I was interested to read recently, on oncurating.org
and at newcurator.com
, some of their readers responses to the questions regarding topics that should be raised and what the purpose of a museum is, respectively. While I feel that there is space and time enough in the world to cover many areas and to be many things the bottom line must remain actual exhibitions/curatorial projects. The last thing we need is to become so academic that we end up talking to ourselves about ourselves only - as can be seen in some arenas. This is not to downplay the importance of a dialogue and the conceptualizing of our field but more as a warning not to become too hermetic in our relationship to the world at large. A move towards self-reflexivity in our programming and a determined drive to ask harder questions about our own practices as an institutional art site are welcome, as is an extended scope of possibilities within curatorial approaches which many curators and institutions are addressing admirably in various countries and that we also can contribute to.
To engage others, to become more collaborative and interactive with outside curators and professionals worldwide, to see our programming develop more hand-in-hand with a global enquiry and with curators in different contexts with different aims and agendas, alongside fulfilling our obligation to visually and intellectually engage a myriad of different types of visitor, can perhaps be sought via different routes, for example a form of crowd-sourcing? This is one potential approach we at TAM
would like to follow up on...
To this end I would like to invite artists and curators (or anyone else for that matter) to present project proposals to the Torrance Art Museum. My feeling is that as a small museum of contemporary art our strength lies in our ability to react to moments in art, quickly (for a museum) and efficiently, within a limited budget. We cannot compete with large museum blockbuster shows but we can respond to the ideas referencing the role of art, curators, museums, etc within the world. What better way to do this than by actually offering a site for the production of some of these projects that deal with our concerns directly. TAM should be an artists museum, a curators museum and our audiences museum for active engagement so if this strikes a chord with you then feel free to send proposals to us. We will respond to them all and will shortlist those that we respond the strongest to (whatever that subjectively means) and try to schedule a number of these for the 2011/2012 programming.
We make no claims for this being an original idea, nor innovative, nor groundbreaking and we have no real idea how this experiment will succeed or fail but we feel it is worth finding out - so... proposals on a disc please to:
Torrance Art Museum
c/o Max Presneill, Curator
3320 Civic Center
Torrance, CA 90509, USA