Why Artists Must Curate

June 29, 2016

 

 

There is a need for artists in the world, along with scientists and anthropologists, more importantly, what is needed is the proper infrastructure to engage and thrive in these roles. Curating is a practice that must be used by artists to create the framework for their success now and in the future. By definition, most artists are visionaries, resourceful, and resilient. Artists make dynamic curators because of their inherent understanding of art and artists. When artists curate, it is an exercise in engineering on how they want to participate and how they want their community to participate in their work.

 

When artists curate, they make space for the art they deem valuable. With intention and a little initiative one lone artist can trigger an exquisite domino effect. This chain reaction can be the foundation for an echo system. Artists exist and work at the center of an organic framework that has all of the necessary components to create said echo system. While curating has long been an academic practice, curating can also be a legitimate way for artists to steer their careers and generate income within their field.


Money is a known taboo in artists’ practice, but all bets are o when working and promoting the work of colleagues. As a curator myself, I feel more accountable to promote the value of art when it is the work of fellow artists. I can cross studio lines and sell from a point of sincerity because I know what it is to make the work and the joy of living with it. Curating is the perfect laboratory to set up experiments to prove art can be a sustainable career path. When artist curate they use both sides of their brain to become unstoppable culture makers.

 

The formula can be simple: one artist can initiate a show, centered around a given theme or idea. She/he reaches out to a small group of fellow artists and selects stellar work for the show. She/he chooses a venue: a hallway in someone’s house, a cafe, a gallery, or a museum. Every artist invites ten people to the opening- artists must go out of their way to invite non-artists to avoid an insular crowd. One mustn’t just preach to the choir if success is their goal.

 

This network becomes the community that supports future endeavors. If the shows are delivered consistently and are of quality, this formula can be scaled up with practice and time. The formula is only activated when each artist infuses their curation with their sensibility and vision. Artists must take the work they promote seriously but not take themselves too seriously that it prevents play and exploration. Artists as curators can rally people around what they cherish the most and set the perimeters for the experience. The power of the artist is the ability to create something where there was nothing.

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