I am a curator of contemporary art. My job is to pick art, get the gallery or artists to lend it to my institution, write about it, decide how to display it etc… Most museums have several different departments, including education, exhibitions, marketing, development (raising money) and administration (the buildings require a lot of upkeep)
To become a curator I earned an MA in Art History. That is generally considered the professional degree for contemporary art institutions, while modern and other fine art institutions require a PhD.
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I must warn however, working in a museum is very difficult, I am actually considering turning in for a different career.
my dissatisfaction stems from:
1. Very Slow Pace, I only organize a few exhibitions per year, and the shows are often more than 24 months of planning.
2. can take some of the sheen off of the art objects we love. To think about artworks as objects that must be crated, shipped, insured, and handled carefully detracts from stepping back and absorbing them as works of art. Also I often have to talk with artists about how they made their work, and some technical issues which can detract from my personal experience of the artworks. sometimes I avoid working with work that means a lot to me because I don’t want to destroy the illusion.
3. Money is a big deal, but you won’t make much of it. We in the not for proffit sector have very tight budgets and we have to cultivate donors and write grants, and think about money a lot. To most artistically inclined people (like myself) this is a stressful task.