Constellations and canons

Boyer, Jane L. (2018) Constellations and canons. In: THEOREM 2017: Doctoral research in the UK visual arts and design: theory as practice and practice as theory. Ruskin Arts Publications, Cambridge, UK, pp. 73-83. ISBN 978-0993146152

Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL:


This essay presents a comparative analysis extract between two fine art exhibitions that used a relational ‘exhibition as matrix’ structure. This curatorial strategy, sometimes called ‘constellations,’ does away with hierarchical ordering in favour of thematic similarities. The purpose of this analysis was to examine the malleability and communicative impact of this kind of structure in conveying complex information to an art-viewing audience. The first project discussed is Phantom, a group exhibition curated by the author in 2017 for Ruskin Gallery. Phantom used an associative installation plan to examine translation and latency. The second project discussed was Inverted Utopias, which was a major museum survey of over 50 years of Modern art from Latin America curated by Mari Carmen Ramírez and Hector Olea in 2004 for The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Texas. While these two projects had vastly different historical, cultural and political contexts with entirely different aims, both projects worked within a similar curatorial methodology. The analysis was situated in Terry Smith’s articulation of three main currents within contemporary art, which he has based on three signature curatorial ideas: Continuing Modernism, Postcolonial Constellation, and Relational Aesthetics.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Inverted Utopias, Mari Carmen Ramírez, Hector Olea, Phantom, exhibition as matrix, Terry Smith, contemporary art currents, curatorial methodologies, comparative analysis
Faculty: Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2020 14:41
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2022 15:54

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item