Arts

Arts Q&A: Art curator Clare Gormley, from Wonder Woman to Margaritas

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, art curator Clare Gormley

Clare Gormley, assistant curator at the MAC Belfast, who at art college discovered she enjoyed working with and researching other people’s art more than making her own

1. When did you think about art curating as a career and what were your first steps into it?

I've always loved art – it opens you up to a world of ideas, cultures and different perspectives. I initially thought I'd be an artist and went to study at The Glasgow School of Art, but I soon realised I enjoyed working with and researching other people's work more than making my own, so when I graduated I pursued a career in curation. After a number of years working in galleries in London, including a stint at Tate, I landed my role as Assistant Curator at the MAC.

2. Best gigs or exhibitions you've been to?

I'm lucky that my job allows me to both see and work on amazing exhibitions. Recently, on a research trip to the Venice Biennale I saw a performance work by a German artist called Anne Imhof, which blew my mind. Our current exhibitions at the MAC – solo shows of painters Carol Rhodes and Dougal McKenzie and sculptor Bill Saunders – are completely gorgeous and our next exhibition Shonky is going to be wild.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

Jackie Wilson.

4. The record you'd take to a desert island?

It's a toss-up between Joni Mitchell's Blue and Van Morrison's Astral Weeks.

5. And the book you'd take to a desert island?

I'd cheat and take Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan series because the main characters would be great company.

6. Top three films?

Annie Hall, Manhattan and Clueless

7. Worst film you've seen

The new Wonder Woman is fresh in my mind. I'm not sure why people are proclaiming her as a feminist icon – she's so one dimensional.

8. Favourite authors?

Outside of my work at the MAC I'm doing a project on an American avant-garde writer and poet called Hannah Weiner, who I've become obsessed with. More people should know about her work.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

I wish I enjoyed sports, but I just don't.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

New Orleans.

11. Pet hate?

People who look at their phones in the middle of conversations.

12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? Toad in the hole.

Dessert? Affogato.

Drink? Margarita.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

She's called Ciara and we've known each other since the first day of secondary school. I think our mutual love of the band Hanson and hatred of maths class brought us together.

:: The MAC Belfast is currently showing a trio of exhibitions: Belfast painter Dougal McKenzie's A Dream and an Argument; Glasgow-based painter Carol Rhodes's Survey and Belfast sculptor Bill Saunders's Side Steps These Ferried Measures Rise.

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