An Interdisciplinary Collection

Collection Curatorial Staff

Eschewing specialized departments, the MCA recognizes that contemporary art frequently reflects a merging of once-distinct disciplines.

We had to be very clever about these sort of logistics about collecting, because you can collect, but then if you don't have the proper way to take care of them, which is part of what you must do when you're a public institution and you have a collection, then you really shouldn't collect those things. So, another decision we made fairly early on is that we wouldn't really try to collect prints and drawings, because you need specialized facilities. That doesn't mean we don't have any in the collection, but we don't have a special prints and drawings department. And I think also the way the collection was forming in this sort of organic way made everyone realize that we really shouldn't have departments here, either.

And as some other contemporary art museums started going into specialization, having a video and film department, or, you know, design department, or a prints and drawings department like I just mentioned, or, you know, even a sculpture department and a painting department, with curators that that's just what they looked at. I think from the beginning, this institution realized that contemporary artists were want to do things like merge painting and sculpture, because they certainly were doing it from the very beginning of the MCA's history, and that it was best to just keep everybody being generalists. So, you had all the curators here being generalists. None of them were, you know, oh, yeah, you've been hired to be the print and drawing curator or the video curator. Certainly, everyone had strengths and interests, and those, you know, become revealed as they do the exhibitions that they did. But, I think that made this place really attractive to a lot of artists, especially that they knew they were going to be treated as "artists," and not "photographer."

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