Panel: embracing chaos
A discussion with the curators of The National 2019
This panel unpacks the pressures and process behind curating the defining art of today. Tackling collaboration, power dynamics and curatorial motivations, this is a chance to hear directly from the curators, grappling with the unpredictability of new work. The panel features Clothilde Bullen (MCA), Anna Davis (MCA), Daniel Mudie Cunningham (Carriageworks) and Isobel Parker Philip (Art Gallery of New South Wales), chaired by Michael Fitzgerald.
Clothilde Bullen, a Wardandi (Nyoongar)/Yamatji woman, is curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections and exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. She was previously curator of Indigenous art at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, where she worked for over a decade. Bullen has curated a number of shows independently, including Darkness on the Edge of Town (2016) at Artbank, Sydney, and When the Sky Fell: Legacies of the 1967 Referendum (2017) at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts. She has published extensively and is a board member on Art Monthly Australasia. Bullen is an alumni member of the British Council Accelerate scholarship for Indigenous leadership in the arts.
Anna Davis is curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Her recent exhibitions and publications include Sun Xun (2018); Jenny Watson: The Fabric of Fantasy (2017); New Romance: Art and the Posthuman (2015–16), co-curated with Houngcheol Choi; and Workout: 7 Days of Experimental Performance (2013). Davis was formerly assistant curator of contemporary art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and assistant curator at dLux MediaArts, Sydney. She has a background as an artist and holds a PhD in media arts from the University of New South Wales, Sydney. She speaks and publishes widely on contemporary art and curatorial practice, and has presented exhibitions in Australia, New Zealand and Korea.
Daniel Mudie Cunningham is director programs at Carriageworks. He has held roles as head curator at Artbank, Sydney, curator at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre, New South Wales, and lecturer and senior research associate at Western Sydney University, where he completed his doctorate in cultural studies in 2004. Recent curatorial projects include The TV Show (2018–19) at Wollongong Art Gallery, New South Wales; Good Neighbours (2017) at Artbank; and Katthy Cavaliere: Loved (2015–16) at the Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, and Carriageworks. Cunningham is a widely published arts writer and has edited numerous publications, including the magazine Sturgeon (2013–16).
Isobel Parker Philip is curator of photographs at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Her recent curatorial projects include Hold still: the photographic performance (2018), Pat Brassington: the body electric (2017–18), New matter: recent forms of photography (2016–17), and Imprint: photography and the impressionable image (2016). In 2017 she was the coordinating curator of Robert Mapplethorpe: the perfect medium. Parker Philip has published widely and has curated a number of exhibitions independently, most recently An elegy to apertures (2017) at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne. She serves on the advisory committee of the Murray Art Museum Albury and is an advisor for PHOTO 2020 International Festival of Photography.
Michael Fitzgerald is editor of Art Monthly Australasia magazine. He previously edited Photofile, Art & Australia and, from 1997 until 2007, was the Sydney-based arts editor for Time magazine. His writings include the 2017 novel The pacific room.
Image: James Newitt, Fossil (production still) (detail), 2019, courtesy and © the artist