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Ask A Curator

On September 1, the Art Institute participated in a Twitter-hosted Q&A called “Ask a Curator.” Over 300 museums and galleries around the world (23 countries!) solicited questions from their fans and beyond, each with curators on hand to answer burning questions like “what’s paint made from?” and “how do you become a curator?” We were lucky to have Lisa Dorin, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, at the helm. In case you aren’t glued to our Twitter feed during the workday (or don’t know the difference between a tweet and a hashtag) here are a few of our favorite questions and responses in 140 characters or less—de-twitterfied, for your reading pleasure:

Q: Art seems to rotate in & out of the galleries. How do you decide what/when to put a piece out?

A: In my dept, it’s a combo of conservation requirements, loans, & rotating to highlight best works in collection.

Q: What is the most difficult challenge for a curator? How do new technologies influence the curatorship task?

A: 2 part answer: Biggest challenge is actually seeing & keeping up with everything happening in Contemp art world.

A: 2/2: Pervasiveness of technology can be a hindrance if it replaces seeing actual art.

Q: How can we best approach and interest children and teenagers in modern and contemporary art?

A: Through exposure, education, hands-on projects. Our Museum Ed dept offers great resources

Q: What are the benefits of "shared" exhibitions, such as Cartier-Bresson show?

A: Primary benefit for traveling exhibitions is greater exposure for the exhib and/or artist.

Q: What do you remember about your first visit to an art museum? How old were you?

A: It was a gesture drawing class at LACMA and I think I was 6?

Thanks of course to Lisa for her time and expertise, Jim Richardson for organizing, and to the dozens of people who wrote in with questions! It was so fun that we are even considering making curator Q&As a recurring feature on our Facebook page. Leave a comment if you’d like to see that happen!

—Jocelin S., Social Media Coordinator