Contemporary art and curatorship: from documenta to the Biennale

In the first venture of its kind, the Summer School in Contemporary Art and Curatorship offers students the chance to gain insight into the management principles of two of the world's most important and influential contemporary art exhibitions the Kassel documenta and La Biennale di Venezia by bringing together the expertise of scholars, artists and curators based in the hosting cities Kassel (Germany), and Venice (Italy).

Programme

The Summer School will offer two distinct but interconnected 2-week modules that together will investigate the history, management principles and strategies of the two art institutions documenta and La Biennale di Venezia. Students have the chance to fully immerse themselves in contemporary art and curatorship for 4 weeks, through lectures and visits of exhibition spaces in Kassel, Berlin and Venice. 

Students can choose to enrol in both modules, or in each module separately, and will be provided with a certificate at the end of each in order to request credit recognition at their home university.

Dates and schedule

  • Module 1: "Inside Arts" (Kassel)
    International Summer University Kassel (Uni Kassel, Germany), June 22 - July 7, 2019, including a weekend in Berlin (July 4-7)
  • Module 2: "Curatorship of Contemporary Visual Art and Performance"  (Venice)
    Ca' Foscari School for International Education (Ca' Foscari University Venice, Italy), July 8 - 19, 2019

Course contents

Module 1: Inside Arts

Location: Uni Kassel, Germany
Hours: 20
Credits: TBC

The documenta in Kassel is one of the most important and well known modern arts exhibitions in the world. Since its beginning in 1953, it has grown continuously and can be experienced not only in museums and art halls but also in many places throughout the city, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors. The University of Kassel offers the chance to get involved with the theory and practice of documenta and to learn about its history to any students and graduates interested especially in Fine Arts and Cultural Sciences but also those interested in Economics, Marketing and Management.

After the Berlin tour, students can continue with another 2-week module in Venice at Ca‘ Foscari University with a focus on the Venice Biennale.

Inside Arts - 40 hours

“Inside Arts” provides insight in how to curate an exhibition of this dimension – from pre-planning to the management of the documenta, including international marketing. We will visit the documenta Archive, art galleries and museums exhibiting documenta art.In addition, 2019 is the year of the Bauhaus centennial, which will be celebrated with the Kassel exhibition Bauhaus / documenta. Vision und Marke (vision and brands) which allows us to discuss these two concepts together with the organisers of the exhibition.

The course finishes with a trip to Berlin. In the capital, we will experience street art, which Berlin is famous for, including the East Side Gallery – the longest remaining part of the Berlin wall painted with graffiti art. Famous art museums like the Nationalgalerie/ Museum Island, the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart (Museum of Contemporary Art), or the Gemäldegalerie with masterpieces from the Middle Ages to Baroque will also be a part of the trip.


Module 2: Curatorship of Contemporary Visual Art and Performance

Location: Venice, Italy
Hours: 40
Credits: 6 cfu

The module will alternate between in-class lectures and site visits of relevant art projects and exhibitions in Venice's most important exhibition spaces (La Biennale di Venezia, Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Palazzo Grassi-Punta della Dogana - Pinault Collection, VAC, Tre Oci, MUVE-Musei civici di Venezia, Guggenheim), with a special focus on the Venice Biennale that will include:

  • a presentation of the history of the Biennale at Ca’ Giustinian, the historical headquarters of the Biennale di Venezia on the Grand Canal
  • a guided visit of ASAC, the Biennale historical archives
  • a private visit to the Palazzo del Cinema
  • a lecture on-site at the Biennale Giardini
  • seminars and conversations with curators and artists
  • students will also receive a 3-day pass for visiting the Biennale exhibition

Schedule

  • 20 hours of in-class lectures
  • 20 hours of visits and on-site lectures as well as group seminars with curators and artists

Curatorship - 6 hrs

The section analyzes tendencies, strategies and key-figures in the curatorial theory and practice through the analysis of specific case studies from the history of exhibitions in 20th and 21st century. Particular attention will be given to the history and structure of the Venice Biennale, the alleged “mother of all the Biennials”, which will allow for a comparative and compelling approach, supported by on-site visits to exhibitions, performances and talks with the involved artists and curators.

Course instructors: Matteo Bertelè and Susanne Franco

History of the Biennale - 8 hrs

The module focuses on the history of the Venice Biennale and on its interdisciplinary program from its foundation in 1895 up to the 2019 art exhibition. Particular attention will be given to the local context of the initiatives, and to the international significance of the Biennale included the worldwide emergence of the Biennials as a global contemporary phenomenon. In-class lectures discussing strategies and key-figures in the curatorial theory and practice will alternate with visits to the exhibitions and performances held in the framework of the Venice Biennale and its collateral events. The program includes also a series of meetings with artists, performers and curators.

Course instructors: Matteo Bertelè and Susanne Franco

Contemporary Art and Performance - 6 hrs

The module aims to help students understand and analyse contemporary performance art and dance, and to reflect on the dynamic ways in which they increasingly hybridize. Particular attention will be given to the growing presence in museums and art galleries of events and exhibitions in which performance and dance play a central role. Classroom lectures will alternate with visits to institutions that have recently hosted performance events and meetings with artists.

Course instructor: Susanne Franco

Course tutors: Aleksandra Luzan and Aleksandra Timonina

Credit recognition at Ca' Foscari

Sudents who successfully complete module 2 can substitute the final exam for "Storia comparata dell'arte contemporanea" (Prof.ssa Burini), "Storia della danza e della performance" (Prof.ssa Suzanne Franco) and for "Metodi, approcci e strumenti per l'arte contemporanea", (Prof. Barbieri).


Fees and applications

The modules do not have to be taken together, students can choose one or the other, or to take the full 4-week Summer School. Students enrolling in the full Summer School receive a discount on tuition.

Applications are open! Enrolment closes May 31st, but students who apply by April 15th will receive an "Early-Bird" discount.

Please note that if the programme reaches the maximum number of participants, preference will be given to students from Ca' Foscari, and from the Kassel Summer School.

Fees include

  • Module 1: Inside Arts
    All tuition, site visits and tours, public transportation, pick up service on arrival day from Frankfurt/Main airport to Kassel, transfer to Berlin + 3 nights accommodation in Berlin - NB: accommodation in Kassel is not included but a homestay can be requested with advanced notice. For additional information on this individual module please see the website at Uni Kassel.
  • Module 2: Curatorship of Contemporary Visual Art and Performance
    All tuition, site visits and tours - NB: accommodation is not included but can be requested.

NB: travel from Berlin to Venice is not included; students taking the full 4 weeks should book a flight for Sunday July 7th. For further information or flight suggestions please contact us:  summerschool.international@unive.it 

Fees

Module(s) EARLY BIRD After April 15th Ca' Foscari students
Summer School From Documenta to Biennale
(both modules, 4 weeks)
€1,720 €1,870 €1,580 / €1,680
Module 1: Inside Arts €1,310 €1,420 €1,310 / €1,420
Module 2: Curatorship of Contemporary Visual Art & Performance €600 €650 €450
Accommodation in Kassel (homestay, 2 weeks) €180
Accommodation in Venice (2 weeks) See below

Payment details

Payment must be made by bank transfer/wire to the following account:

Account name: Ca’ Foscari School for International Education (CFSIE)
Account number: 46603825
Bank name/address: Banca Popolare FRIULADRIA, San Marco 4121 Salizada San Luca, 30124 VENEZIA
IBAN: IT 96 U 05336 02020 000046603825
Reference: "Contemporary Art - student name"
For international transfers, SWIFT code: BPPNIT2P326

All transfer fees are to be covered by the student.

NB: students must send confirmation of payment to  summerschool.international@unive.it


Accommodation in Venice

Shared accommodation in Venice's city centre at a student residence (shared double or triple room) can be reserved through the SIE (Domus Civica or Residenza San Tomà). Students will be required to contact the accommodation provider for confirmation and payment following program confirmation. For specific needs or requests please let us know well in advance; requests may incur additional costs. 

  • €30 double or triple room per night
  • €35 single room per night

Reservations will be made for check-in on the Sunday before the programme starts, and check-out the Saturday after the programme finishes. Please note that prices are approximate and will be confirmed once the booking has been reserved.


Faculty

Silvia Burini

Program Director

Silvia Burini is Director of the Centre for the Studies of Russian Arts (CSAR) at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, where she is also professor of History of Russian Art and Comparative History of Contemporary Art.

Susanne Franco

Lecturer, Curatorship of Contemporary Visual Art and Performance

Susanne Franco is a lecturer at Ca' Foscari University. She focuses on modern and contemporary dance, performance art, site-specific events in museums and galleries, and research methodology. 

Matteo Bertelè

Lecturer, Curatorship of Contemporary Visual Art and Performance

Matteo Bertelé is a lecturer at Ca' Foscari University. His research interests include art history, Russian, Soviet and socialist visual culture, exhibition studies and cultural aspects of the Cold War.

Last update: 18/03/2019