Critical Issues in Public Art presents: Paul O’Neill

The curatorial as constellation: durational public art, cohabitational time and attentiveness

Paul O’Neill’s lecture will look at how the curatorial can be conceived of as a constellation, resists the stasis of the curator-artist-spectator triumvirate and supports more semi-autonomous and self-determined aesthetic and discursive forms of practice that may overlap and intersect, rather than seeking a dialectic (image) or oppositional presentation (form).

O’Neill will look at this concept by exploring how durational processes to public art curating and commissioning have emerged as an alternative to nomadic, itinerant and short-termist approaches in recent years. The lecture provides a dynamic assessment of different curatorial methodologies alongside critical reflections on durational projects as counter-spectacles. It will demonstrate how a progressive understanding of the curatorial as a constellation of activities and is essential to grasping durational approaches to public art and how curatorial processes conceive of time as part of a cumulative practice.

Dr. Paul O’Neill is a curator, writer and educator based in New York and Bristol. He is Director of the Graduate Program, Centre for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. Paul has co-curated more than fifty exhibition projects across the world. He is international tutor on the de Appel Curatorial Program, Amsterdam, and international research fellow with The Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media, Dublin.

Paul’s writing has been published in many books, catalogues, journals and magazines and he is a regular contributor to A rt Monthly. He is reviews editor for Art and the Public Sphere Journal and on the editorial board of The Exhibitionist and The Journal of Curatorial Studies. He is editor of the curatorial anthology, Curating Subjects (2007), and co-editor of Curating and the Educational Turn with Mick Wilson (2010), both published by de Appel and Open Editions (Amsterdam and London), and author of Locating the Producers: Durational Approaches to Public Art (Amsterdam, Valiz, 2011), edited with Claire Doherty. He recently completed the authored book The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s), (Cambridge, MASS., The MIT Press, 2012).

The series Critical Issues in Public Art is a part of Public Art Norway ’s (KORO’s) focus on knowledge production in our field where we initiate and develop lectures, workshops and publications that discuss current issues. As a little national “giant” when it comes to commissioning public art works, we see there is an urgent need to rethink many of the strategies and policies in this production: The question of representation, financial structures and artistic sensibility versus public frameworks. The recurring debates on art in the public sphere demonstrate the need to facilitate the discussions about possibilities and preconditions of art in public spaces. The debate is often raised to a principal level; lifted out of the realm of the self-referential field of art and into the political and public sphere.


Monday, January 6th, 2014


Kristian Augusts gate 23, 8th floor. Oslo, Norway

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