Curationism : How Curating Took Over the Art World and Everything Else

3.68 (195 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 1 business day
When will my order arrive?


*Winner of the ICA Book of the Year, 2015*

Now that we 'curate' even lunch, what happens to the role of the connoisseur in contemporary culture?

'Curate' has become a buzzword, applied to everything from music festivals to artisanal cheese. Inside the art world, the curator reigns supreme, acting as the face of high-profile group shows in a way that can eclipse the contributions of individual artists. At the same time, curatorial-studies programs continue to grow, and businesses are adopting curation as a means of adding value to content. Everyone, it seems, is now a curator.

But what is a curator, exactly? And what does the explosive popularity of curating say about our culture's relationship with taste, labour and the avant-garde? In this vibrant book, David Balzer travels through art history to explore the cult of curation, where it began, how it came to dominate museums and galleries, and how it emerged at the turn of the millennium as a dominant mode of thinking and being.

Recalling such landmark works of cultural criticism as Tom Wolfe's The Painted Word and John Berger's Ways of Seeing, Balzer asks whether curationism has finally reached its own limits, where its widespread success has paradoxically led to its own demise.
show more

Out of ideas for the holidays?

Visit our Gift Guides and find our recommendations on what to get friends and family during the holiday season. Shop now .

Product details

  • Paperback | 144 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 104mm | 168g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1st ed.
  • With flaps
  • 0745335977
  • 9780745335971
  • 183,106

Table of contents


Prologue: Who is HUO?

Part 1: Value

Part 2: Work

show more

Review quote

'The kind of book I crave ... a beautiful, useful, and timely book' -- Scrivener Creative Review Best Art Books of the Year -- Sky Goodden, National Post 'Game-changing' -- moMus 'A fast but deep account of the rise of the curator through the art world into popular culture' -- The Globe and Mail 'A polemical account of what curators do and why not everyone is one' -- Monocle Magazine 'Curationism is increasingly persuasive as it nears the present. The best sections concern the rise of conceptual art from the 1950s onwards, the rise of international high finance, and the merging of the two' -- Spectator 'An insightful, provocative and entertaining overview of many of the key issues in both art and cultural life today' -- Art Review 'A book you should read. Balzer traces the history and current hegemony of curationism-a practice of jumped-up interior decorators who double as priests explaining the gospel to the unlettered masses. A good read, if you don't mind reading things that you don't want to know' -- Dave Hickey, art and culture critic 'Point[s] out how far we have come from the original avatars of the term: the curatores' -- Hal Foster, London Review of Books 'Balzer writes with zest, scepticism and sly humour as he tracks the rise of the 'star curator' as marking the end of any possible avant-garde. Curationism is a memorable exploration that will change how you see so many daily activities. I loved this brilliant book.' -- Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?
show more

About David Balzer

David Balzer is currently Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Art and has contributed to publications including The Believer, Modern Painters, ARTnews, and Capital New York. He is the author of Curationism (Pluto, 2015).
show more

Rating details

195 ratings
3.68 out of 5 stars
5 18% (35)
4 44% (86)
3 28% (55)
2 8% (15)
1 2% (4)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X