HOW TO BE AN ART CURATOR
Updated: Mar 12
This is an article “How to be an Art Curator” by Marc Primo Warren
Curating art takes more than just organizing an art exhibition. Being an art curator is somewhat similar to how a zookeeper organizes and supervises his zoo, while taking charge of all that needs to be done prior to an exhibition. But before you take notes from Joe Exotic, learning how to be a full-fledged art curator means accepting the fact that love for art is absolutely more important than organization, and that there’s a very long path ahead before you get there.
Providing genuine care for art pieces and how they matter to human history and culture is an innate essential if you want to curate art. Most professionals even provide unconventional skills like design and even pose ideas on how to display art for today’s general audiences.
Art museums evolve and so do its audiences. Of course, there’s always the fact that an art curator should have the proper knowledge and skills to preserve and nurture an audience’s love for art, but this doesn’t mean you would organize galleries in neither an elitist nor circus-centric manner simply for entertainment.
Art curators should always be inclusive and set aside their own specific views (as art can be an avenue for politics or polarism agendas), and simply focus on promoting art that can help develop a culture.
Give pride to the title
The title “curator” is being thrown around irresponsibly in today’s digital era wherein marketers earn it by curating experiences, while even app users who collect mood boards online also get to be called the same.
Being an art curator is so much more than just these things in that there is an inherent responsibility to study how art affects the ideas and behavior of people. Real curators earn master’s degrees and PhDs in art or museum studies and sometimes even learn new languages and create dissertations to earn the title.
Despite how the digital age has somehow debased the title for business and commercialization, being a curator still integrates profit with art and beauty.
What sets real art curators apart from the rest is the thoughtful investment of presenting art pieces to their audiences which is honed by internships and proper study. Other developed skill sets would include analytical and critical thinking, customer service skills, knowledge in graphic imaging technologies, and a know-how in utility management.
Add to these the passion to connect with people through art, creativity and ideas which can be developed into a language that they can understand. With this, it’s safe to say that art curation borders more on an open-minded approach rather than the technical. It is developing the insight to see art pieces differently and influence others with thought.
Do more for art
Art curation has its own authorities that can spell change especially for aspiring artists. Those who are learned in photography and studio art can share their knowledge with new artists or establish campaigns that would promote fresh art pieces into the public’s consciousness.
Today’s top curators have acquired the faculties of conceptualizing new exhibits that will engage a new set of audiences in a meticulous and discerning manner. Otherwise, simply collecting art and organizing a show may be no different than setting up a garage sale in your backyard to earn some profit.
Never stop honing your craft
Say you’ve already finished your undergraduate and graduate degrees and have already earned the title of art curator, this is no point where you’d stop as art itself continues to evolve.
Enhance your skills by learning graphic software and refining your management style. Communication is another vital aspect of art curation and being a polyglot can do so much for you if you want to advance in your career.
Another good tip is to gain the proper work experience before looking for jobs in established art and museum galleries. These institutions would want candidates to have mastered installation and exhibit management, as well as administrative processes that are required in running the institution that often is tantamount to a PhD.
While getting there, you may also want to gain some teaching experience which can be a good addition to your credentials. Find a job you think can help you develop your art curation skills here.
If you want to find out more about Marc Primo Warren our services or just say hi, please reach out here.