The Curator’s Handbook

Adrian George is a curator, commissioner, writer and educator with over 20 years experience working in the New Museum, New York; Tate Modern; Tate Liverpool and the UK Government Art Collection, UK. He is currently Director of Exhibitions and Museum Services at ArtScience Museum, Singapore.

I stumbled upon The Curator’s Handbook while trying to find the digital version of An Introduction to Curation, a statement book when embarking on the journey of figuring out the state of curation today. The cover of Adrian George’s handbook was the first thing that made me curious, along with the title – I always needed such a handbook as I always had an interest in how people curate their exhibitions.

The book surprised me in a very good way with the level of details shared at every step needed to open your own exhibition/installation/ art project. It is a compendium of tasks required in curating exhibits for the public view. Each chapter is well researched, highlighted, and also inspiring as it shares advice from curators and art directors such as Obrist and Birnbaum.

The book has twelve chapters from Starting Off to During and After the Exhibition. In the Introduction of the book sheds light on the different types of curators and addresses the question: why is curation flourishing today?

The importance of ideas, thorough research, art history, critical theory is emphasised in the handbook, along with the mention that an exhibition is not a “book on the wall” and it should be treated as such. My most remembered exhibitions that I attended gave me this “greater freedom” that Adrian George mentions in the handbook.

The freedom to edit and direct my experience.

I would recommend this book not only to people who study curation, but also to people who want to play with exhibitions, places, spaces, ideas – in order to educate/entertain/ask big questions.

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