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Wednesday, 12 September 2018

It's #AskACurator Day, and we've taken all of your curious questions to our Head of Exhibitions, Irene Aristizábal.

Q: Is not the development of work, it’s starting points, meanderings, internal conversations, trials, improvisations, ongoing critiques and decision-making often as rich/richer than an end product? and why not the focus of communication with the public?

A: The development and installation of our exhibitions is certainly an interesting process. This process is not identifiably as visible to our visitors as the exhibitions themselves. However, we have curated exhibitions where conversations and process have been a core theme, such as Lara Favaretto’s Absolutely Nothing, where tyre tracks from a motorcycle left marks on our gallery walls – signifying the remnants of a process left behind by the artist. For our previous exhibition The House of Fame, we produced a publication showing correspondences between our Director, Sam Thorne, and artist Linder Sterling. These emails show the conversations between curator and artist, those aforementioned meanderings and internal conversations.

Our exhibitions aim to reflect contemporary social and political issues and act as a form of dialogue between ourselves and the public. Each season is also accompanied by a public programme and learning activities, often developed as a response to our exhibitions, which offer further conversations and opportunities for discussion with us.

Instagram: @flossybudd
Q: How do you know when the project turnout is worth it?

A: There’s many indications that an exhibition is successful, including press coverage, attendance numbers, whether the artist is happy with their exhibition, if we delivered on time and within budget.

Instagram: @amygow
Q: How important are current trends or even staying ahead of trends in art and culture when planning and devising exhibitions?

A: We feel it’s important that our exhibitions are reflective of current contemporary social and political issues. We also try to stay ahead of the trends, although this cannot always be foreseen. Our States of America exhibition from 2017 was incredibly popular with audiences – and was exhibited during some of Trump’s most infamous presidential scandals, adding more layers of conversation to our exhibition. This was not planned, but serendipitous.
Our upcoming Still I Rise exhibition, looking at resistance movements from a gender perspective, is timely in an era of #MeToo and it coincides with the centenary of women’s suffrage.

Instagram: @harri_ett
Q: What's the most stressful part about being a curator?
A: Being a curator is very rewarding but it can also be a highly stressful job if you have to work with tight budgets (which the majority of us do) and if production of a work for instance doesn’t go to plan and that you have to problem solve without much time.

Instagram: @chloejaaay
Q: What's it like working with artists? Do you always understand/like their work?
A: Working with artists is really exciting, you have to adapt the way you work with each person and you learn so much from their research and knowledge.

Instagram: @blarriet
Q: How do you become a curator?
Instagram: @sadboi_liam
Q: What qualifications and experiences do you need to become a curator?

A: There are many pathways to become a curator but a traditional path would be to do a degree in art history, visual arts or social sciences and maybe continue with an MA in Curating. It is important to do internships whilst studying to gain experience and ideally try to do your own projects in small spaces.
Instagram: @royalblue_skeleton
Q: Do you find Nottingham restrictive?

A: Nottingham has a very rich art scene with spaces like the New Art Exchange, One Thoresby Street, Primary, Backlit and us of course, so there is a lot of great art to see and events to attend.
Image 1: Left: Irene Aristizábal, Head of Exhibitions at Nottingham Contemporary, Right: Ylena Popova, Artist. Photo by Sam Kirby.
Image 2: Pia Camil, Split Wall, Nottingham Contemporary. Photo by Sam Kirby.



Posted by llitchfield at 14:25    COMMENTS
Friday, 07 September 2018
By Laura-Jade Vaughan

Unusual Facts about Nottingham Contemporary

Lara Favaretto, Thinking Head, 2017. Installation view at Nottingham Contemporary. Generously supported by The Ampersand Foundation.


Our 2017 installation by Lara Favaretto caused a stir. Thinking Head - an artwork where steam rose from the top of our building – was mistaken for being a fire at the gallery. The artwork has become famous, even making an appearance on Have I Got News for You.


We have held lots of events, including talks by international artists, but did you know we’ve held a lecture by Nottingham designer Paul Smith, a discussion with graphic novelist Alan Moore, and we’ve hosted the feminist writer Germaine Greer. We’ve programmed music gigs by The Futureheads, Sun Ra Arkestra, Don Letts, and more recently Neneh Cherry performed among the tapestries of her grandmother, Moki Cherry.

© Nathan Dainty – VeryCreative

The first public appearance of Harry and Meghan was made at Nottingham Contemporary after they announced their engagement. Crowds gathered outside our venue to see the royal couple attend an event organised by Terrence Higgins Trust- a charity supporting those affected by HIV & fighting against stigmatisation & discrimination.


In 2017, we worked with students from Farnborough Academy in Clifton, Nottingham, to develop new work that reflected their hometown. The students work was then featured in an exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary and at the very prestigious National Portrait Gallery in London.

Credit: Peter Anderson

The steps at the side of our building have an unpleasant history. In 1844 Nottingham’s notorious murderer William Saville was publicly executed. The event attracted large crowds and got out of control, leading to a large crush where people were being trampled, and tragically 12 people died.


Our building is green, gold, concrete… and pink? Have you ever spotted that the air conditioning unit on top of our building is actually coloured pink? It was a last-minute decision from our architects, meant as a playful metaphor that the building’s pink knickers were accidentally on show.


Our lace heritage is seen in our building. Did you know that our building is embedded with an antique cherry blossom lace design by Richard Birkin from 1847, that was discovered in a time capsule buried on our building’s site?


We’re based in the oldest site in the city, home to a Saxon town hall and jail, and a Victorian railway tunnel. The remnants of an old railway tunnel runs from our venue to the old Victoria Railway Station, where Intu Victoria Centre sits today.


Our building is cuts into Nottingham’s sandstone cliffs, making it seem larger on the inside than the outside. You might find our venue has a cavernous underground vibe. Nottingham has hundreds of man-made caves- many yet to be discovered.


Posted by ljvaughan at 16:17    COMMENTS


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