Art Fag City on Curators syndrome

I don’t know if Paddy Johnson over at Art Fag City has developed a wryer sense of humour over the past few weeks, or if I’ve just been paying closer attention to her blog since she started reporting on her recent art viewing experiences in Toronto. But either way, I’ve been really enjoying her commentary on the TO scene. Especially when she coined the term “curators syndrome” which she defines as “A selection of bad work from the 300 or so artists on the curator-darling list.”

e-flux screen shot, from
e-flux screen shot, from

I still haven’t made it to The Power Plant’s “Adaptation: Between Species” show, which inspired the post, so can’t comment on whether it suffers from said syndrome. However, it does seem to prove a curator friend’s recent assertion that many large, contemporary-art-focused institutions in Toronto seem to base their programming on one question: “how well will it e-flux?”

It makes me wonder what kind of programming might happen if these larger places didn’t worry so much about the international reception of their press releases and spent more time doing studio visits and seeking out some lesser-known artists, both at home and abroad. It seems to work well for the AGYU‘s annual solo shows by Toronto artists, such as Oliver Husain’s recent, excellent exhibition there, or for MOCCA‘s current survey of architecture-related projects by local artists, “Empire of Dreams” (which, disclaimer, I still haven’t seen, but the reviews so far are pretty good and the photos of Josh Thorpe‘s pieces on Sally McKay and L.M.’s blog are incredible).

Published by


Gabrielle Moser is a writer and independent curator. She regularly contributes to, and her writing has appeared in venues including ARTnews, Canadian Art, Fillip, n paradoxa, and Photography & Culture. She has curated exhibitions for Access Gallery, Gallery TPW, Xpace and Vtape. Gabby is a PhD candidate in art history and visual culture at York University and a member of the Toronto Photography Seminar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *