Emily Burchell: Extra Credit curator thoughts
I previously mentioned in a recent post dealing with Mark Beasley, a few of my thoughts regarding curators. To define a curator I would best explain it as one that keeps history and tradition alive by putting their mind together to become an artist. To emphasize on this idea in more detail and description, I would like to go into the topics of historic art and traditional art seen in the eyes of the contemporary artist. Curators usually specialize in a particular area, whether that be museum archeological purposes, or contemporary and historical art, there are many various categories for which curators might fall under. I'm focusing on the art curator.
In contemporary art, the title curator is given to a person who better produces knowledge and better picture of any situation. This might involve finding a strategy for display. Thematic, conceptual and formal approaches are all prevalent. In addition to selecting works, the curator often is responsible for writing labels, catalog essays, and other supporting content for the exhibition. Such curators may be permanent staff members, be "guest curators" from an affiliated organization or university, or be "freelance curators" working on a consultant basis. The late twentieth century saw an explosion of artists organising exhibitions. The artist-curator has a long tradition of influence. Curators serve the practitioners in their field, but they also serve the public at large. In this way, curators are like publishers. They must look both ways, be sympathetic in two directions, be loyal to the artist but also to the visitor. A curator will often be required to perform as an editor, aspiring to refine an exhibition or book to the benefit of artist and audience. Installing exhibitions is itself a minor art form. Curators must also serve the past and the future as well as the present. And they must attempt to be fair to all comers and not succumb to prejudice. They may wish to lead public taste but can only do so by selecting those artists who seem to bear the creative flame. Curators cannot simultaneously work in the public domain and collect privately, or work as artists: these roles could be fatal to the requirement that the curator aspires, like an independent critic, to objectivity, impartiality, and, in the end, justice. If that seems overweening, let us temper it by recalling that the mission statements of most museums usually include the word ‘enjoyment’ as well as ‘understanding’.