Is it a conflict of interest for museum curators to organize art fair programming? New Hirshhorn director Melissa Chiu has come under fire for both relocating the museum's 40th anniversary gala to New York, and for hiring Gianni Jetzer, who also works part-time as a curator for Art Basel, as a part-time curator. Kriston Capps of the City Newspaper lays out the offenses, saying, "Jetzer's work in the commercial realm will prompt questions about his work for the Smithsonian museum and vice versa. Here's why: A contemporary artist who shows work at the Hirshhorn stands to see the value of her art appreciate. A curator working in both worlds could potentially show-and-sell, so to speak."
While it has traditionally been frowned upon for museum curators to participate in private sector activities, isn't this becoming more and more common? Almost all of Frieze Art Fairs "advisors" for their emerging sections "Frame" and "Focus" have been from nonprofit institutions. This year's advisors include Jacob Proctor, a curator at the University of Chicago's Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, and Raphael Gygax, a curator at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst. Are these conflicts of interest? Where should museum curators draw the line?
Read an excerpt of Capps's report below.