The course covers both theoretical and practical aspects of art exhibition making, primarily through discourses in curating and museum exhibition respectively. It is conducted in conjunction with the actual implementation of an exhibition project on the works of Chua Ek Kay, one of Singapore’s most celebrated artists. The exhibition will open in the SMU De Suantio Gallery on 19 October 2018. The students will participate in the final stages of the exhibition project, including artwork movement, installation, publicity, official opening, and public programmes. The exhibition in turn serves as a case study for the course to examine critical issues and components of an exhibition, from research, design, programming to audience engagement, and in the context of the scholarship on Singapore art history and curatorial studies.
The students will acquire knowledge on exhibition planning by observing and participating in the Chua Ek Kay exhibition, as well as critical knowledge on current curatorial theories and trends. Apart from exhibition content text on Chua Ek Kay (see Bibliography on Chua Ek Kay), selected articles from two key texts form the basis of the course: O’Neill, Paul; Mick Wilson & Lucy Steeds (eds), The Curatorial Conundrum, LUMA Foundation and the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, 2016; and Bauer, Ute Meta & Brigitte Oetker (eds), Southeast Asia Spaces of the Curatorial, Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2016.
- Combines theoretical and practical knowledge in curatorial studies alongside an actual exhibition on the works of Chua Ek Kay, supported by a professional exhibition team.
- Substantial industrial involvement, featuring leading curators, arts scholars and exhibition professionals as resource persons.
- Curatorship is further considered in relation to related topics in social sciences, cultural and media studies, through the facilitation of the key texts, The Curatorial Conundrum and Southeast Asia Spaces of the Curatorial.
- Course participants expected from several schools in SMU will contribute to the interdisciplinary nature of curatorial studies and specific scholarship pertaining to the exhibition project.
- The exhibition is also a commemorative event of the tenth anniversary of Chua Ek Kay’s passing.
- A sponsorship of $60,000 has been confirmed to support the course and the exhibition.
Acquisition of practical knowledge in the curatorial, components, and execution of an exhibition. Students will choose to focus on one aspect such as artwork management, marketing/communication, installation and lighting, public programmes, and response analysis for their project involvement. This is so as to have an overview of exhibition making, as well as in-depth knowledge inquiry of one aspect of exhibition which may be linked to their broader research interest, such as experiential communication, and collection management.
Acquisition of critical knowledge in curatorial studies through the key texts, along with focused understanding of the art historical and biography of one artist – Chua Ek Kay. The coupling of curatorial concerns and the concrete context of one historical artist will allow the students to examine general curatorial theories in conjunction with one specific exhibition content. The students should develop an inquiry into curatorial and exhibitionary practice in the main essay of the course.
At the end of the course, the students will be able to participate and engage in exhibition projects both at the theoretical-critical level and practical project execution level, either as a furthering of knowledge in exhibitions (events) and curating (public cultural discourse) in relation to their education focus (any school in SMU), or as an integral component of the Arts and Culture Management Programme, particularly if visual arts/museum studies focus is chosen.