Liam Gillick, "A Kitchen Cat Speaks," 2009 (detail)
Liam Gillick is throwing down the gauntlet with some much-needed dissent about the importance of the contemporary curator. He has coined the word "complete curator" to describe a problematic curatorial practice that treats art as a supplementary, rather than essential part of their practice.
Over the past 25 years, the complete curator has emerged as an agent within cultural practice. This heightened individual or group demonstrates varied responses to ethical demands, exceeding those being produced by artists, and posits new models in advance of art being made today. The complete curator bypasses the complexities and dead ends produced by attempting to match theories to forms – curatorial conceptualization runs ahead – dragging desire for new structures into direct confrontation with theoretical (philosophical, sociological, and psycho-logical) constructions.
This "complete curator" is also prone to a nebulous, elastic understanding of their own role and function. Gillick humorously applies to research. "What do curators even mean when they're researching? They could mean anything. And I'd know, I tell people I'm researching but I'm really just reading a book!"
While the symposium has been very enlightening thus far, Gillick's artist perspective seems a welcome change to a speaking line-up of only curators.