Glovebox Film Festival

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Helen Molesworth talk at The Art Institute of Boston

On Thursday April 21, 2011, Glovebox Co-Founder Jodie and myself, Brandon Aguiar - Glovebox Intern and Guest Blogger, had the pleasure to listen to a talk by Helen Molesworth at the Art Institute of Boston (AIB).  Stuart Steck, a professor at AIB arranged this dialouge between this famed curator and the public.  Thanks to all who put this together.  Helen had so many personal stories and advice for future art administrators, artists and museum professionals.  Hats of to you Helen!

About Helen Molesworth -  Helen is the chief curator at The Institute of Contemporary Art, and the topic of the night was, “Exhibition Making." A talk about two exhibitions that she feels she can completely claim her own and can be listed under the title of “her work."  She talked about the feeling of owning a project and how there are very few times in life as a curator - where she consistently has to answer to the media, the museum, the artist and the public - to feel the ownership of an all encompassing project that consumes you both in passion and in work.

Work Ethic -  This exhibtion at Baltimore Museum of Art questioned the idea of: How do we measure the amount of work we do? Am I working too much? Or too little? or What is work? And, how is it measured?  As she spoke of the various artist throughout the past decade, the unraveling of just how complicated the idea of work and how the worker

Part Object Part Sculpture - "Part Object Part Sculpture is an intellectually provocative and erotically charged exhibition that will place the sculptural practice of the last half-century in an entirely new light," says Wexner Center Director Sherri Geldin. "I believe this exhibition will aptly and exquisitely engage both the physical territory of the building and the conceptual territory of the center's mission.  This exhibition at Wexner Center for the Arts is extremely personal, even though it may not have appeared to be at the surface. The show was inspired by the wedding gift Duchamp gave to his wife, Alexina Duchamp (The Wedge of Chastity). Made out of bronze and plastic it represents Duchamp's fascination with sexual ambiguity.  This personal and obscure object made Helen become interested in other gifts that artists have given to people. On top of all these idea going around in the curator's head, her soon to be husband had just proposed and she was contemplating whether to get married or not, which I thought was interesting because I could see how such a major life decision could really effect the way an exhibition like this could turn out.

Even though I’m not a curator and truthfully had no prior interest in what it takes to become one before this talk, I found her and her talk to be fantastic. She was so down-to-earth and spoke to us as if we where just having a conversation.  She was engaging, funny, and she made you want to to be her friend. Until this talk, I never really thought about how a curator defines his or her work.  It always seemed they were a background to the art that others have created.  It was a curators purpose to arrange those works within a confined space.  It was interesting to understand the dynamic story that a curator must play out, capturing the beauty of an artwork and simultaneously acting as the ring master to keep everyone involved at the edge of their seat. All in all, this was the best talk I have ever been to and if you ever catch wind of Helen Molesworth giving a talk near you I highly recommended going.

You can find out more about Helen here.
Picture taken from the Tate's website, Part obect part sculpture definition from the Wexner center for art website, picture of Helen taen from Art Fag City

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