I find this turf war fascinating, and a bit sad.
I think one of a museum's overarching goals is to get the public, its visitors, to appreciate art. Appreciation comes from interacting with the art. Sometimes that involves learning about its origins, the time it was made, the social structure of the artist's community, or the particular challenges the artist might have faced. In the case of the public curating, the viewers have a vested interest in the art because they are choosing what might be seen. They get to make choices. Viewers spend more time looking at all the art options in order to make a choice, as opposed to simply looking at what they might select themselves. They are involved.
I'm disappointed that a curator might resign over this type of scenario. A good curator could still be the gentle guiding hand in the creation of the exhibition during the pre-selection process. I don't see how the museum's leadership role in the appreciation of art is diminished by letting the public sometimes have a say. I don't think the museum relinquishes its role as an expert by exhibiting artwork selected by public opinion. These exhibitions would become a collection of favorites and I can imagine there would still be many educational opportunities. I think there would be sociological things to glean from public curating that would dovetail nicely into the "facts" of the art. We'd likely gain a lot of insight into trends, social conscience, and probably get a few surprises as well.
I think this would get people thinking and talking, and Isn't Art Supposed To Be a Dialogue?
I think enabling the public to participate in the development of an exhibition is a great idea. I don't think it should be done all the time -- there's a lot learn from
If you're interested in reading the full article, here's the link: http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/everybodys-an-art-curator-1414102402-lMyQjAxMTE0ODIxNTUyNTUxWj