© 2016 Joseph Heathcott

Curatorial and archival practice

To curate means to care for something.  That something can be a love letter placed in a file, a building in need of restoration, a rusty old tool, or a painting.  Once enveloped in a caring embrace, these objects and processes flow into and out of the archive in one form or another.  But the archive itself is not some straightforward repository of memorial artifacts; it is always partial, selective, and dependent upon what others no longer want.  Archival researchers, much like Archaeologists, dig through other people's junk.  Sometimes this detritus comes to the archive as comprehensive, intact, and well-manicured collections.  Other times, it accumulates from a swirl of happenstance over long periods.  In any case, curatorial and archival practices involve methods of interpretation, evaluation, discernment, comparison, and judgment.  Everyone exercises these methods to one extent or another when collecting and caring for things.   

Notes on Archival Practice
Capturing the City. Exhibit at the Missouri History Museum, Sept 2016 - Jan 2017.
Postcards from the City. Preparation of an archive, database, and teaching materials for a collection of 1000 historic postcards from 1890-1940 depicting cities around the world.
Visual project. UNESCO Documentation Project. Ongoing contribution to the development of a photographic archive of World Heritage Sites.
"Urban Powerpointing." Collage for juried group show, Thompson Gallery, Weston, MA, Feb-Mar 2016.
Exhibit proposal. “Conspicuous Absence: The Train in the City.” Proposal for sound installation at the Indianapolis Art Center’s Installation Nation 2013. (Not selected).
"Borderlands." Installation of photographs and archival maps detailing the Brooklyn-Queens border landscapes, prepared for the reopening of the Queens Museum of Art. Nov 2013-Jan 2014.
"Joseph Heathcott Collection of Counterculture Publications, 1971-2000." Collection built between 1985-2000, subsequently organized and donated to the Archives and Manuscripts Department of the Saint Louis University Libraries Special Collections. Available to the public as of 2012.
"The Archival Uncanny: A Photograph, A Family Lacunae." Rhizomes 23. Special issue on 'Deleuze and Photography.' (March 2012).
"Loot." Graphic appropriation. Dark Matter 11 (Fall 2013).
Mar 2011 "The Archive in a Global Age: Reflections on the Future of the Past." Public talk at the Benjamin Franklin House, London.
"Post-Acropolis." Five photographers document the Midwest metropolitan landscape, with work by Michael Allen, Toby Weiss, Robert Powers, Clare Boyd, and John Montre. Curator.
Agitprop. “Annotations.” Project to annotate classic urban planning diagrams and maps. Selection of images compiled into a booklet for symposium at the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis, 2007.
"Vertical City: The Life and Design of Pruitt-Igoe." Curator.
"Reading the Accidental Archive: Architecture, Ephemera, and Landscape as Evidence of Urban Public Culture." Winterthur Portfolio 41, 2 (December 2007).
Visual project. "Postcards from the Public Home." Project to design, print, and distribute postcards depicting famous public housing complexes, undertaken with students in the City Studio, 2007.
"Mill Creek Valley: Hidden Histories." Booklet of photographs, maps, archival documents, and bibliography prepared for the Urban League of St. Louis, Mill Creek Valley Historical Marker, 2005.
"The School and the City: 75 Years of Social Work at Saint Louis University." Installation, oral history project, and archival initiative. May 2004-October 2005. Principal investigator
"Looking Back at Looking Forward: Centennial of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition."Missouri Historical Society, April 2004 - December 2004. Guest curator.
"Brick by Brick." An exhibit on the history of the St. Louis brick industry, drawn from the Giles collection. Cupples House Museum and Institute , April 2004 - September 2004. Guest curator.
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