Shi Zheng, Free Fall Study III, video, 4 min.; in “The Long Cut.”
This past winter, the NFT hype cycle touted the emergence of an art market without gatekeepers, where value was determined by creators and collectors—often the same people—rather than dealers, curators, and advisers who maintain authority by limiting access. But as the market grows it seems like stakeholders in the community have realized that well-kept gates have a wayfinding function. They help audiences navigate a complex field. Artists, galleries, and other interested parties are investing energy in selection, aggregation, and presentation—activities are known as “curation,” even if they’re performed without aspects of the old-school gatekeepers’ curatorial work, like historical scholarship and conservation.