Thursday, May 03, 2012

Bums on seats

In the game of musical chairs one chair is removed and when the music stops everyone scrambles for the chairs that are left. Now imagine a game where six or seven players were removed instead. Empty chairs all over the place. Welcome to the world of the public art museum. 

Wellington City needs a senior curator. 

Dunedin Public Art Gallery needs a director (it took them nearly a year to get one last time) 

Te Papa needs a Senior Curator, Art (they go through about one every two years although the last one only lasted nine months) and tragically a Curator Historical New Zealand art 

Christchurch is out of its permanent home for at least another twelve months and its contemporary curator Justin Paton in France for the rest of the year. 

Auckland is about to lose its top line of management and nearly lost its director. Also word on the street has it that Te Papa tried to poach Mary Kisler, Mackelvie curator of International art, from them (#fatchance). 

Where are all the talented and experienced people to fill these roles going to come from? The same people circulating around the jobs is proving a short term fix. The truth is that curators are thin on the ground and the attrition rate is scary. Senior curators Robert Leonard and Gregory Burke left to work in other countries but too many people simply get out the business altogether. Take Lara Strongman, Courtney Johnston, Heather Galbraith and Kate Montgomery,  all in curatorial roles at the City Gallery and now doing anything but. 

So fun and games. And that is what we will tag it.