Converging among curators: independence, institution and professional practice of the curator

The start of the works of the 26 Eduardo León Jimenes Art Contest opens the space for new curatorial reflections.

The participation of the juries of this version of the contest convened by Centro León and Fundación Eduardo León Jimenes, gave rise to a profitable exchange on art, how it is exhibited and what is current art at the moment we live; what publics today expect from art and what are the artist-public relations in the contemporary scene, were some of the questions that were answered during the meeting.

In the curatorial reflections, one of the approaches of the Colombian José Roca is that "curatorship is exercised, not studied" and defends the importance of other disciplines against the orthodoxy resulting from the history of art.

By comparing the figure of the independent curator with the institutional curator, far from defending the "freedom" that the former holds (limited in turn by the budgets and opportunities to be hired), Roca validates the ability of the institutional curator to consolidate around his work a public and the consistency that this work can show in the institutional framework.

In this sense, Alanna Lockward, Dominican curator whose experience has moved between Mexico, Germany and the Dominican Republic, reaffirms the relevance of her work as an independent curator. And next, exemplifies with the trajectories of Harald Szeemann and Klaus Biesenbach.

A different opinion to the previous ones was that of the curator Guadalupe Álvarez. For her, the curator is a catalyst whose work is not bound to be authorial in the uppercase concept of the term, but can and is called to be collaborative, of combination of intellects. In fact, Álvarez affirms that the individuality of the curator is tied to the figure of the artist, individual as well.

About this figure of the curator, Guadalupe abounds when he points out that at this moment, "the curator has acquired a professional identity". And it points out that among its characteristics, the multidisciplinary nature of the curatorship. In the same way, this professional character is evident in the curator training offers available in academic spaces.

Álvarez also commented on the importance of pedagogical mediation in these processes of collective or collective curatorship. Educational healing and the pedagogical curator are part of the current artistic scene, especially at the institutional level.

Another of the reflections shared in the conversation was the Dominican art in the Caribbean context, since it was common to reproach that absent nexus between the Dominican being and the Caribbean being, in opposition to the other islands of the Spanish Caribbean and much more to those of the Caribbean. French and English. At this point, Lockward points out that publications such as Braiding a story in progress, published by Centro León and the auspices of JP Morgan "gives a theoretical endorsement to the Dominican artists on which to base their work".

Regarding the question about what they have found in the Dominican art scene, from the almost two hundred dossiers evaluated for the Eduardo León Jimenes Art Contest, Álvarez expresses that what has been found reveals some inequality spaces that are observed in the access, opportunities, training and production of Dominican artists.

In that same order, Roca emphasizes the nineteenth-century nature of the art competitions that have been held up to the present, but at the same time validates the formative component of the Leon Center call. And he goes further: he dares to leave open the possibility that history is the one who validates the selection that juries have made, since "betting on the future is part of the game".

Another aspect valued by the Colombian curator is the accompanying curatorship, which qualifies the classic concept of art competition for good and resizes its possibilities of contribution to art and artists.

With regard to the thinking-technical dichotomy in contemporary art, José Roca points out that, rather than training artists in contemporary art both in theory and in techniques (understanding that there are more techniques now than just painting, drawing or sculpture), critical feedback about their work can better support their development.

Who is who

José Roca is the artistic director of FLORA ars + natura, an independent space for contemporary art in Bogotá, Colombia. He was curator of Latin American Art at the Tate Gallery in London between 2012 and 2015. He has participated as a curator in various artistic events such as the Biennial of Sao Paulo, the Poli / graphic Triennial of San Juan, the Encuentro de Medellín and the International Triennial of Engraving of Philadelphia.

Alanna Lockward is a curator, writer and researcher. He founded and directs Art Labor Archives, a platform based on theory, political activism and art. She is the author of Appreciation: notes on contemporary thinking and creation from the Caribbean (Cendeac, 2006) and A Dominican Haiti. Ghost tattoos and bilateral narratives (1994-2014) (Sanctuary 2014).

Guadalupe Álvarez is a curator, researcher, art critic and professor of aesthetics, semiotics, museology. He directs the critical thinking workshop at the Mónica Herrera University in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She has been a curator at the MAAC (Museum of Anthropology and Contemporary Art of Guayaquil) and the Municipal Museum of Guayaquil.

Daniela Cruz Gil

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