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Curating Feminism Keynote Lecture — September 10, 2014

Curatorial Activism: Toward an Ethics of Curating

Professor Maura Reilly coined the phrase ‘curatorial activism’ several years ago to address an urgent need in the contemporary art world for curatorial strategies that provide alternatives to exclusionary models of collecting and display that continue to re-produce inequality under the aegis of the art historical canon (and in its correlating institutions such as galleries, museums, and the art market).



The term refers to the practice of organising art exhibitions with the principal aim of ensuring that large constituencies of people are no longer ghettoised or excluded from the master narratives of art. It is a practice that commits itself to counter-hegemonic initiatives that give voice to those who have been historically silenced or omitted altogether and, as such, focuses on work produced by women, artists of colour, non-Europeans, and/or queer-identified artists. This lecture examines current art world statistics, with a careful eye toward sex ratios, and posits several strategies that might be employed by curatorial activists to address these disparities.
Maura Reilly
Reilly will make reference to the upcoming Art Gallery of NSW exhibition Pop to Popism where one of the curatorial objectives has been redressing the gender imbalance in the Pop art canon. Reilly’s lecture also includes a recent interview she undertook with feminist icon Linda Nochlin, Emeritus Professor, Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, where the two analyse developments in curating feminism since Nochlin’s famous 1971 call to arms.

This event was held at the Art Gallery of NSW Domain Theatre on Friday 24th October 2014

Watch the video here:



Curatorial Activism: Toward an Ethics of Curating is presented in conjunction with the Art Gallery of NSW as part of the Curating Feminism conference, 23 – 25 October 2014.