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Talks

Listen: 'Curator: Autodidact Polymath or Academic Expert?'

Do curators have to be art historians?

Emiliano Valdés

Listen to the talk in full below:


Do curators have to be art historians? Historically curators have come equipped with degrees in art history to build, preserve, interpret, and display a museum’s collection. The practice of curating has changed dramatically over the last 25 years, and many of today’s most prominent curators don't necessarily come from an art-history background, nor see themselves as art historians. What are the advantages and disadvantages of concepts such as creative curating or exhibition making, in contrast to the traditional idea of art-historical scholarship? This panel discusses.

  • Jens Hoffmann is a writer and exhibition-maker and the Deputy Director of the Jewish Museum in New York.
  • Julia Bryan-Wilson is a scholar and critic and Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of California Berkeley.
  • Michelle Grabner is an artist, Professor at the School of the Art Insitute of Chicago, and Curator of the 2016 Portland Biennial.
  • Emiliano Valdés is an editor, cultural producer and Chief curator of the Museum of Modern Art, Medellin.
  • Beatrice von Bismarck is Professor for art history and visual studies at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst (HGB) Leipzig, and Director of the HGB gallery.
Frieze Talks take place daily at 12pm and 4pm in the on-site auditorium at Frieze New York from Thursday, May 5th through Sunday, May 8th. Access to Frieze Talks is included in all admission tickets. Seats can be reserved at the Auditorium desk from 11am on the day of each talk.

The program is co–curated by Tom Eccles (Executive Director, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York) and Christy Lange (frieze Associate Editor and Curator of Public Programming, Berlin).