Curating and Ethics
Lecturer: Martin Fritz
Course dates: 11 June + 18 June 2022, 2–6pm (CEST)
Like any other field of human behaviour, curating art and managing art organisations need ethics. Once we enter into our respective working relationships with artists, communities, colleagues, staff (and the objects), we need to take decisions about how to behave professionally and ethically. Be it as team-leaders, co-workers, and/or representatives of institutions, curators need to not only care for the conceptual and scientific integrity of their projects: their responsibilities increasingly often include the task of confronting the manifold ethical controversies in the field of art and culture.
The course “Curating and Ethics” will address ethical concerns in a practice-oriented manner, focusing on the artists-curator relationship, labour relations, payment, institutional governance, fundraising, conflicts of interest, and politics. We will revisit some of the major controversies of the last decade (P.A.I.N, Whitney Museum, Liberate Tate) and we will look at examples of controversially discussed projects and artworks. The participants will be encouraged to share examples from their own professional practice. Based on the historical groundwork of initiatives such as “The Art Workers Coalition,” the group will develop its own contemporary “Statement of Demands.”
Martin Fritz studied law in Vienna from 1981 to 1986. Since then, he has worked in the field of contemporary art production in Vienna, New York, and Germany. Among many other assignments, he has worked as Director of Operations for the re-opening of PS1 Contemporary Art Center (today: MoMA PS1) in New York; Managing Director of In Between – The Art Project of EXPO 2000 in Hanover; General Coordinator of Manifesta 4 – European Biennial of Contemporary Art in Frankfurt am Main; and as Director of the Festival der Regionen in Upper Austria. From 2001 to 2007, he was a member of the Board of the International Foundation Manifesta. From 2016 to 2020, Martin Fritz headed Merz Akademie Hochschule für Gestaltung, Kunst und Medien, Stuttgart as its Rector. As a writer, consultant, and researcher, Martin Fritz specializes in site-specific art, institutional critique, arts administration, cultural policy, and institutional governance. Martin Fritz is a corresponding member of the Vienna Secession and a member of the permanent jury for visual arts at the Austrian Ministry of Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport.