Exhibition Histories: Curatorial Theories


Fall 2012

Mark Wasiuta, instructor

This seminar addressed the history of architectural exhibitions and the formation of architectural curating in the postwar period. Students examined exhibition content, installation strategies and the organization of political, cultural and theoretical pressures on exhibition practices. This research opened exhibitions as sites of intellectual, historical, critical practice, on one hand, and as an expression of institutional bias on the other. At question were institutions that have historically become sites of experimentation through exhibitions.

The course considered several structural ambiguities that permeate the relation among architecture, curating and exhibitions. While architectural exhibitions are enmeshed within the history of architectural thought, and have a distinct lineage and formal development, they also provide complex sites of exchange with art practices, new media projects and with other sites of influence and reception. This course did not seek to resolve these ambiguities, but rather probe and examine the exhibition as a potential site of disciplinary contamination.

In order to develop tools, techniques, methods for assessing architectural exhibitions and their effects students studied a range of exhibitions through issues of display, value, collection, narration, communication and informational systems. The course aimed to form novel approaches to the analysis, interpretation and comparative reading of exhibitions, while establishing new possibilities for curatorial work, exhibition research and scholarship.