The Curator of Contemporary Art and Job opportunities

 An art curator is a professional in charge of acquiring and managing art collections, scientific cumulations and cultural heritage displays in museums, libraries, archives and the like. Art curators also create interpretative content for the purposes of helping visitors understand the various presentations of historic items, valuable collectables, pieces of art, scientific presentations and any other exhibitions.

1. Getting Started in Art Curation

A love of art and its history is a must for anyone with a desire to become an art curator. They are the "face and voice" of the museum or gallery, offline or online and people will expect the curator to have the knowledge to answer questions about the various art pieces on display, whether a painting, sculpture, modern or ancient piece of art. Skills specific to art curation include the ability to examine and analyze the authenticity of works, the preservation, and protection of works of art, as well as the knowledge to assess their value, both culturally and monetarily. Art curators hold the bulk of the responsibility for acquiring pieces to display, whether through purchase or loan from another institution or private collector.

Curators are also the driving force behind exhibition themes and designs, which are often pulled from existing collections or through the purchase of additional works. Often, other museums, galleries or collectors will loan or exchange pieces for use in a related exhibition. Once the elements of an exhibition are acquired, the curator must create a display that is engaging to the public and expresses the theme or story behind the exhibition.

Much of a curator's job, depending on the size of the company, organization, or gallery, includes more mundane tasks, including budgeting, inventory, marketing, staffing, and research. Travel may be required and curators who work independently, but they must still possess the ability to collaborate with others on certain tasks. While almost all curator positions require a college degree, smaller galleries may only ask for a Bachelor's Degree in Art or Art History, while larger organizations will require a Master's or Doctorate in Art or Art History. Coursework varies, but will often focus on art history, covering a wide range of periods and styles of art and architecture, graphic design and art and gender.

2. Learn Essential Business Skills

A Combination of Business, Analytical, Technology & Organizational Skills Are Vital

Essential business skills an art curator must possess include negotiating for the best price or trade terms, working within a budget, managing staff, colleagues, and benefactors, as well as some marketing and grant-writing knowledge. Although art and business often seem like conflicting concepts, to successfully curate an art collection, you will work with finances, the public, staff, volunteers, and possibly a board of directors. In smaller organizations, the curator may also write grant requests that allow the gallery or museum to acquire and care for works of art. Any gallery or museum must have an audience to be successful. Therefore, marketing exhibits and collections are a vital part of an art curators job.

Although common in most careers, computers are also an integral part of a curator's work. Not only are inventories kept in databases, but research and design are often done electronically. A curator may be responsible for updating the organization's website when exhibits are changed, or new pieces are acquired. An Occupational Information Network (O*NET) survey of art curators found that 100% of respondents said they used electronic mail to communicate for work "every day." O*NET also lists calendar and presentation software, graphic design and desktop publishing programs, and web-based and word processing platforms as essential tools for a curator.  Art curators also must have a firm handle on Adobe InDesign, Adobe Freehand and Photoshop, project management software and CMS.

Analytical skills are also essential to an art curator’s career and are often used to determine the authenticity of a piece. Combined with the historical knowledge gained through study, curators use their own observations of art to determine its characteristics, age, materials, and other factors to confirm its authenticity and relation to a specific era, artist, or style.

In addition, organizational skills are key. Curators must keep track of their own collections, as well as any pieces on loan. Planning exhibits require foresight, attention to detail and coordination with other departments within the institution. You must be able to retrieve information quickly from requests by the public, your board or other museums and galleries. Customer service and the ability to communicate well comes into play with exhibits, tours, educational lectures, and sales or loans of items to other organizations. You must speak confidently, and work well within a team when necessary.  Preservation techniques or chemical processes are nearly always used in the course of an art curator's workday. These techniques can be taught through college or university courses, by professional curators, or through self-study, but must be mastered.  The artwork is valuable, and one small error can cost the gallery its reputation and your job.

3. Gain Experience and Build Your Resume

Focus on Developing an Area of Expertise While Building a Professional Network

rDon't wait until your degree is completed to gain the experience that can set you apart from other curator job candidates. Volunteer at your local museum during school breaks. Apply for internships at galleries, museums, colleges, and even auction houses to familiarize yourself with the workings of the art world. Search for part-time positions such as tour guides, educational assistants, or research assistants. Even non-art business experience is valuable. The more you know about creating and maintaining databases, working with budgets and overseeing other employees, the more qualified you'll be in comparison to a candidate with nothing but an art history background.

Develop relationships as you study, volunteer and work to create a strong network of professional resources. Art curator positions are highly sought after and limited by the number of museums, galleries, and other organizations dealing in art. By keeping in touch with professors, volunteer coordinators and supervisors from part-time or entry-level jobs, you will develop contacts and resources to help you gain future employment. People who know your skill set and work ethic are more likely to not only hire you for positions they have available but also recommend you to others they know who may have a job opening. Each person in your network has a network of their own that they can tap into on your behalf.

Make yourself a more valuable commodity by developing an area of expertise – knowledge of a certain art style or time period, fundraising and grant acquisitions, development, and installation of exhibits, or creating travelling exhibitions; Western, Asian or contemporary art.

The level of expertise needed will depend on the size and type of organization employing you. 


Job opportunity:
Curator of Contemporary Art 

"We are Putting Art in its rightful place as a potent resource for youth empowerment, sociocultural and national development, whilst promoting Art by Africans Worldwide." - Founder ARTMAZON™ 

 

ARTMAZON™ provides an online gallery and a platform for African artists who wish to present their works to Buyers and Collectors on an International Platform. Our goal is to represent talented African artists from Africa and around the world, helping them achieve success in one of the most exciting, dynamic and challenging areas of the global art scene. 

On ARTMAZON.com and ARTMAZON™ Exhibitions, work by established names sits alongside those by emerging and aspiring artists in all manner of genres, styles, and mediums. At ARTMAZON™ we believe the arts strengthens our commitment to the aesthetic, human, and social dimensions of innovation and of the Art. Fostering the Exhibition of meaningful context for understanding how the contemporary visual arts reflect and express complex social and cultural issues in a changing world. 

To complement our all year round online Exhibitions and Art Sales, ARTMAZON™ presents a dynamic annual program of ARTMAZON™ Conference: Initiating an elite forum dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. The primary objective of the ARTMAZON™ conference will be to increased dissemination of knowledge on contemporary art from Africa and development issues pertinent to stakeholders and institutions actively engaged in this sector. 

The deliberations and the events will lead to improved understanding of the array of activities and instruments ARTMAZON™ aims to deploy to integrate key growth strategies such as the acquisition of data for valuation and financialisation towards the increase of market share and influence of the contemporary Art from Africa Globally. 

The conference provides an avenue to articulate our unique value proposition. Also, we would be identifying collaborative partnership opportunities with stakeholders within the African contemporary ART industry, towards our mutual advances and benefits. A toolkit for implementation; Learning and knowledge exchange among Conference participants through interdisciplinary discussions. Policies or activities that impede the growth of the sector are identified and discussed alongside the following 3 Pillars of the ARTMAZON™ Mission

ARTMAZON™ Mission:
  • TO FOSTER INNOVATION IN ART TRADE – ARTMAZON™ Art Finance conceptualisation, Transparency, valuation and Collateralization. 
  • TO CREATE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIESFinance Sponsorship, Franchising, Artwork and Art Material sales by eCommerce.  
  • A PLACE FOR THE ART' PROGRAMME –  Catering for the preservation, safe and secure storage of African Art inventory and alongside Marketplace Visibility. 'A Place For The Art' is an ongoing initiative, which began in 2018, that presents tightly focused exhibitions that feature newly emerging and established international artists, curating Mini Displays in both the public and private space.  

 

JOB OPPORTUNITY: CURATOR OF CONTEMPORARY ART

To this effect, a Job Opportunity arises: we are interested in hiring a creative and innovative Curators of contemporary art to join our Elite team. Candidates should have a minimum 2 years of museum/gallery administration or curatorial experience; with extensive knowledge of international / African contemporary art, art history, and theory; and a demonstrated ability to work well with a team and be an inspiring leader. 

The ideal candidate will demonstrate excellence in writing and editing catalogue essays, texts, brochures and other educational materials on CMS (Content Management systems); an ability to solicit and obtain funds; and demonstrated ability to create, manage, and meet budgets.

The ideal candidate should demonstrate the ability to recognize significant art themes and emerging artists, to create exhibitions that communicate vividly; and to support and develop related programs that enhance the audience experience. The ideal candidate should demonstrate the ability to work with artists in diverse backgrounds.

 Used the form below to Apply Now

WE REMEMBER AND HONOUR, OKWUI ENWEZOR, THE NIGERIAN CURATOR WHO REMAPPED THE ART WORLD

Okwui Enwezor, the influential Nigerian curator whose large-scale exhibitions displaced European and American art from its central position as he forged a new approach to art for a global age, who died a year today, on 15 March 2019, Munich, Germany. He was 55. He has gone⁠ down in history as a legendary Nigerian curator,⁠ art critic, writer, poet, and educator. His work⁠ helped bring global attention to African art, and⁠ in 2015 he became the first African curator of the⁠ Venice Biennale.

Okwui Enwezor died on 15 March 2019, Munich, Germany. He was 55. The cause was cancer, said his partner, Louise Neri. Source: By Jason Farago  NYTimes.com

 

Okwui Enwezor in 2002 as he prepared the exhibition “Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa 1945-1994,” at what is now MoMA PS1. The work of Samuel Fosso is on the wall. Credit...Edward Keating/The New York Times

 

In ambitious, erudite, carefully argued exhibitions staged in Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States, Mr Enwezor (pronounced en-WEH-zore) presented contemporary art against a backdrop of world history and cultural exchange.

His 2002 edition of Documenta, an important exhibition that occurs once every five years in Kassel, Germany, stands as a major achievement in recent art history. Though earlier shows like “Magiciens de la Terre” (Paris, 1989) had begun to tell a worldwide story of art, the 2002 Documenta was a testament to how widely Mr Enwezor was enlarging art world horizons and positioning artists of the 20th-century avant-garde as just a few actors in a vast ebb and flow of world civilization.

Many of his most acclaimed shows were group exhibitions and biennials. In addition to Documenta, he curated the 2008 Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, the 2012 Paris Triennale and the 2015 Venice Biennale.

 

 Okwui Enwezor at the 2015 Venice art biennale. Photograph: Andrea Merola/EPA

 

Mr Enwezor also curated numerous solo exhibitions, by such figures as the South African photographer David Goldblatt and the American sculptor and filmmaker Matthew Barney.

Okwuchukwu Emmanuel Enwezor was born on Oct. 23, 1963, in Calabar, a port city in southern Nigeria near the border with Cameroon. During the Biafran war of 1967-70, he and his family were forced to move dozens of times, settling at last in the eastern city of Enugu.

 

Mr Enwezor in 2011 outside the Haus der Kunst, a leading Munich museum, where he was its director from 2011 to 2018. One of the first shows under his leadership was an exploration of art and ideology during the Third Reich.Credit...Andreas Gebert/DPA, via Associated Press

 

Living through war and resettlement, he told The New York Times Magazine in 2002, “I learned what it means to be the Other, even within the rooms of one’s own home.”

He began his university career in Nigeria before moving to the United States in 1982, living in the Bronx and enrolling at what is now New Jersey City University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science.

After graduating, he moved to downtown Manhattan, where he performed poetry at venues like the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, attended gallery openings and danced all night at clubs like the Palladium and the Roxy.

Yet the young Mr Enwezor was “not overly awed or impressed by what the art world was throwing up,” he recalled this year in a New Museum show catalog. African artists, whether on the continent or in the diaspora, had almost no exposure.

He decided to fill the gap by starting Nka, a magazine of contemporary African art, which he co-founded with Mr Okeke-Agulu, the scholar Salah M. Hassan and the scholar and artist Olu Oguibe. Its first issue came out in 1994. (Its name was taken from the Igbo word for art or creation, as well as the Basaa word for discourse.)

Nka set out to overturn the “entrenched pejorative viewing of contemporary art from Africa,” as Mr Enwezor wrote in an editor’s letter in the first issue. Instead, he said, the magazine would advocate for art rooted in Africa but global in scope.

Nka became a touchstone in debates about art and postcolonialism, and it led the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York to invite him to be co-curator of an exhibition of African photography. The show, “In/Sight: African Photographers, 1940 to the Present” (1996), was one of the first museum exhibitions to present imagery from Africa by Africans themselves, beyond the stereotypes of Western ethnography.

It gave dozens of African artists, like the acclaimed Malian photographer Seydou Keïta, their first American exposure. “In/Sight” also insisted on an understanding of Africa that stretched past the black experience, by including Arab artists, white photographers from Zimbabwe and South Africa, and African artists of Asian descent.

The same pluralist approach framed Mr Enwezor’s show “The Short Century,” at the Villa Stuck in Munich in 2001, and later at MoMA PS1 in New York. This broad exhibition of African art and independence movements interwove the work of four dozen living artists with archival materials, music and photography from popular magazines.

Roberta Smith of The Times called it “one of those rare occasions when the usually hyperbolic term ‘landmark exhibition’ is not an overstatement.”

“The Short Century” came with a hefty catalog, chock-full of essays, images and primary sources, which would become a signature of Mr Enwezor’s shows. (For “Postwar,” his last major historical exhibition, the catalog bulged to 850 pages and weighed more than 10 pounds.)

 

Mr. Enwezor, second from right, appeared in September at a Prada Foundation event connected to Milan fashion week. Here he was joined, from left, by the artist Theaster Gates and the directors Spike Lee and Dee Rees.Credit...Flavio Lo Scalzo/EPA, via Shutterstock

 

In 1998, on the strength of “In/Sight” and an acclaimed biennial in Johannesburg, Mr Enwezor was named artistic director of the 11th edition of Documenta, one of the world’s best-attended art shows, with a budget that year of more than $20 million.

Only 34, he was the first non-European to get the job, and he recast the show in Germany as only one node in a constellation of Documenta platforms, which included conferences on transitional justice in New Delhi and on postcolonial literature in the Caribbean island nation of Saint Lucia. Mr Enwezor was proposing that an art exhibition mattered as much for the discourse it produced as for the works it presented.

More than half of his Documenta’s 117 artists and groups hailed from the developing world. Europeans and Americans like Louise Bourgeois, Joan Jonas and Steve McQueen had equal footing with African, Latin American and Asian colleagues.

Lucid, rarefied and uncompromisingly serious, Documenta 11 stomped on the Western-centric “internationalism” familiar from humanist blockbusters like “The Family of Man,” Edward Steichen’s 1955 photography show at the Museum of Modern Art, and replaced it with a historically engaged view of the whole, roiling planet, where artists and images were in constant motion.

Mr Enwezor’s return to Germany to direct the Haus der Kunst, an exhibition hall built by the Nazis, was considered a coup for Munich. One of the first shows under his leadership was an exploration of art and ideology during the Third Reich.

But his relationship with Bavaria’s cultural officials soured, and his time at the Haus der Kunst was marred by an embarrassing scandal involving a senior manager who had pressured employees to join the Church of Scientology — an activity that began before Mr Enwezor’s arrival but that continued under his leadership.

Mr Enwezor resigned in 2018 for health reasons. Afterwards, a new leader cited “management mistakes” as the reason for cancelling shows by Ms Jonas and Adrian Piper. More traditionalist German painters were invited to exhibit instead.

The ailing Mr Enwezor hit back, asserting that the Bavarian authorities had underfunded the museum for decades and calling his treatment by the new leadership “an insult.”

In addition to Ms. Neri, a director at Gagosian Gallery, Mr Enwezor is survived by his daughter, Uchenna Enwezor; his mother, Bernadette Enwezor; and four sisters, Rita Ogor Enwezor-Udorji, Maureen Enwezor, Francesca Enwezor-Onyia and Nkiru Enwezor-Onyanta. He was previously married to Muna el Fituri.

Mr Enwezor’s commitments to cosmopolitanism and expanded historical narratives were crystallized early in his career. In South Africa in 1996, shortly after his appointment to direct his first major show, he watched the waves crash at the extreme southern tip of the continent.

“I was astonished by the experience of standing there, where the two oceans met,” he later remembered. “I knew at that very moment this would be my concept: the meeting of worlds.”

 


 

Calling on 'The Masters'

"...always been of great interest to observe how contemporary African ART fits naturally in modern and classic space, enhancing with complementing aesthetics and elegance."  - Founder ARTMAZON™

Undoubtedly, Africa has a rich artistic tradition, with artists whose work rivals the great masters of European art. Yet the assumption may still prevail that African art is the product of “tribal workshops,” guided by neither genuine aesthetic principles nor independent artistic sensibilities. 'THE MASTERS' category on ARTMAZON™ aims to correct this oversight with a comprehensive listing of the most significant collections of CONTEMPORARY ART from Master Artists of African descent.

The ARTMAZON™ Vision is to foster INNOVATION IN THE ART TRADE for the Preservation, safe and secure Storage, Financialization, Marketplace Visibility and Sales of Artwork of artists from across the African continent from expertly curated Online Displays and Exhibition of paintings, photographs, drawings and sculpture from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Artists of interest are the likes of Ben Enwonwu, Gerard Sekoto, Ibrahim El Salahi, Yusuf Grillo, Irma Stern, Skunder Boghossian, Uzo Egonu, William Kentridge, Billie Zangewa, Dumile Feni, Abdoulaye Konate, Zanele Muholi, Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, Magdalene Odundo, Otobong Nkanga and Nicholas Hlobo, among many others.