Curating Art in the Digital Age

mid-14c., from M.L. curatus “one responsible for the care (of souls),” from L. curatus, pp. of curare “to take care of.” Church of England sense of “paid deputy priest of a parish” first recorded 1550s.

Today, I went to a lecture titled Curating Art in the Digital Age at my school. It featured two prominent art figures in the world of digital art: Paddy Johnson of Art Fag City and Amanda McDonald Crowley of Eyebeam Art + Technology Center.

Where I take issue, and where it pertains to this blog, was in Paddy Johnson’s lecture. The subject of Tumblr came up several times. Paddy responded by saying that tumbling is not curating, but “just picking stuff.” However, isn’t that essentially curating? Whether a work is in a museum’s possession or not, the curators pick pieces that speak to one another and put them in physical dialogue. In tumbing, I observe practices that are similar to those observed by curators; I chose which works to display and which pieces are published in proximity to one another.

Additionally, the issue of what curating art means in the digital age arises, as is implied by the title of the lecture. I have placed the history of the word curate at the beginning of this post as a reminder as to its definition. Today, curating has come to mean a person who works in a museum or gallery who makes choices at to what and how work is displayed. However, the original meaning was similar to the role of a priest, one who cares for works of art. This definition leaves room for interpretation as to what curating in the digital age means. It is under this definition that I believe this blog fits. Through focusing on women artists who are overshadowed by those who observe the traditional definition of “curate,” we are looking after them in this space.


Also, please feel free to reblog with your own thoughts and opinions. Let’s start a dialogue.