In contemporary art, the title curator is given to a person who organizes an exhibition. In this context, to curate means to select works of art and arrange them to achieve a desired effect. This might involve finding a strategy for display. Thematic, conceptual and formal approaches are all prevalent. In addition to selecting works, the curator often is responsible for writing labels, catalog essays and other supporting content for the exhibition. Such curators may be permanent staff members, may be ‘guest curators’ from an affiliated organization or university, or be ‘freelance curators’ working on a consultancy basis.The late 20th century saw an explosion of artists organizing exhibitions The artist-curator has a long tradition of influence. Notable among these was Sir Joshua Reynolds, founder of the Royal Academy.
More recent advances in new technologies has led to the further widening of the role of the curator. This has been focused in major art institutions internationally and has become an object of academic study and research.