– Karen Love (Manager of Curatorial Affairs at Vancouver Art Gallery) has written this excellent primer for emerging curators, the Curatorial Toolkit. (PDF download). It’s very interesting to look over the bones of our profession, see what the essential, common sense information that we should be imparting to younger generations is. Especially since, with the proliferation of curatorial studies in academia, there may be an emphasis on theory rather than what I would call craft.

– But, lest you think I am anti-theory, I recently was delighted to see (and blogged a quick announcement about) the launch of the Journal for Curatorial Studies, which will be edited by Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher. The first issue of this journal is forthcoming, but I am certain it is one to watch.

– Last but not least, a little personal note. I was recently being interviewed by some university students who wanted opinions from a curator for an imaginary smartphone app they were developing that would allow curators to “shop” for work, and much more. I daydreamed out loud with them about looking at artist profiles and work, and then being able to organise it like a mind-map, developing my own categories and tags. I have such a ragtag collection of notes (both digital and analogue) on art and artists that I want to file away for later, that some kind of application like this seemed like a wonderful dream. Quite suddenly in the middle of the conversation I realised this was a terrible idea — if it was all public. “I wouldn’t want to share that information,” I said, to their mild dismay. I realised that if I added a tag such as “dark” or “poetic” or “layered” to an artist or work, (terms that might be a shorthand for so many other things in my own mind) to the artist, or to others, it might not seem merely simplistic, but actually offensive. It might ruin some of the mystery involved in curatorial choices as well (which was a lesser concern). I ended up blurting out to the students, “you wouldn’t want to know how sausage is made, either”, but that isn’t quite what I meant. I meant something nicer, like you wouldn’t want to know how much work it was to erect the Eiffel Tower, or something similar. Maybe that is food for thought for you. What would be your dream digital tool? How much sharing would be involved in this tool — some, none, a little bit? Do you feel like you are making sausage, or building the Eiffel Tower? All I know is that I would love an app that would intelligently record my mind maps of art and artists as I see them or otherwise encounter them — if it’s totally private, and with a self-destruct button too, perhaps.

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