Nottingham Contemporary and Former Tate St. Ives Curator Sam Thorne gave a talk on the role of the curator and the problems they have to consider when devising an exhibition. In the first half he gave an overview of the history of art exhibitions, covering the Salon Louvre, When Attitudes Became Form 1969, Magicians of the Earth 1989 and the Utopia Station at the Venice Biennale 2003. Harald Szeemann is seen as the first curator and oversaw the When Attitudes Became Form exhibition in Bern. By the time of Magicians of the Earth, art exhibitions had become global, encompassing art from different countries, moving away from the heavy focus on Europe. As galleries become global around the late 20th century, the scale of art works get bigger and gallery spaces change to accommodate this, becoming more flexible and more open plan. By the 21st century the curator becomes somebody who deals with events more than paintings.
In the second half of the talk we were given a tour of the four gallery spaces in the Contemporary and how each spaces is suited to different types of art work. Sam Thorne also spoke on the limitations that curators have to work with, such as Lux or Light levels, humidity, and restrictions imposed by the gallery. He also explained that the design of older galleries, including Tate St. Ives present problems because they are often not equipped to display large scale installations or works that require a regulated atmosphere.