ObeliskArt History Projects

Curate a mock exhibit

— this is your big break!

Curate a mock exhibit, , Art History Projects


NA-VA.9-12.3: Choose and evaluate a range of subject matter, symbols and ideas
NA-VA.9-12.6: Make connections between visual arts and other disciplines

1. Choose a theme and 5 related artworks

You are an up-and-coming curator, and you've been asked by the Guggenheim Museum in New York to curate an exhibit for the Grand Gallery. This is your big break. Choose 5 artworks that relate to one of the following themes, or create your own theme.

  • Our Relationship to Nature
  • Fashion in Art
  • Rituals for the Dead
  • Propoganda! Art with Purpose
  • Self-portraits: Artists in the Mirror

As you curate your artworks, ask yourself questions like:

  • Do the artworks relate to the theme as a whole?
  • How do your artworks relate to each other?
  • Will your exhibit show work from all of history, or from a specific period?
  • How do different cultures, genders & social classes relate to your theme?
  • Do your selections showcase diverse perspectives?

2. Choose one project below


Write a one-page introduction to your show. Discuss your personal interest in the theme, how you chose the artwork for the exhibit, and why your images should be considered as a whole. Describing how each image can teach the viewer something unique about the theme.


Record a short voice-over video, 5-10 minutes long, describing how the artworks you chose taught you something about the theme. Discuss why each artwork exemplifies a different perspective on the theme.


Create a collage or visual mash-up of the artworks you selected, then write a monologue to the viewer from the perspective of your new artwork—what does it want to say to the viewer? What does the viewer need to know to understand and relate to it?

Reed Enger, "Curate a mock exhibit, this is your big break!," in Obelisk Art History, Published February 01, 2020; last modified February 01, 2020, http://arthistoryproject.com/projects/curate-a-mock-exhibit/.

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