Curatorial Practices in the Public Realm

The objective of this course is to teach students how to curate in public space, keeping in mind that audiences visit museums that inhabit public space. They will learn the process of exploring pertinent issues, engaging with community, selecting artists, finding or responding to sites, as well as developing and implementing curatorial proposals. We will discuss audiences, engagement, and working with communities around pertinent issues. The course will be taught as if the class is a curatorial team curating a Biennale to take place in sites across the Americas. Prompts based on sites, artists, and issues will come together to develop large scale public art projects.

Each class is divided into three parts: a lecture, a workshop or speaker, and an overview. The lectures approach the practice of working in public space by investigating existing public art projects. Student projects are developed through workshops where issues, sites, and artists are proposed and discussed. Guest speakers, including artists, will join the class to speak about their work and outdoor processes. Readings, including catalog essays, artist interviews, and news coverage, will supplement the learning experience. 

The first half of the semester will explore potential topics, sites, and artists. Students will develop their projects for the Biennale during the second half of the term. As a final project, each student will develop a proposal and presentation featuring an artist, issue, site, and related community.

Students may pursue issues such as migration, drug trafficking, indigenous rights and traditions, recycling, climate change, degrading biodiversity, public safety, and gang violence. Sites may include the US/Mexico Border (cities, desert, mountains, rivers), Darrien Gap, Orinoco River, Lake Ilopango, San Salvador, Guatemala City, Medellin, Colombian riverways, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, Caracas, The Beast, The Wall, Mexico/Guatemala Border, Mayan Ruins, Aztec Ruins, Cabo San Lucas, Culiacan, Tulsa OK, autonomous towns such as those in Michoacan, Manaus, Belen, Iquitos, the Atacama Desert, Amazonia, and Patagonia, among others.