The Intentional Art of Curation
Putting action and meaning together
“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult to each other?” — George Eliot, 1871
You’ve been to a museum, right?
As you wander around the galleries, stopping at the display cases and pausing in front of wall hangings to ponder the artist’s meaning, did you ever wonder how much of the collection is on display?
That is, have you considered what percentage of a museum’s holdings are shown at any given moment?
Take a guess. Fifty percent? Maybe 25 percent?
According to the chairwoman of the Americas department at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, “Most museums show between 2 and 4 percent of a collection.”
When you consider that museums, collectors, and content creators go to great lengths to assemble their miscellany, and that the vast majority of it never gets seen—that’s more than a shame.
Hence, the role of the curator.
Not Just for the Museum
Curators are needed in far more fields than museums these days. Dispense with your image of the stuffy, tweed-wearing museum director and think rather of a sophisticated, well-read, and canny individual who has their finger on the pulse of things.
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