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With the onset of the pandemic, societies have accelerated, veered, locked down, and oscillated with increasing force to the point of violent compression and release, opening out into a long-coming rise of political reckoning. Centuries of legislated oppression have given way to intensified social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter, who are calling for orchestrated outcries of willed resistance and to rethink what it means to live on this planet, with every species of Other, human and nonhuman alike, together.

The role of the curator — one small facet of human activity — is touched no less by the urgency of our times. How far we’ve come from the old idea of the “keeper,” the English term used to describe that person who cataloged artifacts and kept collections of them from decay in the holds of museums. Today, curators are tasked with what can be called activated display, to bring into visibility an activated ethical consciousness embodied in the constellation of objects and knowledges, of private influence and public intersection, of system and intuition that curators construct.

The curator as activist, auteur, collector, convenor, critic, entrepreneur, facilitator, historian, interpreter, mediator, negotiator, philosopher, publisher, steward, technician, and theorist are all within the wheelhouse of the job to be done in museums, galleries, and public spaces, both physical and virtual.

These times and this work are what our master’s degree program in Curatorial Practice at the School of Visual Arts considers in depth, with a renowned faculty of curators and experts in the heart of New York City, with galleries, museums, and artists studios all around us, and with international guests. Every aspect of the curatorial profession is taught, with a focus on practical experience, as well as history and theory.

To learn more and apply, visit macp.sva.edu.

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