Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube Tumblr

Curator, art world, sensitive to use of “curate”

THE INTERNET — The Museum of Modern Art’s Klaus Biesenbach is worried about the word "curate." The linguistic lament was captured in Wall Street Journal reporter Kelly Crow’s interview with the PS1 Director and MoMA Curator in her publication’s Soapbox column last Thursday:

The museum needs to be a sphere in society where you come, you have a break in your pace and hopefully you leave looking at yourself and the world in a new way. It should be a clear interruption in your regular consumer day.

But we live in a time when we nearly have too much information, and we don't know what's true or not. Online I have two different ages. [WSJ reports he’s 46] There's an overload of information, an overload of offers, an overload of destinations, galleries and products, so that all of a sudden the curator's process of editing and selecting is in danger of being misused to curate everything—T-shirts and chairs. I remember in the 1990s, "curator" sounded a bit odd, then it became incredibly fashionable and now I think might be overused.

GalleristNY (which today celebrates its first birthday) reported bits of the interview this afternoon, and the following exchange took place between frequent art world commenters Marina Galperina (@mfortki), Paddy Johnson (@artfagcity), Kyle Chayka (@chaykak), and Tyler Green (@TylerGreenDC) over Twitter:

5-19-2015 11-01-13 PM_1

5-19-2015 11-01-13 PM_2

5-19-2015 11-01-13 PM_3

5-19-2015 11-01-13 PM_4

5-19-2015 11-01-13 PM_5

What do you think, Big Red readers? Is the expanded use of "curator" an abuse of language? Tedious annoyance? Just part of the evolution of our words’ meanings?

We recommend reading Chayka's ArtInfo piece on the verb in question, GalleristNY's brief article and a short Book Forum profile of Mr. Biesenbach that GalleristNY references.

About Author

Comments are closed.