Monday, January 10, 2011

Sorry Professor, but you are no more a curator than I am a doctor.

Are we experiencing a thesaurus shortage? Perhaps all the synonyms for select, decide, choose, edit, and gather disappeared into a void and now all we are left with is the word curate. As a result, we have an influx of curators roaming the streets. They are carefully curating dj sets, films, book reviews, cured meats and cheeses, technological wares, and runway shows. The other day someone came into the gallery I work at and asked in regards to our new art bookstore, "Who curates the bookstore?" I said, "No one, it's a bookstore."

At risk of being petty and defensive, I will say it now: making a selection or composing a list does not a curator make, and putting together a collection of vegetables does not mean you and I are one and the same. I should be pleased that people are so taken with my profession that it has become a laudatory term for making choices, but I am not. In actuality, the liberal use of this term trivializes my career.

This is not to detract from the work of musicians, literary reviewers, writers, restaurant and bookstore owners, chefs, or fashion designers. In fact, my unending respect for these professions is what sparks my defensiveness. Back off, get your own sandwich! People have a hard enough time understanding what I do, I don't need my job to be muddled with aspects of your job that are vastly more interesting.

We all can't be curators of cheese, okay?