How to Curate Art in the Digital Age

How to Curate Art in the Digital Age

The role of curation has never been more vital. As technology continues to advance and evolve within the art industry, bringing with it numerous benefits, it also introduces challenges like crowded and chaotic markets. It's in this digital age where the significance of art curation truly shines.

We interview Kendall Warson, Co-Founder of Cohart, a platform that is changing the way the art world comes together online, to delve into the core aspects of art curation. In this interview, we'll explore questions such as the key fundamentals of art curation, the impact of social media and online platforms, challenges and opportunities in digital curation, and the future of art curation with advancements in technology. Through Kendall's expertise, we'll uncover insights into these pressing topics, providing a comprehensive overview of the evolving landscape of art curation.

What are the key fundamentals when it comes to art curation?

As a curator, you need to think deeply about the narrative you want to convey and how each element contributes to it. Understanding your audience is crucial - who are they, and what will resonate with them? Building strong relationships with artists is also essential to curating authentic and meaningful exhibitions.

At Cohart, we're passionate about making curation accessible to everyone and equipping the community with information on the market, the artworks, and the artists. On Cohart, everyone can become their own curator, which will foster more inclusivity in the art world.

What are things collectors should look out for and appreciate?

There are a few key things I always encourage buyers to look out for:

  • Authentic Vision: seek out art that authentically reflects the artist's unique perspective and creative vision. Don't just go for what's trendy - look for the pieces with a differentiated point of view.
  • Conceptual Depth: beyond surface-level aesthetics, I encourage collectors to look for artwork with conceptual depth. The most compelling art often explores complex themes, challenges our assumptions, or offers new ways of seeing the world. 
  • Innovative Techniques: look out for artists pushing the boundaries of their craft. Whether through experimental materials, cutting-edge digital techniques, or the blending of multiple mediums, an innovative process takes art to the next level. 
  • Support Emerging Voices: it's crucial for collectors to support emerging and underrepresented artists. By investing in diverse creative voices, you're not only building a dynamic collection, but you're also helping to shape a more inclusive future of the art world.

The most fulfilling collections stem from a true love for art. Embracing artistic vision, conceptual depth, technical innovation, and a dedication to fostering a diverse and inclusive art community all contribute to enriching this appreciation. 

How has the rise of social media and online platforms changed the way art is curated and discovered?

The rise of social media and online platforms has dramatically transformed the way art is curated and discovered. A significant change is the democratization of access, with the majority of artists now able to showcase their work digitally, compared to the limitations in galleries (only 15% of artists are represented by traditional galleries).

From a collector's standpoint, art collecting has become more approachable. Buying art in physical gallery settings can be intimidating, creating pressure that can lead to impulsive purchases. In contrast, online platforms provide a comfortable environment for exploring art, empowering buyers to engage thoughtfully and make informed choices. The abundance of information online also facilitates a more informed and empowered collector base.

Moreover, social media has amplified the voices of diverse curators, allowing emerging and underrepresented individuals to showcase their perspectives independently. This shift has redefined the role of the traditional curator, emphasizing the importance of a digital-first approach and crafting immersive, community-driven narratives.

Can you discuss the challenges and opportunities of curating art in online environments?

Art is democratized online, which is a double-edged sword. With so much content out there in this digital landscape, it can be overwhelming for both curators and audiences to cut through the noise and discover compelling, meaningful work. However, this noise underscores the importance of curation.

And the digital realm has opened doors for diverse artistic voices and perspectives previously marginalized in traditional art spaces to speak up! The internet's global reach allows curators to form international communities and foster cross-cultural collaborations, transcending geographical boundaries. Platforms like Cohart showcase artists, curators, and collectors from nearly every continent, facilitating the exchange of ideas through art on a global scale.

The future of art curation lies in embracing the digital frontier and finding innovative ways to harness its unique capabilities to tell stories that resonate with audiences in digital spaces. 

What is the difference in curating art that is displayed online? Do the fundamentals still remain the same or are there some things that are different?

The core fundamentals of effective curation - like developing a clear vision, deeply understanding your audience, and fostering connections with artists - remain just as essential in the digital realm. 

One of the advantages of online curation is the ability to create more dynamic, immersive storytelling experiences. You can leverage digital tools, interactivity, and community engagement to take viewers on a much richer, more multifaceted journey through the art and the ideas behind it.

The pace of online content consumption can be a challenge. Everything moves so quickly in the digital space, which means curators have to be constantly producing new collections, new curation, and new content. It can be really tough to maintain audience attention and encourage that deeper, more contemplative engagement. 

Nowadays, it's not just about being a strong curator, you need a digital community and brand for people to listen to what you have to say.

How do you see the future of art curation evolving with advancements in technology, such as AI and blockchain?

One of the most exciting potentials is how AI-powered tools could assist curators in discovering new artistic talents, identifying thematic connections, and generating personalized exhibition recommendations for viewers. The data-driven insights from AI could make art more accessible and tailored to individual interests. Of course, there's also the challenge of ensuring these algorithms don't introduce biases or oversimplify the nuanced nature of art - that human curatorial touch will always be essential.

Blockchain technology holds a lot of promise too, especially when verifying provenance and ownership of digital artworks. We will see more collaborative, community-driven curation models emerge as a result. 

Overall, I believe the future of art curation will be defined by this dynamic interplay between technological innovation and the preservation of the core values and principles that make curation so special. It's an exciting time to be a curator!

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