In DP Visual Arts, students engage with theoretical practice, and art-making practice daily, while developing new techniques and creating artwork. However, curatorial practice is also a major area of study in the visual arts, and this is most effective and authentic when experienced in a gallery setting.
On December 8 and 9, Grade 12 Visual Arts students travelled to Munich to experience the art and curatorial styles at five of Munich’s exceptional galleries. Beginning at Museum Brandhorst, students were led on a guided tour through the permanent collection and the “Future Bodies from a Recent Past” exhibit, with a specific focus on the curatorial decisions that went into selecting, arranging and sequencing the space, as well as how to plan for audience flow through the exhibit, how to encourage their engagement with the work, and how to account for the artists’ intentions for how their work should be displayed. This tour was followed by self-guided opportunities to explore the Alte Pinakothek and the Pinakothek der Moderne, observing a range of small and large-scale exhibitions, and developing an understanding of the curatorial differences between solo exhibitions and theme-based group exhibitions.
The next day, we visited the Museum of Urban and Contemporary Art, meeting with the owner of this private gallery, which initiated numerous important inquiries into the evolution of street art over time, the context of artists and their artworks, and the risks of changing the context of an artwork. This also led to interesting discussions on the ethics of museum spaces, the question of integrity in the creation and consumption of art, and our responsibilities as curators to both the artist and the audience.
We concluded our trip with a visit to the Kunsthalle, experiencing a solo exhibition that featured the work of photographer and street artist JR, who has become known for creating art that empowers and unifies the communities where he works. With the wide range of mixed media displays, from 3D models, to original photographs, to purpose-built installations, it was clear that the subtle attention to curatorial detail added cohesion to the series as a whole.
Curatorial practice is especially important for our Grade 12 students, who will be curating their own group exhibition showcasing their work throughout this two-year course. This trip was an incredible opportunity for them to learn curatorial practices firsthand, ask questions to professionals in the industry, and gain inspiration for their upcoming show.