An analysis of the relations created by the curatorial
—relations that also constitute it.
In spite of the heightened interest in the curatorial since the late twentieth century, the structural conditions and potentials underpinning its special sociocultural status have yet to be defined. Taking this as its starting point, Beatrice von Bismarck outlines the curatorial—that field of cultural activity and knowledge which relates to the becoming-public of art and culture—as a domain of practice and meaning with its own structures, conditions, rules, and procedures. The focus is on the relations created by the curatorial, relations that also constitute it. By concentrating on the dynamic fabric of relations between human and non-human participants, the book carries out a shift within the discourse on the curatorial: rather than foregrounding partial definitions of the activity of curating, the subjectivization of the curator, and the presentation format of the exhibition, center stage is given to the interplay of all these factors. Corresponding to this, the proposed conceptual framework is geared towards highlighting the activity, the subject position, and the resulting product as always already dynamically interrelated in their genesis, articulation, and function. Not least, this situates the curatorial condition in the context of key parameters of societal developments over the last half century.
Beatrice von Bismarck is Professor of Art History at the Academy of Fine Arts (Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst) Leipzig, where she also teaches Visual Culture
and Cultures of the Curatorial