Curating in the Public Domain
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Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
Department: Art/Design Hist & Theory
Course Number: PGHT 5005
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Curatorial Practice
  • Visual Culture
  • Urban Studies
This seminar-cum-practicum rests on the cusp of people and place. It frames curatorial practice as a triangulation between the public, the site and the artist/s, examining the reciprocal historical, material and social relations among them. The central problematic of this course is the public domain as a zone of contestation, transformation, exchange and participation. Public implies more than a move outside the gallery or out-of-doors, and implies new forms of interaction between artists and audiences. The challenge of contemporary public curating is responding to the shifts in urban space and usage, to new technologies, and to new forms of social and interventionist artistic practice. In the course, we will deal with conceptions of the public; site-specificity and ethnographic research; interventions, activism, dialogue, participation and other modes of interaction; virtual and physical space; authorship and ethics, among others. Through this process of discussion and inquiry, course participants (in group) will create one or more curatorial platforms in the public domain. This will require the identification of a site with related research on its historical, socio-political, and environmental context; research into artists and other collaborators; researching the various stakeholders, property owners, permissions and parameters, as applicable; determining a commissioning or selection process; writing concept statements and invitations or projects briefs for artists; a budget and communication plan; and a public presentation for feedback. This is an intensive course with substantial expectations of work outside class time. There will be guest speakers, lectures, site visits, outside research and group meetings. Participants must be prepared to engage fully.
Course Open to: Degree Students
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Open to: University graduate students.


Open to Graduate students.