On Sunday, Dan Cameron, senior curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, will be discussing "the dramatic sea change in curatorial practice that's taken place in the last 10 or 15 years" as part of the Portland Art Museum's Critical Voices Lecture Series. Having curated numerous international exhibitions, including the Eighth Istanbul Biennial, Cameron brings a global perspective to the topic with special emphasis on emerging trends in the Asian art world.
MERCURY: What curatorial developments do you see taking shape in Asia?
CAMERON: When I finished doing the Taipei Biennial late last year, I was really struck by how all of the biennials in different parts of Asia are coordinated to be open at the same time. In Europe, nobody would ever do that. If you were doing something at the same time as the Venice Biennale, you wouldn't really get an audience. This idea of working together and not emphasizing the competition is a very particular way of doing things. Once you get used to it, you realize it's perfectly logical.
Do you think that approach could change how we do things here?
Everything that's happening in Asia right now is going to wind up impacting what we do in the West in some way. As the economy of the art market eventually drifts more to Asia, we'll be importing those norms more, whether we identify them as Asian or not.
What artistic trends have you observed?
There's a return to more performance- and video-based work that's a little bit simpler and, maybe for us, more of a throwback to the '70s. But you see a lot of artists, especially in China, taking it up as if they're seeing it for the first time. I'm seeing a lot of interesting art that has to do with machines and the latest computer technology. In the West, we think we're very technologized, but when you see the way artists in China, Korea, or even Japan are working with the internet, you realize that there's this huge realm of possibility. Sometimes we have to be looking toward Asia to see where the innovation is taking place.