Ask a Curator: Your Questions Answered!

Thanks for your responses to our Ask a Curator post. Linda Dougherty, Curator of Contemporary Art, has volunteered to answer the first batch:

Is being a curator what you thought it would be?

Linda Dougherty: Yes and no–I feel incredibly lucky to have a job where I am really interested in what I do–writing and talking about art, working with artists and collectors, coming up with ideas for exhibitions. I did not anticipate the more administrative side of the job–lots of meetings and paperwork.

What are common misconceptions about your job?

LD: It is commonly seen as a glamorous job–but not all that we do is glamorous! In fact, most of it is administrative or requires a lot of research and frequent planning.

What type of education or background is good to have in order to become a curator?

LD: You generally need a master’s degree, and preferably a Phd in Art History.

Being a curator sounds like the ultimate dream job for an art lover, but what are the challenges? If you see a work of art that would be perfect for the museum, do you generally have to fight others for it? I could see some stress arising from that.

LD: As a curator of contemporary art, one challenge is trying to keep up with what is happening in contemporary art–I always need more time to just look at art (in galleries, on-line, in art magazines) and it seems like the contemporary art world has dramatically expanded in the last decade, making it a challenge to keep up with what is happening right at this moment. The current economic climate has impacted this but yes, museums often have to jockey for a position or get on a waiting list in order to get works of art by certain artists, or even to get certain exhibitions at their museum.

Keep those questions coming! Add your questions to the comments section, or post them via Facebook.


  1. Posted August 24, 2009 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been an producing artist for over 30 years, living and exhibiting in Europe and the U.S. I’ve lived in Paris, France, Seattle, WA, Honolulu, HI, Juneau, AK, and more recently Louisiana. I’ve never been accepted into a juried exhibit however I’ve exhibited consistently and evolved over the years. I’m sincerely perplexed why I continue to get over looked. Do you ever give feed back to artists that are in need of a curators perspective?

    Thank you,
    Gwen Wock

  2. tim
    Posted March 16, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I would like to know what type of spray paint to use to paint a picture matte, someone suggested an acrilic, but I’m not versed in this.

    Thanx very much,


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