All posts by wdj60

Curatorial Practice – Mining the Museum

Reading Paul O’Neil’s chapter on the evolution of curatorial practice, discourse and design, I could not help but think of artist Fred Wilson’s work in 1992 in the Maryland Historical Society aptly named “Mining the Museum” in which he used artifacts found in the museum vault that laid bare the hypocrisies and omissions dominant in art discourse at the time –and present today.  Wilson combed through the museum collection selecting artifacts that he juxtaposed with pieces from the same period that were “hidden” in deep the institution. His selection included a collection of intricately cast silver tea sets (see below) juxtaposed with a set of slave shackles in the center, thus calling into question the exhibition site (a former slave state) and curatorial position of the museum as purveyor of a dominant historical and cultural narrative.     tumblr_mm4ugcZ48r1qjo3peo2_500

I also thought the class might be interested in a critique of an exhibit called Re-Inventing Abstraction at the MoMA a few years ago. It speaks to some of the issues discussed in class the other day about identity and cultural erasure in Guatemala. The work in the exhibition was wonderful, however the curatorial lens was faulty to say the least!   


Walis J

I am an experimental filmmaker, educator and researcher whose work documents experiences of the urban landscape through oral history, film essay, sound, performance (walking practices) and short narrative. I am particularly interested in the intersection of documentary film and performance. Early on, when 16 mm film was the primary material of documentary practice, I trained as a documentary film editor. I have a Master’s degree in international/intercultural relations and am working toward a final thesis project in Integrative Media Arts and Advanced Documentary film and Video from Hunter College. I’ve researched conflict resolution in the early years of post-apartheid South Africa and, later, in New York, became involved in educational philanthropy working toward creating equity in under -resourced neighborhoods in New York and across the country.

My thesis project is a participatory performance video focused on the practice of redlining by banks and other government institutions in  New York, particularly African-American neighborhoods of Bedford Stuyvesant, Weeksville and Fort Greene. The performance and filmed documentation will expose critical links between housing segregation, urban gentrification, economic displacement and cultural/historical erasure. I am a member of the recently formed Diverse Filmmaker Alliance, a collection of documentarians, narrative and experimental who workshop, formulate and support new artistic strategies for our work.