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Wednesday, 12 September 2018
#AskACurator with Irene Aristizábal

It's #AskACurator Day, and we've taken all of your curious questions to our Head of Exhibitions, Irene Aristizábal.

Q: Is not the development of work, it’s starting points, meanderings, internal conversations, trials, improvisations, ongoing critiques and decision-making often as rich/richer than an end product? and why not the focus of communication with the public?

A: The development and installation of our exhibitions is certainly an interesting process. This process is not identifiably as visible to our visitors as the exhibitions themselves. However, we have curated exhibitions where conversations and process have been a core theme, such as Lara Favaretto’s Absolutely Nothing, where tyre tracks from a motorcycle left marks on our gallery walls – signifying the remnants of a process left behind by the artist. For our previous exhibition The House of Fame, we produced a publication showing correspondences between our Director, Sam Thorne, and artist Linder Sterling. These emails show the conversations between curator and artist, those aforementioned meanderings and internal conversations.

Our exhibitions aim to reflect contemporary social and political issues and act as a form of dialogue between ourselves and the public. Each season is also accompanied by a public programme and learning activities, often developed as a response to our exhibitions, which offer further conversations and opportunities for discussion with us.

Instagram: @flossybudd
Q: How do you know when the project turnout is worth it?

A: There’s many indications that an exhibition is successful, including press coverage, attendance numbers, whether the artist is happy with their exhibition, if we delivered on time and within budget.

Instagram: @amygow
Q: How important are current trends or even staying ahead of trends in art and culture when planning and devising exhibitions?

A: We feel it’s important that our exhibitions are reflective of current contemporary social and political issues. We also try to stay ahead of the trends, although this cannot always be foreseen. Our States of America exhibition from 2017 was incredibly popular with audiences – and was exhibited during some of Trump’s most infamous presidential scandals, adding more layers of conversation to our exhibition. This was not planned, but serendipitous.
Our upcoming Still I Rise exhibition, looking at resistance movements from a gender perspective, is timely in an era of #MeToo and it coincides with the centenary of women’s suffrage.

Instagram: @harri_ett
Q: What's the most stressful part about being a curator?
A: Being a curator is very rewarding but it can also be a highly stressful job if you have to work with tight budgets (which the majority of us do) and if production of a work for instance doesn’t go to plan and that you have to problem solve without much time.

Instagram: @chloejaaay
Q: What's it like working with artists? Do you always understand/like their work?
A: Working with artists is really exciting, you have to adapt the way you work with each person and you learn so much from their research and knowledge.

Instagram: @blarriet
Q: How do you become a curator?
Instagram: @sadboi_liam
Q: What qualifications and experiences do you need to become a curator?

A: There are many pathways to become a curator but a traditional path would be to do a degree in art history, visual arts or social sciences and maybe continue with an MA in Curating. It is important to do internships whilst studying to gain experience and ideally try to do your own projects in small spaces.
Instagram: @royalblue_skeleton
Q: Do you find Nottingham restrictive?

A: Nottingham has a very rich art scene with spaces like the New Art Exchange, One Thoresby Street, Primary, Backlit and us of course, so there is a lot of great art to see and events to attend.
Image 1: Left: Irene Aristizábal, Head of Exhibitions at Nottingham Contemporary, Right: Ylena Popova, Artist. Photo by Sam Kirby.
Image 2: Pia Camil, Split Wall, Nottingham Contemporary. Photo by Sam Kirby.



Posted by llitchfield at 14:25


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