Curatorial Philosophy

“I retain the hope that in some small measure my work can help us ‘see through’ the
commonsensical notion regarding things as they are: that this is how they must be…
Collective transformation requires communication.”
–Martha Rosler, Decoys and Disruptions

The primary role of a curator is communication. Existing between artists and the public, a curator creates a frame which presents artwork in a certain arrangement and context. This context can make artwork more readable or transform its meaning altogether. As Jerry Saltz wrote, “Two artworks arranged alchemically leave each intact, transform both and create a third thing.”1 That third thing is what I strive for in each exhibition I curate.

Like Rolser in the quote above, I hope that my curatorial work helps the audience to “see through” things. Too often we take things at face value. The meaning, beauty, and power in most works of art are not found on the surface but must be uncovered beneath the initial reading. My goal is to create a space where visitors can—and more importantly want to—spend time with the art on display.

Ultimately I hope to engender collective transformation by facilitating the communication between artists or artworks and the audience. Artwork and audience are two sides of the same coin, and as such, art has little value without an audience. Therefore, my role as curator not only serves the audience but the artwork as well, providing a guide for the former by creating a frame for the latter and leaving both transformed.

–Elizabeth Kauffman, 2010