writings, projects and exhibitions of Clarissa Chikiamco

Monday, July 5, 2010


To those waiting for part 2 of my article 'Third World biennial?', I learned that there wasn't enough space in today's art section in Star to handle my shortly over 2,000-word continuation. So it will have to wait till next Monday (12 July). I now have time to revise it but unless I somehow am able to shorten it by a lot, there will be a part 3.

I'll also mention it here that I will be gone from Manila for a month from early August to attend the Gwangju Biennale International Curator Course, which is being led by the NY-based curator Dan Cameron. I am very excited for this fantastic opportunity to learn from more experienced and senior curators and to meet younger curators from different countries as well.

And speaking of curating, I am thinking of writing less frequently or taking a break for a month or so from writing for my column to focus on research for my curatorial work. Well, we'll see how it goes but there's a part of me that needs my head space for it.

Also as an added note, I'd like to say I don't think of myself as "the art police" and some overly defensive emails I have received (not in response to any article that had been published but other matters I won't bother to detail) have made me realize that some may be nervous about being featured and called out in articles of mine for things that would not be received positively. And I find this quite ridiculous because in my overall body of work, it is rare for me to do such things and I have never focused my articles on simply catching those practicing unethical practices in the arts. My most extensive discussion on conflicts of interest was the very public National Artist Award controversy which several wrote about as well.

If in the course of a project I was asked and agreed to be a part of, I find out about a conflict of interest in the project that was not disclosed to me from the beginning - I would probably discuss this with the persons involved because I want to understand the situation. I am not a detective sniffing out for leads to do a newspaper expose so people shouldn't overreact. That kind of behavior actually makes it difficult for me to quietly excuse myself from projects. And excusing myself is not indicative of an opinion of the project being terrible - it could very well be fantastic. But it is really that I should have been informed of this conflict at the start which would have shown that the conflict was being handled transparently and I could have properly made a decision about my involvement. Trust is difficult to repair if a conflict is found out by some other persons or means other than the people who should be informing you about them. And pretty much, a "sorry, we should have told you" would suffice and be appropriate rather than a long defensive exposition involving good intentions/passion, which I think are unnecessary things to mention about the issue at hand. I found this quote from the Association of Art Museum Directors in one article I was reading - “Good intentions, being unprovable, are an inadequate defense against...charges of impropriety.... Every effort should be made to anticipate and address situations in which there is the appearance of conflict of interest, even if no actual conflict exists.”

While the above may peak people's interest about the particular project and conflict, these details really don't matter. My point is when I have questions or discussions about a professional matter, I think it's best to not project and to respond professionally as well. And if there is a conflict of interest (ideally there is none) - this should be handled transparently particularly to everyone invited to be a part of the project. If it's not, even not pushing through with this perceived conflict (after it is found out) does not change the difficulty of the situation and even could exacerbate it.

On a last unrelated note, I wrote the exhibition text of Mark Salvatus' current exhibition Attached in Drawing Room. The exhibition is on till 19 July. Catch it soon!

1 comment:

Tabuena arts central said...

All the best Lisa, God bless your trip!