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Collector's Catalogue: Vol. 2 Issue 1
by ArtSlant Team

Curator: A Slippery Word...

Natalie Hegert talks with artist and curator Darren Jones

What does it mean to be a curator? Of late the term has taken on a few new meanings. It’s become a buzzword in the realms of blogging, fashion, design, interior decorating, Pinteresting, Tumblr-ing, publishing, thrift-ing, and all other sorts of realms where selecting, choosing, filtering, or procuring sundry images or objects and placing them in some order, by theme, by color, by mood or material, becomes “curated” content. Many people, mostly museum curators, find this annexation of the term an affront to their profession, a devaluation and misapprehension of what it really means to be a curator. Last year, Lauren Northup, a curator at the Hermitage Museum, ranted on the subject, insisting, “I did not sit at my computer and passively click on images that appeal to me. I did not flip through a stack of shelter magazines and fold down the corners of pages that caught my eye. I did not write a blog post entitled “Things I want to buy!!!1!!” and include a list of links […] MAKING A LIST IS NOT CURATING.” Despite her efforts to distinguish the the proper use of the term, in our present online reality the word “curated” more often than not merely implies that a human, not a robot, created that list, or copied that article, or re-blogged that photo. Call it the Huffington Post effect...

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Justin Hammond is an independent curator, art writer and publisher. In 2007 he devised the Catlin Art Prize, an annual showcase for the most talented new artists in the UK and later went on to compile The Catlin Guide, widely recognised as the essential reference for collectors of emerging artists. In 2010 he published An Unspoken Arrangement to coincide with Alex Ball’s debut solo exhibition, and as part of The Makers' Union curated Mike Ballard's Whose Coat is that Jacket You’re Wearing?, held in a disused tailor’s shop during Frieze. He is currently putting the finishing touches to The Catlin Guide 2013, set to launch at the London Art Fair in January. ArtSlant London editor Charlotte Jansen recently asked him some questions:

CJ: What does curating mean?

JH: I'm irritated by the word – or rather how it's been hijacked and its meaning distorted – but there's no real alternative.

Organising? Overseeing? Exhibition planning? 'Curator' still sounds pretentious to me, despite its increasing ubiquity. Everyone is a curator now aren't they; everything is curated. Last year Stewart Lee wrote something for the FT after he was asked to 'curate' a weekend of music and comedy events at the Southbank Centre, describing it as a dead word that 'sounds like someone stirring turds in a toilet bowl with a stick'. I'd tend go along with that...

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ArtSlant's Collector's Catalogue is a special edition publication focused on bringing new artists and new work to the attention of our worldwide audience of seasoned buyers, committed art lovers, and first-time purchasers. The artists included in our November 2012 Collector's Catalogue can be contacted directly or through their galleries. ArtSlant is pleased to present them for your consideration.

Posted by ArtSlant Team on 11/26/12

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