Hans Ulrich Obrist - The Reading List


I first discovered Hans Ulrich Obrist when I read his "Ai Weiwei speaks with Hans Ulrich Obrist". It's an amazing book to read and captures the reader into the space where Obrist and Ai are. The interviews with Ai are spaced over several years, providing an in-depth look at the artistic practice of Ai and how personal, artistic and political freedom are so important.

Hans Ulrich Obrist is an important figure in the fine art world, he curated his first show in his kitchen (which makes me want to strip out my living room/kitchen and put an art show on here) at the age of 23.

"I really do think artists are the most important people on the planet, and if what I do is a utility and helps them, then that makes me happy. I want to be helpful."

Obrist is a force that supports artists and recognises not only their achievements but their struggles too. No stranger to working with new technologies, Obrist has interviewed artists using periscope. There is something delightful in the ephemeral nature of these interviews which reflects many artistic practices. Currently, Hans Ulrich is Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes at the Serpentine Gallery.

Ways of Curating, discusses his history of curating, his meetings with artists, other curators, impresarios and thinkers. Obrist demonstrates a knowledge of his contemporaries and historical peers, and that although large institutions attract large crowds, much of art history, much of experimental practice, takes place in unusual spaces and smaller galleries.

What I love most about Hans Ulrich Obrist, is that although he knew he wanted to be a curator early on, it was because he wanted to be useful to art and artists. I'm not saying that Obrist is wholly altruistic, but it is nice to read about how a curator wants to do something for art rather than himself.

Over-all, I'm a fan of Obrist, just incase you couldn't tell...

BooksErin Veness