Day at Work: Art Curator
My name is Rene de Guzman and I’m the senior
curator of art at the Oakland Museum of California. As a senior curator the primary thing is to
build an art collection uh that reflects California. Um, I also create temporary exhibitions. Uh,
I raise money and I speak to the public. “The books lined up in, uh, according to color
that was based on an art piece that um an artist did in San Francisco. I really enjoy
building a vibrant program. I really love seeing people light up when they experience projects that we do. “I actually really like this.” I got into the field of art, um, I think it had to do with being an immigrant kid with
English as a second language so I communicated through drawing before I learned how to uh
speak English proficiently and that got me on this whole evolution into being an artist.
I took university courses at UC Berkeley, beyond that, I was a professional artist and
then I was asked to start a contemporary arts center in San Francisco called Yerba Buena
Center for the Arts, and then that’s where I got my curatorial training by doing it in
the real world. Um, so, uh… we commissioned this work, uh um, to my left it’s by Barry
Magee. He is sort of known as a street artist. Uh, I was really excited to work with Barry
and commission a new work art that reflects California. You know the vibrancy, and the
free form and the dynamism of California. What I love most about being a curator is
um I think I have uh the best job in the world. And I really mean that. You know my job is
to work with creative people, smart people, and support an institution that I very much
believe in. Part of being a curator, has to do with learning, you know, in order to
do good work, you have to constantly improve yourself. Constantly have to, um, become an
expert at new material and so you’re curiosity is rewarded by amazing insights into the world around you. The best advice I would say to a young person – is that whatever you do make sure that you follow what you’re truly passionate about. If it happens to be art, go for it.
If it happens to be wine making, go for it. If you’re truly passionate in it, you’ll become
an expert and you’ll be able to share your enthusiasm about that subject. Because that
is really what’s gonna to make you a successful person and that’s really what’s going to make you become a contributor.