In 2014, philosopher Rossen Ventzislavov published an article in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism that positioned curating as a form of art. Titled “Idle Arts: Reconsidering the Curator,” Ventzislavov’s piece made the case for curatorial practice as an extension of the artist’s creative process. Soon after, philosopher and practicing curator Sue Spaid offered a rebuttal of Ventzislavov’s thesis, distinguishing between the “performance” of an artwork within a curatorial setting and the artwork itself. Spaid’s article provoked a second rebuttal from Ventzislasov, and the two thinkers initiated a passionate debate.
Boxing Philosophical: Are Curators Artists, Too? moves this dialogue from the pages of academic journals into the public arena. Moderated by historian Patricia Morton, Boxing Philosophical provides a platform for Ventzislavov and Spaid to re-examine their perspectives and deepen their shared investigation into the intersection of artistic and curatorial endeavor. The event will include presentations from both writers, a moderated discussion, and an opportunity for the audience to contribute.
This timely debate is presented with the context of the museum’s current exhibition Grandfather: A Pioneer Like Us—a collaboration between the Getty Research Institute and ICA LA that revisits the legacy of curator Harald Szeemann.
Rossen Ventzislavov is a philosopher and cultural critic focusing on aesthetics, architectural theory, literature, popular music, and performance art. His work has appeared in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Deleuze Studies, Contemporary Aesthetics, and the Journal of Popular Music Studies. He is currently Associate Professor of Philosophy at Woodbury University.
Sue Spaid has curated over one hundred exhibitions and biennials in the United States and Europe. Her most recent exhibitions include “De Wind Deed Het” at Windowbox in Mechelen, Belgium and “Ecovention Europe: Art to Transform Ecologies, 1957-2017” at De Domijnen Hegendaagse Kunst in Sittard, Netherlands. Her 2013 doctoral dissertation Work and World: On the Philosophy of Curatorial Practice built on twenty-five years experience as a critic, gallerist, curator, and museum director. She is currently Associate Editor of Aesthetic Investigations, the journal of the Dutch Association for Aesthetics.
Patricia A. Morton is the author of Hybrid Modernities: Architecture and Representation at the 1931 International Colonial Exposition in Paris (MIT Press, 2000; Japanese edition, Brücke, 2002). She is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Getty Research Institute, the Fulbright Program, the University of California Humanities Research Institute, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among other institutions. She has lectured and published widely on architectural history and race, gender and identity. Her current book project, Paying for the Public Life, focuses on work by architect Charles W. Moore. She is past editor of the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians and Vice President-elect of the Society of Architectural Historians.