Curating Architecture:
Ângela Ferreira
Nikolaus Hirsch & Philipp Misselwitz
Walid Raad
with Celine Condorelli

at The Showroom, London
20 November – 14 December 2008

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Curating Architecture is a research initiative set up by the Curating Programme, Department of Art, at Goldsmiths College. Its aim is to interrogate ideas proposed by recent and recurring influences of architecture on curatorial practice through the joint development of critical discourse and curatorial commissioning processes.

Curating Architecture starts with the premise that the routines of artists and architects share many practical and theoretical concerns and have entwined histories. It has long been the case that a wide range of artists are influenced by contemporary developments in the architectural field, and that architects look to the conceptual and methodological strategies of artists for ideas, the ‘expanded field’ of practice, described firstly by Rosalind Krauss in relation to sculpture and more recently by Anthony Vidler in relation to architecture, becoming a utopian site for the presentation of objects and scenarios for public consumption.


There are, however, also huge practical and conceptual differences between the concerns of an artist and those of an architect, not least in economic, spatial and temporal terms. The emergence in the 1960s of collaborative artist-architect projects, and the increasing connections between the materials and processes artists and architects might use, have tended to smooth over such philosophical and physical differences. It is in the display of this work – in the curated staging – that the often competing relationships between differing spheres appear. Artists and architects could be said to have different objectives of display, and these necessitate different concerns of exhibition. As questions of process, site, draft, plan and model become the lingua franca of both artistic and architectural projects, curating can produce aesthetic parallels – and also political hiatuses – between the two.

Curating Architecture has been organised to re-think what is often assumed to be the clear transition between architectural ideas, artistic concepts and specific sites within the developing field of curating. When artists adopt architectural languages, when architects propose artistic concepts of display, when curators develop proposals with architects, what is constructed in the gallery, museum or ‘off’ site? Are the movements between art and architectural practices as easy as is often proposed? What is to be gained and what is lost by their convergence?

Curating Architecture is also informed by – and is designed to encourage – broader questions regarding the socio-political implications of exhibition-making in which a paradoxical relationship between art, architecture and the public sphere might be seen to reside. Displaying architecture as art, suggesting art as architecture, as do regular proposals in a contemporary curatorial landscape, speaks to the wider territorial desires of curating as a politico-aesthetic practice. Taking up these questions and developing others, it is hoped that the research generated through Curating Architecture will make a significant contribution to debates about spatial organisation and its cultural consequences.


Curating Architecture team:

Director: Dr Andrea Phillips
Curators: Dr Andrew Renton and Lisa Le Feuvre
Post-Doctoral Researcher/Curator: Edgar Schmitz
Project Assistant: Miranda Pope
Web Designer: Mike Riley



Curating Architecture has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
For more details contact Andrea Phillips on or +44  207 919 7691

Photo credits: Andrea Phillips Venice Architecture Biennale 2006