Previously at the ICA - Events

Photo: Chinese toys in Liberty window

And I Bring Back Untold Treasures: The Curator As Artistic Importer

14 May 2008

During the postwar period, progressive institutions had the unenviable task of attempting to re-orientate British culture away from colonialism and imperialist attitudes. As such the ICA frequently used its spaces to showcase art from other cultures. There was often a faddist tendency to art world internationalism: America was the home of the new in the 1950s, while Germany seemed to lead the way in the 1970s. Exhibitions such as Fluorescent Chrysanthemum: Contemporary Art from Japan exoticised other countries as different and exciting.

The current explosion of exhibitions focusing on art from China shows that the curator is still crucially involved in this cultural diplomacy. Increasingly the job of the curator is to see the world via its art fairs and biennales and to select treasures with which to return.

Is it arrogant to assume that we have the tools to understand artwork from cultures different from ours? Is the practice of presenting different countries via their art scene a continued form of imperialistic attitude? What are we in search of in the romantic international quest for the undiscovered?

Speakers include Paul Domela, Programme Director of Higher Education and International Exchange, Liverpool Biennial, Nicolette Kwok, Director of The Red Mansion Foundation, Mark Nash, Head of Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art, and Andrea Rose, Director of Visual Arts, British Council.

The discussion is chaired by Anthony Downey, Programme Director, Contemporary Art MA, Sotheby's Institute of Art.

In association with the London Consortium and London Centre for Arts and Cultural Enterprise


E.g., 10-03-2020
E.g., 10-03-2020