Making Art Public: Musicality & the Curatorial

McKeon, Ed (2021) Making Art Public: Musicality & the Curatorial. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Ed McKeon PhD Thesis published_Final version_Submitted Jul 2021_Final Award Nov 2021.pdf - Accepted Version

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This thesis concerns the conjoining of notions of curating and music, consolidated over the last two decades, and its significance both for the gallery arts and for musical practices. I approach this research in two ways. Firstly, I trace a path from the becoming-visible of the curator function in the 1960s to its professionalisation from 1987 within a critically reflexive paradigm, and finally to ‘the curatorial’ as a post-representational proposition since 2006. This describes a trajectory away from visual privilege towards processes that de-essentialise the visual and that reconsider issues of mediation more broadly. Secondly, I examine the process that distinguished the gallery arts from ‘music’ – beginning with the curatorial ‘invention’ of Sound Art from the late 1970s – in order to grasp the import of their cautious opening to musical practices over the past decade. My focus here is on the erosion of artistic autonomy as a foundational principle of curatorial practice. By following the methodical workings of John Cage beyond his erasure of music’s autonomy – its audible difference from ‘non-musical’ sounds – I return to the philosophical concept of musicality and its implications for practices of mediation. This is complemented by three situated reflections, writing from within different projects that each concerned the relation between music, the gallery arts, and the curatorial. These include: the ‘first opera production’ in New York’s Times Square as part of the Performa biennial; Ari Benjamin Meyers’s Kunsthalle for Music at Rotterdam’s Kunstinstituut Melly; and both the Listening Space and the curatorial adoption of musical principles at documenta14 in Athens. In different ways, these exemplify what I describe as the musicalisation of the curator function, and the composition of ways of being in time with others.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
1 July 2021Submitted
8 November 2021Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Curator, Curation, Curatorial, Musicality, Social Aesthetics, Sound Art, Performance Art, John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, Ari Benjamin Meyers, Jani Christou, Performa, Documenta
Subjects: CAH20 - historical, philosophical and religious studies > CAH20-01 - history and archaeology > CAH20-01-04 - heritage studies
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-02 - performing arts > CAH25-02-02 - music
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > College of English and Media
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2022 13:50
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2022 13:50

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