Access, Ableism and Dis/ability in Curatorial Practice

May 08, 2017

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Event Details

Chair & moderator
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Association of Art Museum Curators
New York, NY

Other Speakers

Eliza Chandler, Assistant Professor, School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University, Toronto and former Artistic Director, Tangled Art & Disability, Toronto; Danielle Linzer, Curator of Education and Interpretation, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; and Francesca Rosenberg, Director of Community & Access Programs, Museum of Modern Art, NY

Why is it important for curators to think about disability aesthetics? In this panel, moderator, and independent curator Dr. Amanda Cachia, along with three curators and art museum workers, will discuss the dynamics surrounding curatorial access in museums and galleries, with respect to policy, audience needs/interests, artist-curator relationships, and everyday physical and material concerns. In the past five years, the artworld has seen a rising interest in considering the work of disability arts-based subject matter, in both theory and praxis. In the museum and gallery system, the critical consideration of access has always been, and continues to remain important, but the needs of visitors with physical, cognitive and sensory disabilities often occupies a narrow band-width of attention by most museum and cultural workers. How does one incorporate the material, conceptual, sensorial and political discourse of diverse bodies into a larger museum infrastructure, especially through a curatorial lens? What are our working and utopian definitions of diversity, and how can access embrace multiple modalities in order to benefit a greater variety of audience and artist? The idea is to also focus on examples of how curators have approached curating disability aesthetics – what style did they use, what thematics? What have we seen lately that worked and did not work? Does curatorial intention matter? What about the identity or the politics of the curator – how important is this, why/why not? Is it important to expose and train curators and other arts administrators within the realm of disability aesthetics? Do certain physical and spatial environments and cultural contexts lend themselves more to curating disability aesthetics? Why/why not? The panelists will discuss these questions and more in relation to their own professional experiences and relationships to access.