Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Citizen Curators" at the Met

The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post all reported today on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new exhibition “Blog.mode: addressing fashion.”

From the WSJ:

Fashion criticism has long been the exclusive realm of an insular band of journalists who traveled the big runway shows in Paris, Milan and New York and seemed to speak their own esoteric language. But the Met's new exhibit, "Blog.mode Addressing Fashion," is inviting anyone with an Internet connection to critique the clothes on display. With its new blog,, which went up this week, the august museum is also acknowledging that traditional fashion criticism is over.
WSJ quotes designer Hussein Chalayan: "At the end of the day when you have a critic write about your work, it is just one person who is supposed to be an expert," he says. "Why is this taken more seriously [than a blogger]?"

The Washington Post is more critical of what it fears may become a trend in “citizen curating”:
Museums need to be attuned to the communities they serve and should strive to attract as wide an audience as possible. Museums don't own culture, but they sort through it, rank it and attempt to make some sense of it. Theirs aren't the only valid points of view, but they are especially valued because they're the result of research, dispassionate analysis and intellectual curiosity.

Should your next-door neighbor's opinion of Rei Kawakubo sit side-by-side with the point of view of the Costume Institute's curator? Should they be given similar weight?

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