Hans Ulrich Obrist: a brief history of curating

art, books/catalogs, theory

Documents / jrp

11 interviews with curatorial pioneers


“I became interested in finding out more about the history of my own field and who the curators from previous generations were who offer a toolbox for the 21st century.” As Hans Ulrich Obrist clearly explains, this volume aims to document the legacy of legendary curators and pioneering ideas within the curatorial field, and presents a unique collection of interviews: Anne d’Harnoncourt, Werner Hofmann, Jean Leering, Franz Meyer, Seth Siegelaub, Walter Zanini, Johannes Cladders, Lucy Lippard, Walter Hopps, Pontus Hultén, and Harald Szeemann are brought together in this publication.

The contributions map the development of the curatorial field, from early independent curating in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the experimental institutional programs developed in Europe and in the United States at this time, through documenta and the development of biennales.

Conceived as “an act of protest against forgetting,“ this publication has been widely acknowledged as a source book for students and professional alike.

The book is part of the Documents series, copublished with Les presses du réel and dedicated to critical writings.

First edition published in 2009. Ninth printing.


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