Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Paul Roth

Associate Curator of Photography at the Corcoran Paul Roth (Joeseph Mills retrospective, Noelle Tann at DCAC, a WP article on Brakhage to name too few), recently wrote here about galleries he frequents and why. It's rare to get a personal audit of a curators taste and being burried in the comments, here it is:

"...I've been to several galleries locally but I don't get to any as often as I'd like. Some of the DC ones I have visited in the last year or so are, in approx. order of frequency: the late Fusebox, Hemphill, G Fine Art, Irvine, Conner Contemp., Numark, Ewing Gallery, Touchstone; my favorite non-profits and small spaces are Transformer, DCAC, National Academy of Sciences (wish I had been to Curator's Office which seems great, but I haven't I'm embarrassed to admit). I wish I could go more, as I imagine any curator would.

But for the most part these visits are on my own time on the weekends and for various reasons I spend more time in the local museums and at the cinema because that's what feeds my intellect and my work for the most part. I don't want to single out what I like and don't like about galleries, there are many reasons for why I go or don't go. The shows on tap, the weather, what else I have to do in my life, what I'm doing at work, what interests I have at the time, what chance I have of doing anything with what's on the walls, etc.

There's a common misconception that all curators should visit all shows. This is of course impossible. I would like to know more about what's happening in town -- there have been some developments locally (artist collectives etc.) I have only been peripherally involved with/aware of, to my regret. Nevertheless I have worked on many solo shows of local artists, both here at the Corcoran and elsewhere, as a writer and curator. Included many local artists in group shows. Have acquired many works by local photographers for our collection (not that we have money for acquisitions). Have spoken to artists groups, and juried local shows, and interacted in any number of other ways both formally and informally with artists at all stages of their careers. A list of these actions would be easy to assemble. But the truth is that as far as local artists and dealers are concerned, curators can never do enough for the local scene. I don't blame anyone for having the perception we should do more, that's just the way it is.


Anonymous Steven W. said...

I dont think anyone expects anyone else, be it a curator, writer or critic to go to all gallery shows. But I think that the point that is being made is that DC museums should pay the same amount of attention to us DC artists as NYC curators do to NYC artists and LA curators to LA artists, etc. By far the Corcoran has done more than anyone else and thats good, and yet one would think that when we hear a curators's talk and how they visit emerging artists studios in NYC or LA or SF, we wonder why they find the time to do that on comapny time and yet Adrian has yet to hear from a single artist being visited by a local curator. As a printmaker I know that my chances of being visited or attract attention from one of our museums is negligible, and I have found that if I concentrate my efforts in attracting some sort of attention from curators outside of our area, I have been more successful in getting curated into small museum shows that way, and I think that's an interesting facet of life here in DC. I have sent packages to almost all curators that I know in the museums, and they have all been returned, but in the same time I have had some success in NY and California.

2:47 PM, March 22, 2006  

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