Milbourne: I have more to say to these threads than time is currently going to allow me. Implicit within Laurie’s statement is the assumption of who can be a contemporary curator. Just as we touched upon in our last thread on our last thread, the very word “contemporary” is contested and ill-defined. There is more than one path to interrogating both the contemporary and “Africa” in museum spaces. And I am not trying to oversimplify here. Curators who work with artists need to go to talk to the artists, visit their studios, engage with their colleagues, get to galleries, biennales and other exhibitions as much as their schedules permit, and read. But frankly, if we limit the definition of who can engage with the contemporary in a respectful and thoughtful manner, we also limit the questions that can be asked. But more on that later.
In addition, I suppose I did write too hastily yesterday. My point was that this is more subtle than art vs. ethnology. Artists are also appearing in science museums, cultural museums, medium-based museums, temporally-conceived museums, etc. And yes, the type of knowledge is different in each but the cumulative effect of these multiple types of knowledge is positive. It empowers the arts, as well as the artist. And the artist, as well as the curator, needs to know what it means to be in these spaces.