Disabusing The Idea Of Curating

Posted filed underCurators, Media.


“I’m beginning to squirm when I hear a lot of people talk about curating because it seems to suggest that organizing your sock drawer — or choosing what hats, shoes or lipsticks to arrange in a store window — calls out the same creative imagination as cataloging and collecting the 1,000-plus works of Johann Sebastian Bach, or preparing and protecting the contents of King Tutankhamen’s tomb to display for the ages.” (Scott Simon, NPR)

Read Simon’s rant over at NPR: “Go On, ‘Curate’ This Commentary, Too. – In recent years, the word “curate” has been plucked out of museums and pasted onto everything from cosmetics, furniture and fashion lines to recipes, music- and photo-sharing websites and cat videos.

Some new Sandburg might write a poem about Chicago: “Hog butcher for the World, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Curator of Railroads!”

The word is sometimes even heard in the news business.

Every now and then, people appropriate an appealing word to dress up our conversation like a new pair of shoes. But overuse — and using the word out of context — wears out the word and creates a new cliche, often uttered by people who like to think that they don’t think or speak in cliches.

This happened awhile back when people began to say “traction” to describe ideas, rather than tires on the road; or “granular” when they meant detailed; or “organic” when they weren’t talking about tomatoes, horse manure or molecules.”

Read on at NPR.