Art Term


A curator is someone employed by a museum or gallery to manage a collection of artworks or artefacts

Tate Patrons enjoy a curator-led tour of Damien Hirst at Tate Modern

Patrons enjoy a curator-led tour of Damien Hirst at Tate Modern

Museums and galleries typically employ numbers of curators whose role it is to acquire, care for and develop a collection. They will also arrange displays of collection and loaned works and interpret the collection in order to inform, educate and inspire the public.

In the past twenty years the role of the curator has evolved: now there are freelance or independent curators who are not attached to an institution and who have their own idiosyncratic ways of making exhibitions. Such curators are invited to curate, or themselves propose, exhibitions in a wide range of spaces, both within and outside the established gallery system, and online.

The Swiss curator Harald Szeemann who was the director of the Venice Biennale in 1999 and 2001 is a good example of an independent curator, as is the artist and curator Matthew Higgs who is known for his low budget, DIY exhibitions that have included the publication Imprint, an art exhibition that was posted to people rather than exhibited in a gallery space.

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