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Distributed for Reaktion Books

When Artists Curate

Contemporary Art and the Exhibition as Medium

An increasing proportion of exhibitions are curated by artists rather than professional curators, and in this book Alison Green provides the first critical history of visual artists as curators. Green’s curatorial artist emerges as a seemingly contradictory figure: someone who carries a special responsibility for critiquing art’s institutions, for bringing considerable creativity to the craft of making exhibitions and, through experimentation, someone who has changed the way exhibitions are understood to be authored and experienced—but at the same time, someone who is curiously ubiquitous.

Rather than portraying artist curators as exceptional or rare, Green establishes the fact that artists curate all the time and in all kinds of places: in galleries and in museums, in studios, in borrowed spaces such as shopfronts or industrial buildings, in front rooms and front windows, in zoos or concert halls, on streets and in nature. Seen from the perspective of artists, showing is a part of making art. Once this idea is understood, the story of art starts to look very different. Beautifully illustrated and featuring in-depth explorations of the work of revered artist curators like Daniel Buren, Goshka Macuga, Thomas Hirschhorn, Rosemarie Trockel, Hito Steyerl, Andy Warhol, and Félix González-Torres, When Artists Curate will change the way we think about and look at exhibitions.

296 pages | 10 color plates, 90 halftones | 6 x 7 3/4 | © 2018

Art Since the '80s

Art: Art--General Studies

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"Art historian, critic, and curator Green takes a closer look at the growing appetite for shows curated by artists, moving exhibition-making away from the management of collections and into the realm of artistic medium."

Crafts Magazine

"Considering the growing interest in curatorial theory in recent years, When Artists Curate is a timely publication that neatly summarizes and expands upon a rapidly developing body of literature. . . . Green strategically positions a wide variety of contemporary art within challenging theoretical frames, but her work is well researched and offers an ambitious perspective on the intersections of art making and exhibiting. This book would be useful for academic libraries supporting communities with particular interest in contemporary art, curatorial theory, museum studies, relational aesthetics, and institutional critique."

Andrew Wang, Instructional Design Librarian, Ringling College of Art + Design | ARLIS/NA Reviews

"Green’s book, When Artists Curate, provides a broader overview, albeit within a principally European and American context. Developed from her research into the exhibitions staged by the collective Group Material in the 1980s, Green presents a narrative in which artists have paved the way in expanding definitions of exhibition making and curating. . . . Although Green highlights the risk of alienating a public that does not know how to participate, she ultimately celebrates the idiosyncratic connections an artist might engender in their curatorial approach."

Burlington Magazine

"When Artists Curate provides a wide-ranging compendium of curatorial approaches by an international selection of artists, and offers strong academic justification for curation as a significant artistic medium. . . . Given the breadth and pace of the contemporary art world, it inevitably raises questions and leaves open various areas for future investigation, particularly those concerning the complex relationships between artists, audiences, and the wider cultural context."

Times Literary Supplement

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