San Francisco Chronicle
Caretakers: 'Four on One': The curator's role has become influential.
This show puts the spotlight on them."
Conceptual artist Michael Zheng has been noticing a trend that had been written about but not acted upon: the growing presence of curators in the art world. It seemed to him that the influence of curators on the shows at galleries and museums has reached the point where curators are themselves artists, with their material being the artists' work.
he reasoned, he turned this relationship on its head?
"I invited four curators, all professionals, from different backgrounds," says Zheng, "to first agree upon one artist. Then they would each curate one week's show. The show will have four different views, from different perspectives."
It'll be interesting to witness how the same artist's work will be presented.
The artist in question, Stephanie Syjuco, was chosen for her diverse body of work, which "lends itself to multiple points of view," according to Zheng. "She's shown at museums, the Whitney in New York, but her work is all over the place." Zheng is particularly grateful for her willingness to let the curators take such a pivotal role in the display of her work. "If she wasn't so enthusiastic, this wouldn't work.
Her art is...,"
he pauses, "not exactly the focus of the show."
Part of the process involves elements of surprise. Zheng has let the curators decide how much or little to tell them about what they've been up to. In the first installment, Terri Cohn drew upon her experience with historical exhibitions to make a one-painting salon out of Syjuco's catalog, managing to create a multimedia experience out of the unveiling. The artist and the curator had a public talk, as the artist led the audience through a video of the piece. In the next room was the actual piece, covered in velvet.
The conceptual conceit of this show is appropriate for the venue, which is an experimental space in Pacific Heights. It's called the Garage Biennial, and the curators of the space have decided to spoof the ubiquitous biennial theme, offering "biennials" every month.
The next opening of "Four on One -- Curators Create, Artist Curates" will start at 6 p.m. Sat., with Joyce Grimm as the curator. Through Aug. 25. The Garage, 2830 Pacific Ave., S.F. (415) 425-1647. www.garagebiennale.com.