The walls of our spaces are filled with amazing pieces of art created and curated by women, and with International Women’s Day taking place this month, we’re excited to showcase Tatum Dooley, writer and curator, whose work has appeared in Architectural Digest, The Globe & Mail, SSENSE, The Walrus, and Vogue.
Tatum curated the Cabinet of Curiosities collection at Drake Devonshire, an array of art with surreal subject matter. The collection includes photos by Deanna Pizzitelli (https://www.deannapizzitelli.com/), sculptures by Christina Kenton (@crabtina), and paintings by Grace Eunshin Kim (@geunsk12), presented as if they were unearthed treasures, hidden away in nooks or an attic before being found and displayed.
We spoke with Tatum about other women who inspire her, what it was like curating Cabinet of Curiosities and more. You can see and read more of Tatum’s work on Instagram (@tatum_dooley) or on her website here (https://www.tatumdooley.com/).
+ What are you working on that has you personally or professionally excited?
I have an upcoming workshop I’m hosting with Margaux Smith at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, a continuation of Canadian Art in Isolation which we co-founded at the beginning of the pandemic. It’s been interesting to observe the ripple effect the project has had.
I’m also currently working at Peggy, which is a social marketplace for discovering, buying and selling art. We’re launching in a few months and there are a lot of features I’m looking forward to, including royalties for artists on every secondary sale and digital fingerprinting technology that authenticates art.
My career centres around making art accessible, so I’m excited to be part of concrete ways to allow more people to collect and experience art.
+ Can you tell us about the process of curating Cabinet of Curiosities? What is it like curating for a space as unique as Drake Devonshire?
I usually start with one or two artists that I’ve had my eye on and work outwards—honing in on a theme or feeling I want to impart. For Cabinet of Curiosities, I choose art that felt like it belonged in the space for decades, and it’s only on closer examination that you notice the unusual, surreal, and contemporary details of the work. I loved the constraints of the domestic space, choosing small work for the corners, a large piece above the mantel, and sculptures for the cabinets—the show literally contains a cabinet of curiosities.
+ Who are some of your important role models or mentors who are women?
My criteria for role models is pretty fast and loose, I’m inspired every day by the women in my life and learn from them: how to advocate for myself, how to communicate clearly, the benefits of knowledge sharing, prioritizing empathy, and how to strike a work/life balance.
+ What advice would you give to young up-and-coming artists?
Find or build a community of people who celebrate and support each other. There’s no room for a scarcity mindset in the art world.
+ Who are some women in the art space who are inspiring you right now?
Erin Stump of Erin Stump Projects; Siri Hustvedt, the essayist and novelist; Corrie Jackson, the senior curator at RBC; and Nan Goldin, specifically for her advocacy work at P.A.I.N.
+ Coffee or Tea?
Coffee—multiple cups a day.
+ Your go-to comfort food?
Slowly simmered San Marzano tomatoes.
+ What’s the last book you read or movie you watched that had an impact on you?
In Another World: Notes 2014-2017 by Isabelle Graw; Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler; the Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St. Aubyn; Sweet Days of Discipline by Fleur Jaeggy—I lost the copy I borrowed from the library, and have been meaning to get a replacement copy.