On becoming weary and wary of exhibitions
Curator, 28 February 2021
—I’m really curious about your experience putting together the “little exhibition” last year in the midst of the pandemic. What was this exhibition? What were the circumstances that led you to work on this exhibition?
—It was an exhibition with two young artists. It was initially planned to take place in the first half of 2020, at a commercial space that I had been programming exhibitions at. The two artists and I had already applied for and received funding to support the costs of producing the artworks. For some reason, the exhibition at the space fell through very early on in 2020. We had been expecting this, because of the opaque communication with the space before, and what I read as non-committal language.

—It worked out to be even better, because with the funding secured, we could then find a space we were more comfortable with. One where we were not beholden to any kind of commercial imperative, had the proper infrastructure, that was sincere in its support, and had a more receptive audience or following. We had found just the right kind of space, then the epidemic escalated. We went into a lockdown, and more than just the exhibition was put on hold.
—What were some questions that precipitated? Any thoughts on these questions now?
—During the lockdown, I receded into myself. Everything and everywhere had slowed and quietened. A peer reached out, inviting me to contribute to a project—an online showcase—revolving around love and practice. I wrote something, and the writing was an exercise in processing my experience and bottled up angst. I had been programming exhibitions at the commercial space I had mentioned for a year and a half. But I felt it was uncaring on many levels—towards me, the artists, the artworks.
—It had also weaponized the idea of “care” to exploit me and the artists. In turn, as when one is not cared for, or capacity for care is depleted, I became myself quite complicit in the exploitation of others. After this, I became both weary and wary of exhibitions. When we went into Phase 1, and the horizon was in sight, I questioned why make exhibitions. Especially as, at that time, there were so many limitations placed on the exhibition and programming. But I can see now that there seems to be even more of an appetite for art, and that people do seek it out as a form of nourishment (rather than spectacle) more so now than before. The question is still something I am figuring through. I have found some answers though, to how I want to make exhibitions: in what conditions, with whom, on what timeline, where, for what purpose, and also to reconfigure the roles of curators and artists to be more collaborative.