Robert Storr, the 2007 Venice Biennale curator among other things, posed this rather provocative question in a recent issue of Frieze magazine. In his column, Storr answers his question (no they aren't), but spends the rest of the article pointing out that this type of thinking is not new and actually had French origins at the time of Derrida and Barthes.
Storr saves his reasons for an upcoming column, but I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on this.
I for one, see a good curatorial effort as one that creates an exhibition that in some ways is greater or at least different than the sum of its parts (i.e. the individual artworks). Artists play more of a transformative role. To me they are very different pursuits. I think though that the subtext of Storr's statement is that artists have always been viewed more highly than curators and is that hierarchy still valid? At the end of the day, neither the artist nor the curator matter nearly as much as the artwork itself, so perhaps even considering a hierarchy is pointless.
I'll update you with a synopsis of Storr's reasons once the next Frieze arrives on newsstands.