Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Future of Museums // A New Guard of Curators Steps Up

A fascinating piece that went up this past weekend from The New York Times regarding "a new guard of museum curators."

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

The mouth of a giant monster, its razor-sharp teeth glaring overhead and its tongue forming a long red carpet, ushers visitors into the Tim Burton retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. Although the intentionally lighthearted chronicle of the filmmaker’s work received only mixed reviews when it opened in November, Mr. Burton’s fans don’t seem to care. More than 450,000 people have already attended the show, and by the time it closes on April 26, attendance is expected to exceed that of recent blockbusters like the museum’s “Van Gogh: The Colors of the Night” last year and “Dali: Painting and Film,” in 2008.

Visitors to the show are relatively young, somewhere in their 30s on average, which makes them a decade younger than usual for MoMA, recent surveys showed. And a surprising one-third of this audience had never stepped foot in the museum before.

“We’d never done anything like this,” said Rajendra Roy, the museum’s chief curator of film, who was one of the show’s organizers. “There’s always a learning curve. Would I have done things differently? I don’t think so.”

For a 37-year-old curator, Mr. Roy seems pretty cool about it all, considering that only a few years ago he started his professional life selling tickets at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Yet as museum directors have come to realize, younger minds attract younger audiences. And Mr. Roy is just one of a growing group of rising curatorial stars cutting quite a different figure from the age-old image of museum curator as a fusty academic.

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