Friday 15 August 2014

RECAP: Curatorial Roundtable 01 | Lines of Control: Curatorial Con-texts

The first session of the Curatorial Roundtable talk series was held at the Visitors’ Briefing Room in the National Library Building on 7 August (Thursday), from 6.30pm to 9pm. Moderated by Kenneth Tay, assistant curator at the NUS Museum, Dr Charles Merewether (NTU School of Art, Design and Media), Charmaine Toh (National Gallery Singapore, Jennifer Teo and Woon Tien Wei (Post-Museum) came together to explore the topic of ‘Lines of Control: Curatorial Con-texts’.

Despite the rise of the independent and transnational curator, the role of the curator is inextricably bound up in site - be it the museum, the international biennale, or the small non-profit space. To that end, how do we continue to speak about authorship in curatorial practice given that the latter continues to be influenced, changed and developed alongside the contexts curators find themselves in? As the inaugural session of the Curatorial Roundtable talk series, this session explored these questions while addressing also the perhaps problematic over-investment in the figure of the independent and transnational curator.


Dr Charles Merewether was born in Edinburgh. He received his PhD after studying literature, philosophy and art history. He subsequently taught European modernism at the University of Sydney before leaving to live in Colombia and then Mexico. He taught at Universidad Iberoeramericana, then at the Universidad Autonoma in Barcelona. In 1991 he moved to New York and received a research fellowship from Yale University and worked as the Inaugural Curator for the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey, Mexico (MARCO) between 1991-1994. Subsequently he was a Curator at the Research Institute at the Getty Center in Los Angeles for (1994-2003) and gave courses at the University of Southern California (USC). He was Artistic Director of the Sydney Biennale between 2004-2006. Between 2007-8, he was Deputy Director of the Cultural District, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi and from 2010-2013, Merewether was Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Singapore. He is currently Visiting Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Charmaine Toh is a curator at the National Gallery, Singapore, currently researching photography and Singaporean artists working in the 1980s and 90s. She was the Programme Director of Objectifs: Centre of Photography and Film from 2010 to 2014 where she played a pivotal role in revitalising the gallery programme and initiated plans for documentation and research of local art practice. She is also the founder and Director of The Art Incubator, an independent organisation that facilitates the production and presentation of new work via residencies and exhibitions. Charmaine was the co-curator of the 2012 Marina Bay Light Festival and co-curator of the 2013 Singapore Biennale. 

Jennifer Teo and Woon Tien Wei have worked together for more than 10 years, in The Artists Village, p-10 and Post-Museum, an independent cultural and social space which they set up in 2007.

Curatorial Roundtable 01 | in photos

Curatorial Roundtable 01 | video

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