and Obstacle, and rewriting Ukeles's Maintenance Art Manifesto (Krauss and Casco 2014).
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