Yesterday, September 16, was "Ask a Curator"day on Twitter. It's exactly what it sounds like: a day when curators from museums and galleries around the world answer questions on Twitter using the hashtag #AskACurator. It's been around since 2010 and is organized by museum blogger Mar Dixon.
Curators from more than a thousand museums took part this year, according to the end of day roundup.
Among them were the Met, the Louvre, the British Museum, MoMA, and a number of the museums that make up the Smithsonian.
There were 39,364 tweets using the hashtag, according to AskACurator, mostly about what pieces art curators like best, misperceptions people have about the job, and questions about dinosaurs. But for now let's talk about the people joking around in the hashtag, because they were really funny.
Most of the people trolling the hashtag were artists, or somehow involved in the art world themselves.
There were some important questions and statements on the nature of curation and art.
Deeply heartfelt pleas for advice.
One question I really want to know the answer to:
Moments of reflection on the trolling itself.
There was also some legitimate criticism of the art world and museums as institutions…
…some of which was also pretty funny.
Cultural institutions are fraught with problems (that's putting it politely). While #AskACurator is a great idea, frankly, so is trolling it. As you might expect, there wasn't a response to any of the jokes, but as far as trolls go, thoughtful and funny ones who care about art are pretty good trolls to attract.
Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at email@example.com