8 April 2015 – Housed: crit with Stephen Wilson and Donald Smith

Donald Smith, head of the MA Curating & Collections and Director of Chelsea Space, with Stephen Wilson, head of MA Critical Theory, join us the morning of 8 April 2015 for a walk-through and crit of Housed:, providing valuable insights and feedback on the project – before the curators come in to re-hang the show.

A few summary notes from the discussion with Donald and Stephen:

Crit with Stephen Wilson and Donald Smith, 'Housed:' at Chelsea College of Arts, London. Photo credit Regan O'Callaghan.
Crit with Stephen Wilson and Donald Smith, ‘Housed:’ at Chelsea College of Arts, London. Photo credit Regan O’Callaghan.

Discussion started out with an introduction by Alex and Regan about Housed: what we were attempting to do, and what we hoped would be the outcome.

Questions from Donald and Stephen included:

  • How did we get started?
  • How did we curate/ site the works?
    • Some were according to the artist proposals
    • Some works were site-specific
    • And for the rest the artists collaborated on placement or went with “what space am I given”
  • Observations from Stephen and Donald included: the exhibition appeared to be relaxed, with a cohesive vibe between the artists apparent – even though it was clearly experimental in nature; seemed to be for most artists, more useful as an exercise than interim show (which was noted as a “graded exercise” with additional constraints/pressures of time, space, and more artists in a single space). That said, the interim show was a natural precursor to this show, and most likely a helpful basis or stepping-stone for Housed:
  • Was this seen as an Academic research project or a studio/exhibition opportunity?
    • Many of the artists’ work is research-driven
    • That said, what is an exhibition these days? Is it a display of research results? Or simply a show of stuff that’s been made? Clearly, an exhibition can be both…
  • How do you house your practice in different situations? It was suggested, as an artist, one must figure out how to “house” your practice in each situation, in each site, or each exhibition – consider there is no one way to “house” your practice, house your work.
Crit with Stephen Wilson and Donald Smith, 'Housed:' at Chelsea College of Arts, London. Photo credit Regan O'Callaghan.
Crit with Stephen Wilson and Donald Smith, ‘Housed:’ at Chelsea College of Arts, London. Photo credit Regan O’Callaghan.

Following the group discussion, each artist had the opportunity for some individual feedback (which I won’t get into here).

All in all, it was an extremely valuable and enjoyable day!

A final thought from Donald who seemed to think in terms of both the overall quality of the exhibition and with regards to the works themselves, the “curators might be fucked now as some of the works must be unmade, broken, to rehang”. 🙂 He went on to remark that on this first viewing, it seems the “power” is in the artists in this show, who, Donald says, “curated the hell out of it”. It shall be seen tomorrow! 🙂

References and other information

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