This course will introduce curatorial theories and practices, and aspects of critical writing in this context. Starting from a brief general introduction to the history of exhibition making, we will then focus on important exhibitions related to the works of artists from Africa and its diaspora after the so-called ‘global turn’ in contemporary art theory in 1989. The term refers to the questioning of the dominant art historical discourse centering around Euro-American artists and marks the beginning of global art as theme and category. We will research and analyze specific examples of exhibitions through looking at catalogues, reviews, and scholarly writing. In the second section, we will go on a field trip to visit an exhibition and/or museum relevant to this field. Students will critically analyze and discuss curatorial approaches and their executions and write an exhibition review.


Obrist, Hans Ulrich. A Brief History of Curating. Zurich, 2008.

O’Neill, Paul (ed.). Curating Subjects. London, 2007.

Lind, Maria. Why Mediate Art?, in: Ten Fundamental Questions of Curating. Ed. by Jens Hofmann, Milan, 2013.

Filipovic, Elena. What Is an Exhibition?, in: Ten Fundamental Questions of Curating. Ed. by Jens Hofmann, Milan, 2013.

Steeds, Lucy et al. Making Art Global (Part 2) ‘Magiciens de la Terre’ 1989. London, 2013

20190911 Curating Subjects, Pau ONeill.pdf20190911 Curating Subjects, Pau ONeill.pdfTen fundamental questions of curating.pdfTen fundamental questions of curating.pdf

The course gives a systematic overview on the key concepts, methods and theories of art studies; providing students with basic skills for analysing and reflecting upon art. Several approaches to art will be discussed based on the so-called classic texts such as Panofsky, Wölfflin, Einstein, Belting, Kemp, Warburg, Grasskamp and Fabian. Such approaches as will be discussed include iconographic, stylistic-historical, image-theoretical, reception-aesthetical and art-sociological approaches. Different forms of visual artistic expression and their treatment will be explored; including the conditions under which they originated in Africa, their use, their perception and their (critical) reception. Individual international exhibitions will be considered as well as their catalogs, e.g. Kittelmann, Udo (ed.), 2010: Who knows tomorrow. Köln / Njami, Simon, 2004: Afrika Remix. Ostfildern-Ruit / Enwezor, Okwui, 2001: The short century. München. / Phillips, Tom, 1996: Afrika. Die Kunst eines Kontinents. Berlin.