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Beyond Documentation: The Exhibition Photography of Shunk-Kender and Balthasar Burkhard

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The ephemeral, site-specific, installation-based and performative artworks of the 1960s and 1970s relied heavily on documentation. Likewise, exhibitions depended on photographs like never before, engendering new modes of collaboration between curator and photographer. The advent of the curator-auteur created new opportunities, not only for the camera’s use in making and documenting art, but also for distribution and promotion. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, photographers Balthasar Burkhard and the duo of Harry Shunk and Janos Kender documented exhibitions – both in process and after completion – and created a body of work that could be said to exemplify the nascent genre of ‘exhibition photography’.
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Keywords: Balthasar Burkhard; Harald Szeemann; Shunk-Kender; exhibition photography; history of exhibitions

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Independent Curator

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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  • The Journal of Curatorial Studies is an international, peer-reviewed publication that explores the cultural functioning of curating and its relation to exhibitions, institutions, audiences, aesthetics and display culture. The journal takes a wide perspective in the inquiry into what constitutes "the curatorial." Curating has evolved considerably from the connoisseurship model of arranging objects to now encompass performative, virtual and interventionist strategies. While curating as a spatialized discourse of art objects remains important, the expanded cultural practice of curating not only produces exhibitions for audiences to view, but also plays a catalytic role in redefining aesthetic experience, framing cultural conditions in institutions and communities, and inquiring into constructions of knowledge and ideology.
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