How do you use ‘curate’?

20 11 2009

I will begin this experiment in blogging by presenting an article for thought and discussion: this article from the New York Times discusses the opening-up of the word ‘curate’ in popular culture. One excerpt I find particularly worth exploring is:

The word “curate,” lofty and once rarely spoken outside exhibition corridors or British parishes, has become a fashionable code word among the aesthetically minded, who seem to paste it onto any activity that involves culling and selecting. In more print-centric times, the term of art was “edit” — as in a boutique edits its dress collections carefully.

But now, among designers, disc jockeys, club promoters, bloggers and thrift-store owners, curate is code for “I have a discerning eye and great taste.”

To my mind this brings up two important issues:

One is that this is an open critique of the perceived authority of the museum and it’s curators. Which is ok by me.

However, the other issue I see here is that this could be a dangerous development in reinforcing the perceived elite status and ultimately establishing an authority among those who ‘curate’. As the final sentence of the quote points out ‘curate’ is evolving to mean ‘having great taste’.

What are your thoughts?

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One response

29 02 2012
Museum ‘Money Bombs’? « Overtly Optimistic

[…] The underlying paradigm shift here is that we could be continuing to democratize the arts with this shift in fundraising, much as I’ve already talked about with curating. […]

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