Curatorial Lineage: Hans Ulrich Obrist

As curators Hans Ulrich Obrist is a huge influence for us which should be no surprise since his curatorial endeavors over the last two decades have changed the face of the art world. In 1991 at the age of 23 he curated  his first exhibition with Boltanski, Fischli & Weiss in his kitchen. Since then he’s worked with, curated & interviewed countless prominent artists of the last half century. He’s also headed the groundbreaking Serpentine Gallery, started the Cultural Magazine 032c & created the sporadic exhibition made exclusively of instructions known as “Do It.” Obrist considers himself a maker of exhibitions and continues to expand upon the practice of curating while avoiding being pigeonholed. He must always be involved in whatever cultural event he can reach whether it be Scientific, Architectural, Literary, or artistic. This being the case he has also gained the reputation of sleeping very little, having unsurpassed social connectivity & being highly prolific.

“I think that routine is the exhibition’s greatest enemy.”-HUO

Below I have included an excerpt from Obrist’s book Everything You Wanted to Know About Curating.* This title by Obrist is a sort of inverse of his Interview Project as he takes the role of interviewee to artist interviewers.

I think this excerpt provides a good scope of the artists Obrist has worked with & a great example of how he can create a huge collection/exhibition/show with very little physical presence. Often the intangibility and the mobility of his work is what allows it to be so enduring. Yet, he is so incredibly active that much of his work has not been made public or archived for that matter. The list of artist responses to Obrist’s question, “What is the future?” is clearly extensive & certainly not presented in its entirety here (or maybe anywhere). Similarly Obrist’s Interview Project is thousands of hours long in recorded interviews, most of which has yet to be transcribed let alone published. To him, the important aspect of these projects is not the product, it is the creation & dedication to an ongoing conversation of art & culture. True, conversation is a buzzword, but it is through this constant exchange that Obrist has become an innovator & a trend spotter/setter. Through conversation he was able to pose the question,”Can exhibits be collected?” Through more conversation he was able to manifest various exhibitions towards this end.

“The idea was really to develop the exhibition as a city…

…building a new city as a curatorial project.”-HUO

The Speakeasy will bolster the numbers in this conversation on mobility, connectivity, time, philanthropy & cultural activity. The Speakeasy will be a center of gathering, discussion & celebration. The Speakeasy will strengthen the connections between Kansas City & Chicago. The Speakeasy will come, then it will go, but just as it exists outside of physical space today online, it will continue to do so after April has passed.

Andrew William Erdrich

*But Were Afraid to Ask


About aerdrich

I'm an artist, musician & cultural promoter currently living in Kansas City. Email material for review to Cheers!
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