Caution: Curator Cattle Call
Damien Hirst, her first choice, wasn't available, so artist Sophie Calle placed an ad seeking an unconventional (or at least unpredictable) choice to curate her installation in the French pavilion at the next Venice Biennale:
Traditionally, it's the curator's job to choose the artist. And placing a want ad in a newspaper is not the typical way of finding one. Of course, when the artist is Sophie Calle, one must expect the unexpected. As Le Monde's Michel Guerrin reports, last week Calle discreetly submitted an announcement to the newspaper. But unlike those seeking an apartment or a new employee, Calle is looking for someone to curate her show in the French pavilion at the next Venice Biennale.The link above is live, so if you're interested, go for it. Although, the warning should be taken quite seriously, I'd venture, given Calle's other famous piece in Venice where she posed as a chambermaid in a Venetian hotel in order to :
Guerrin quotes the ad in full: "Sophie Calle, artist selected to represent France at the 52nd Venice Biennale, looking for enthusiastic candidate for the position of exhibition curator. References required. Pay to be negotiated. Command of English desired. Send a CV and a cover letter to: email@example.com."
As one may gather from the announcement, hopeful candidates would be sending their applications to Calle's gallerist in Paris, Emmanuel Perrotin. According to Guerrin, Calle originally asked Damien Hirst to do the honors. But when Hirst refused, a friend apparently gave her the idea of placing an ad in the paper (a version of the advertisement also appears on page 230 of the Summer 2006 issue of Artforum.)
Guerrin insists that the ad is serious and that the artist's request should be taken "à la lettre [at its word]." "[Calle] likes to put herself in danger by setting up scenarios which she does not completely control," writes Guerrin. This approach allows Calle "to produce works whose content and breadth cannot be expected from the outset." Given Calle's reputation, potential curatorial candidates may themselves be in for a few surprises.
...investigate the lives of strangers through their possessions and habits. In the guests’ absence, she photographed opened luggage, laundry, contents of bathrooms, and even trashcans, noting details gleaned from diaries, letters, and so on. Each of the twelve works in the series (one for each room Calle was assigned to clean) consists of a grid of photographs shown alongside a larger image of the hotel room’s bed, which is above a text written by the artist. Freely combining fact and conjecture, the texts include quotes and details from the documents Calle read as well as her own interpretations of the people whose privacy she playfully—and almost criminally—invaded.Lord only knows what Ms. Calle might have in mind for the curator selected.