My kind and whip-smart Henry colleague, Kathy Savory just shared this article in last weekend’s New York Times about how the word “curate” is no longer museum, exhibition, or collection-specific. Sneaker shops, farmers’ markets, nightclubs, dress boutiques and more are all in the business of curating. (Which in the vernacular, this article observes, currently means “pick out really well, with a specific audience in mind, a discerning eye, and good taste.)
“And what of actual museum curators themselves? Are they offended by the democratization of their title?
“Maybe the use of ‘curate’ to refer to extra-museum activities is just metaphorical, akin to the way we use the word ‘doctor’ as a verb,” Laura Hoptman, a senior curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, wrote in an e-mail message. “If we doctor a script, we are only theoretically operating on it.”
“It doesn’t really bother me,” she said of the trend. “Actually, I’m hoping its popularity will spawn a reality television show — maybe ‘Top Curator’? ”