Monday, March 3, 2008

freelance writing vs. independent curating

To sell stories to magazines, a freelance writer needs to find a new spin, a new angle, or new research to create something fresh that hasn't been published before. Since magazines usually publish similar topics such as dieting for a woman's mag, the pressure is on to put the topic in a different light in this highly competitive field.
Let's compare this to the independent curating of biennials, which are those mega-exhibitions that take place in various cities around the world as a way to boost international recognition for the host country and to merge global ideas with the local. A biennial is usually designed by one, two or a team of recognized independent curators who first come up with a theme and then invite internationally-renowned artists along with the city's own artists who are perhaps not as well-known. This is what's called in art circles as "dialogue."
Lately, take a look at any city's biennial, and it seems like a similar list of artists (Yawn) appear along with a similar scheme of themes such as 'war is bad', 'colonialism brings problems' and 'personal identity defines one's politics.'
The excuse in the art world was that not many people get to travel to all the world's biennials, so this was the chance for these non-travelers to see and learn about these new ideas in contemporary art.
Isn't this getting incredibly tiresome though? Can independent curators try to come up with new spins and fresh angles such as freelance writers?

There will be a whole slew of biennials in Asia during September of this year: Singapore, Taipei, Gwangju, Shanghai, Sydney, plus the Yokohama Triennial. Let's see if any of these exhibitions will be a pleasant surprise or the same-old.


Rachel Adams said...

My name's Rachel Adams from Edinburgh, I am an undergraduate Fine Art student and writing on the present conditions of art criticism. I found your blog very interesting from this point of view as you are a paid critic and publish your writings online without payment. I am interested in your views on how the internet has effected your art criticism practice. Do you think blogging has helped your ideas form etc?

Please feel free to ignore my questions, I do feel very cheeky asking you this. The anonymity that the internet provides allows so much more bravado than normal life!

If you don't mind answering my questions my email address is

Obviously feel free to publish/not publish this on your blog,

Thanks very much for your time Rachel

Susan said...

Thanks Rachel for your question.

A writer does not have the total freedom to get all of her words and thoughts published. An editor often changes the writing (words and syntax) to fit the publication's needs.

A blog provides total freedom and satisfaction. A blog also helps to create a conversation among interested people around the world.

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