Being a Curator – David Sequeira

Thoughts on working with artists and being a curator from David Sequeira, Director of Margaret Lawrence Gallery,  Melbourne…

  • Create a brief for artists.
  • Work to a curatorial problem based on research.
  • Be honest and provocative.
  • The importance of understanding research and politics (political context).
  • Think about the voice of an individual artist when part of a larger group show.
  • Artists are important. Context is important.
  • From the place of making (studio) to the public domain (gallery/museum in the broader sense).
  • Consider the role of pedagogy (educational practices) in a gallery/museum.
  • Conversations with artists aren’t always clear or easy.
  • Commitments of an artist and commitments of a curator aren’t always the same things.
  • You must be able to negotiate.
  • It is not about power-plays, its how conceptual ambitions align between the artist(s) and curator.
  • Every organisation comes with its own idiosyncrasies – we all come to the party with something different.
  • It is all about WORKABILITY.
  • Check your ego in at the door.
  • Have a plan B with artists.
  • Bring in elements from the exhibition concept/context through the exhibition design.
  • Exhibition designer and exhibition curator need to be on the same page.
  • It’s not just about the artist…it’s what’s best for the exhibition, the organisation and audience.
  • It’s having overarching grace and humility.

[These comments were made during an hour-long lecture to my Exhibition Management, Masters in Art Curatorship students at the University of Melbourne.]

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