POOL is an innovative new programme that combines the collaboration of an international group of private collectors with a mentor-based training programme for curators. The programme has been co-founded by Beatrix Ruf, (Director and Curator, Kunsthalle Zürich), Maja Hoffmann and Michael Ringier in collaboration with the LUMA Foundation and Ringier collection teams and is hosted at the LUMA/Westbau in Zurich.
POOL is designed to introduce emerging curators to various models of curatorial work and to enable them to work with an international pool of works from private collections. The collections associated with the programme – many of which do not have their own exhibition spaces – serve as the material with which the curators can work. It is a new form of training programme that extends beyond exclusively curating exhibitions to incorporate possibilities for work in and with collections, inventory management, conservation, mediation, publications and artistic commissions.
The curators are graduates, chosen by the POOL board from a variety of international colleges and curatorial training programmes to work on a scholarship at LUMA Westbau. It is a unique opportunity to work within a testing ground for the public display of private collecting and an important mentoring project for young and talented curators.
There are various working models for the interaction of private collections and public institutions. Their scope ranges from establishing private museums to diverse collaborations on differing scales and timeframes. POOL is an attempt to establishing an entirely new model: an exhibition space and forum that builds on a mentor-guided course for curators, and presents a rigorous exhibition and discursive programme.
There exist numerous training courses for curators throughout the world; however, they are mainly oriented towards the model of the freelance curator, working in the field of biennials and major “event” exhibitions. Few curatorial courses focus on archival care, skills relating to conservation, art handling, or the continuity of working with artists, artworks and collections. Even fewer focus on new possibilities for interaction between public and private figures in the art world. POOL has been formulated to offer a new kind of training model, working with some of the world’s leading collectors and their collections alongside a comprehensive mentoring and teaching programme.
POOL is housed in the spaces of LUMA Westbau, part of the recently converted and expanded Löwenbräu Art Complex in Zürich, Switzerland. One of the world’s preeminent centres for contemporary art, it encompasses a range of galleries, institutions and private collections. POOL functions within this as a new place for collaboration and experimentation between the public and private sectors of the arts. The programme is designed to have an international scope, with LUMA Westbau functioning as a launch pad for POOL projects that will subsequently transfer internationally.
POOL comprises an international group of private collectors who allow their works to be included in a virtual ‘collective collection’ and used in a series of temporary curatorial experiments (exhibitions, publications and other presentation formats).
The curators are selected from a variety of international universities and curatorial training programmes. A shortlist of recent graduates is proposed by this educational network and the final scholarship recipients are chosen by the POOL board. The young curators are then guided by carefully chosen mentors, arts professionals with an international profile and an interest in collections and curating.