Sotheby’s Speaking Curator…

Shared from the article “Speaking Curator”

“Taking a critical approach to the ideologies behind the development of these [optical] instruments of guidance and surveillance, the artists consider how imperial gestures of discovery, revelation and possession are embedded in associations between seeing and understanding, light projection and enlightenment.”

Dr. Martin Waldmeier peers into the crowd searching for someone who can draw solid meaning from the above excerpt he just recited. The crowd giggles, confirming his theory that art terminology and speech has developed into a language that can be confusing and foreign to those who have not been trained as curators and gallerists.

As a consultant lecturer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art-London, Waldmeier often considers questions surrounding the language of curation: Who is the reader of today’s curating language? What assumptions are made about this reader? How did this language develop into what is seen in museums, galleries, and art fairs today? Waldmeier spoke about his varied hypotheses to these questions during in a panel discussion at the Bedford Square Festival. Here is a quick guide to some of his insights from that talk about why this new language developed:

It is about building technical terminology

Every field has a vocabulary that is unique to its research, publications, and conversations. Curating, like all fields, has this kind of jargon.

It is about positioning the curator as an author

The role of “curator” originally developed from editors who found a niche in writing about artwork for museums and galleries. As this position took on a solidified place in the art community, so did the…”


Shared from the article here