HAA 278M - Curatorial Praxis: Art History in the Public Sphere





Makeda Best and Mary Schneider Enriquez

Wednesday 03:00 PM - 05:45 PM

Practicing art history in today’s increasingly mobile art world—whether as a field curator, academic researcher, critic, or other professional specialism—requires museum literacy, intellectual empathy, and the ability to work in multiple voices and mediums, in addition to art historical expertise. To understand the curator’s place in contemporary cultural institutions, this class will explore a series of theoretical concepts such as author, connoisseurship, taste and visual culture, along with a series of curatorial research methods.  Balancing critical and applied perspectives, this course investigates curatorial work as a site of cultural practice, a sphere of action and knowledge—above all, the  “eye” or sense of critical taste—that is learned and performed in multiple contexts of display.  Connecting curation to its etymological roots in “cure” and  “care,” this course will also consider curating as a remedial practice that has changed over time in relation to globalized networks of the art market, professionalization, and the phenomenon of celebrity curators.  Through a series of guided steps designed to provide exposure to multiple facets of museum practice, undertaken in the Harvard Art Museums and beyond, students will work toward an exhibition built from Harvard Collections.