“The work Roland did at MACBA was very good. His exhibition with Raymond Pettibon, for example, is the best that has been organized about this artist. In addition, he always did his work with a great sense of humor and with cordiality to his colleagues.”
Manuel Borja-Villel, Director Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (Spain)
“Roland Groenenboom curated the Sonic Youth etc. : Sensational Fix exhibition which toured 5 museums in Europe in 2008-2010. This show was a massive undertaking, bringing together an enormous amount of work by a wide range of artists, from the unknown to the world-famous. In addition to brokering all the works for the show, Roland also conceptualized and organized the massive publication that went along with it. The show was, for us – Sonic Youth – a great success and broke attendance records at each venue on its tour. Roland is a perceptive art-thinker and curator with a lot of excellent exhibitions to his credit, aside from ours, and I consider him a trusted advisor as well.”
Lee Ranaldo, visual artist and musician, New York City (USA)
“Roland brings to all of his projects an insight and understanding that is borne from years of research and activity within the contemporary arts community. Institutions and individuals alike benefit from his insight and support in order to realise the best of outcomes.”
Michael Morley, visual artist, musician (a.o. Dead C, GATE), and Lecturer Drawing & Painting at Otago Polytecnic, Dunedin (New Zealand)
“My fond memory from working with Roland on the Raymond Pettibon show, which traveled from MACBA to Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery. We were both 35 years old at that time. He was always singing songs while hanging a large number of drawings by the artist. He is a distinguished curator who enjoys working with artists and artworks, and the way he does this is always sincere and respectful. I would love to work with him again before I retire!”
Mami Kataoka, Chief Curator Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (Japan), and Artistic Director of the 21st Biennale of Sydney (Australia)
“Roland Groenenboom has very carefully and most efficiently curated our retrospective show Possibly speaking about the same at MACBA, Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona, back in 2003. His dedicated curatorial work was essential for the creation and development in situ of the piece “Voracidad Máxima“. Years later, he also beautifully organised and staged the exhibition of our Documenta 12 piece “Funk Staden” at the Vleeshal in Middleburg, Holland, to which he wrote a comprehensive text about this work and its surprising relationships to the exhibition site itself. Both exhibitions were rather successful and most pleasant working experiences, which we evaluate as highlights in our career.”
Dias & Riedweg, visual artists, Rio de Janeiro (Brasil)
“We first worked with Roland from 1992 to 1995 on the Paul Thek exhibition ‘The wonderful world that almost was…’ at Witte de With in Rotterdam. It was Roland’s first curatorial venue. His commitment to the work and his extensive creative investigations made that exhibition and its accompanying monograph a landmark in the revival of Thek’s history.”
Carolyn Alexander and Ted Bonin, Alexander and Bonin, New York City (USA)
“Working with Roland is brilliant serious fun. The enormous difficulties with the Paul Thek show in three exhibition venues, and with the Sonic Youth show in two exhibition venues, for example, were managed, curated and solved in the best professional manner and style that I ever saw. By the way, with a daft sense of humour and with fair-minded warmth, he is taking care of not missing or lacking the ‘human touch’, especially with the everyday colleagues.”
Gregor Jansen, Director Kunsthalle Dusseldorf and former Head of Museum of Contemporary Art / ZKM, Karlsruhe
“Roland observes, listens carefully and responds. He analyzes, proposes things, but never in a forceful way. His coaching has served me well to get a better overview of my own work, to give me more self-confidence, and it encouraged me to take some practical steps in order to bring my work to the attention of audiences.”
Anonymous, visual artist (The Netherlands)
“The exhibition that really sticks in my mind was the Sonic Youth show from maybe two or three years ago that toured. It was curated by Sonic Youth and Roland Groenenboom. I had a piece of work in it and caught it in Malmö. What struck me was the fact that there was a lot of bad art in it, yet it was still fantastic. A lot of stuff wasn’t art, or was art but by dilettante artists, but somehow it fitted together well.
It was all about Sonic Youth, their relationships with other artists and with art. There were so many different types of work. Some exhibits were more like artefacts. In fact, the magic was in the blurring of art and artefacts, of artists and musicians. Their journey, that was the premise. So they had the Sonic Youth album covers made by some seminal artists: Gerhard Richter, Christopher Wool, Mike Kelley. They even had their final album cover, which was designed by John Fahey. He was the quintessential folk revivalist. He made these paintings that he’d sell at his gigs.
The show made you realise that that’s what curating is: it isn’t necessarily about showing good art to its best advantage. It’s about making an exhibition that’s really good. You can make a good show without having good art in it. That’s not to say you can’t have both, just that it’s possible without both.
My eyes glaze over when people want to talk about curating. I think good curation is working with someone who can do something you can’t. That goes for any good collaboration. The best is when you’re making a show together and finding it all out as you go along. Some curators are academics, but artists aren’t – or at least I’m not.”
David Shrigley, artist, in The Guardian of 23 March 2014