Contemporary art curating news and views from Michelle Kasprzak and team

Job - Curator, Monterey Museum of Art

Posted by April Steele • Thursday, May 26. 2011 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
The Monterey Museum of Art (MMA) seeks a dynamic and experienced museum professional to serve as Curator. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Curator will manage the permanent collection and develop and implement the exhibitions program to advance the Museum's mission and strategic direction. Additional job responsibilities include preparation of interpretive materials, public programs, working with the Executive Director to cultivate collectors, donors and artists for gifts to the collection, management of the curatorial department budget and supervision of the curatorial staff.

This position requires a MA in art history with a specialization in modern art, contemporary art or photography and 3-5 years of curatorial experience. Knowledge of the Monterey Peninsula Artist's Colony is critical. Candidates must have a demonstrated ability to work independently, coordinate complex projects and excellent written and verbal communication skills.

This is a full-time position with a benefits package.

Please submit resume and cover letter in confidence to: Curatorial Search Committee, employment(at)

No phone calls or applications accepted in person.

The Monterey Museum of Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Contact Person: Curatorial Search Committee
Email Address: employment(at)
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Job - Associate Curator/Curator, Aspen Art Museum

Posted by April Steele • Thursday, May 26. 2011 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

Associate Curator / Curator

About the Aspen Art Museum
The Aspen Art Museum is an accredited, globally preeminent, non-collecting institution that organizes and presents the newest, most important evolutions in international contemporary art through a dynamic exhibition program of ten to twelve shows per year. With an annual operating budget of over $3.1 million and staff of 28 professionals, the AAM is situated in a picturesque environment with an exceptionally active community of contemporary art collectors. Please visit our website for more information: The Aspen Art Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Job Description
The Associate Curator / Curator provides curatorial expertise to the Director and Chief Curator and curatorial leadership within the institution. S/he participates in and manages all aspects of an ambitious schedule of contemporary exhibitions and publications—including research, preparation, and implementation. S/he provides curatorial support for all exhibitions and curates occasional exhibitions in the main galleries in addition to developing small-scale and off-site exhibitions. Reporting to the Director and Chief Curator, the Associate Curator / Curator is an integral part of the museum’s senior management team, with broad responsibilities across the institution.

• Curates occasional monographic and group exhibitions, performances, and film and video series, as well as other small-scale and off-site projects
• Works with the Director and Chief Curator on conceptualizing all aspects of the exhibition program, including long term visioning and planning
• Works closely with all artists and outside curators involved in the museum’s exhibition program, including the museum progressive artist-in-residence program
• Coordinates the production of major commissions, including film, theatrical and musical performance, large-scale public sculpture, and immersive installation
• Helps secure public, private, and corporate partnerships for the creation and presentation of new work
• Coordinates collaborations with national and international institutional and publishing partners
• Writes and helps and edit exhibition descriptions and didactic materials including gallery guides, wall text, labels, website content, and catalog texts.
• Works with Education, Development, and Communications staff to prepare and edit materials to promote, publicize, and interpret exhibitions and related public programs
• Develops and presents original interpretative gallery talks to classes, visiting groups,
and donors
• In consultation with the Director and Chief Curator, works with development staff to raise maximum funds in support of exhibitions.
• Works with Registrar and Manager of Exhibitions to develop and monitor curatorial
department budget, including revenue and expenses
• Provides logistical and administrative coordination of exhibitions, including traveling exhibition
• Supervises full time curatorial assistant and curatorial interns

Requirements and Qualifications
• MA in Art History, Curatorial Studies, or a related discipline with an emphasis on contemporary art
• 3–5 years experience as a curator or curatorial assistant in an art museum
• Recognized curatorial experience, preferably in a museum context
• Strong knowledge of the international contemporary art world with an extensive network of artists and colleagues
• In-depth knowledge and enthusiasm for contemporary visual art, artists, museums
and exhibitions
• Ability to work with close attention to detail and to maintain confidentiality
• Ability to take initiative and prioritize tasks; excellent time-management, problemprevention and problem-solving skills
• Ability to follow through and meet deadlines while coordinating many current and longrange projects simultaneously
• Outstanding writing, editing, organizational, management, and communication skills
• Ability to represent the museum with a high level of integrity and professionalism, adhere to museum policies and support management decisions in a positive, professional manner
• Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to work with colleagues, artists, the public, Board of Trustees, donors, and volunteers
• Comfortable working in a fast paced, team oriented environment.

To apply, please send a letter of interest and a cv via email to:
hr (at)

or mail to:
Aspen Art Museum
ATTN: Karen Johnsen
590 North Mill Street
Aspen, CO 81611
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Job - Curator, International Art, Tate Modern, deadline June 26

Posted by April Steele • Thursday, May 26. 2011 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

The Curatorial department, Tate Modern is responsible for the delivery of exhibitions and displays
and for building Tate’s International Collection.

The acquisitions team within the department is responsible for Tate’s acquisition programme and
plays a leading role within Tate in researching the Collection. It contributes to the display and
exhibition programmes of all Tate sites, as well as to publications. Curators within the department
work across all Tate sites.

You can find further information about Tate on our website:

Purpose of the Job

To research and work on the acquisition of African art for the Tate Collection. To work on Tate
Modern’s programme of exhibitions and collection displays.

Main Activities/Responsibilities


Within the framework of the acquisition strategy led by the Head of Collections (International Art)
you will:
• Contribute to the formulation of acquisitions strategy in the field of modern and contemporary
International art, with particular reference to African art.
• Research and propose acquisitions, and contribute generally to the work of the team of curators
that focuses on acquisitions of International art.
• Advise the Head of Collection (International art) on developments and events in the field of
modern and contemporary African art.
• Maintain and develop an appropriate network of contacts among artists, artists’ estates, dealers,
critics, scholars and auction houses.
• Liaise with Development and build relationships with possible benefactors, and along with the
Development team manage the Africa Acquisitions Committee.
• Negotiate acquisition terms and contracts with vendors; follow internal acquisition procedures;
ensure proper liaison and communication within Tate during the acquisition process.
• Write informed and accurate texts about acquisition proposals for the Trustees and for funding
• Make presentations within Tate and to external bodies in relation to acquisitions.
• Maintain and develop awareness of art market and current valuations.

Exhibition and displays
Within the framework of the agreed programme of Tate Modern and led by the Chief Curator, Tate
Modern, you will:
• Contribute to the conception of exhibitions and collection displays.
• Contribute to Tate Modern’s international curatorial and project exchanges.
• Lead, co-ordinate and manage large and small exhibition and display project teams, as required,
to ensure smooth delivery of projects. This may involve negotiation of loans and liaison with
artists, collectors, public and private institutions, and responsibility for budgets.
• Write accessible gallery wall texts and captions.
• Write informative and scholarly texts for Tate exhibition catalogues; edit exhibition catalogues.
• Lead tours and presentations of displays and exhibitions.

Research and cataloguing
Within the context of Tate’s research programme and goals, you will:
• Follow and engage in scholarly debates about modern and contemporary International art.
• Maintain and extend expertise in your specialist areas.
• Contribute to Tate’s overall research programme, including exhibitions and displays, as required.
• Establish correct catalogue information for acquired works.
• Research works in the Collection, preparing short texts, board notes and catalogue entries and
other types of writings around the Collection as required, writing in a clear, accessible prose and
according to Tate house style.
• Present research and critical thinking about the Collection outside of Tate.
• Co-ordinate seminars.

Administration and management
To assist with the smooth running of the department and to contribute to the achievement of
departmental goals, you will:
• Act as project manager for specific projects.
• Attend Tate events.
• Supervise interns or volunteers when required.
• Line manage Assistant Curators.
• Participate in staff recruitment when required.
• Take on administration-related tasks and projects, when required.
• Provide valuations of works of art
• Give expert advice to external bodies, as required.

Person Specification

• A relevant degree and post-graduate degree in the history of art, or a related field.
• Substantial and relevant work experience in an art gallery, museum, or with a collection.
• Extensive experience of the processes involved in staging displays and exhibitions, including
managing budgets.
• Demonstrable knowledge of and practical involvement in modern and contemporary African art.
• Track record of publications.
• A high level of knowledge and understanding of issues surrounding collecting modern and
contemporary art for museums.
• Specialist knowledge of African art.
• A well-developed visual sense and understanding of issues involved in the display of works of
art in a public gallery.
• Awareness of issues of equality and cultural diversity as they affect the work of a major museum.
• An established network of contacts in the field of African art.
• Well-developed interpersonal skills, with the capacity to lead, yet flexible enough to work well
within a team, and work collaboratively across Tate.
• Skilled negotiator with aptitude for managing different types of relationships
• Demonstrable excellence in verbal communication and presentation.
• First-class research skills.
• Excellent writing skills, including the capacity to write authoritative texts for a specialist
readership as well as accessible texts for a general public.
• Excellent organisation, planning and administrative skills, with ability to prioritise and
coordinate multiple activities to meet deadlines.
• Ability and willingness to travel and to attend out of hours functions, as required, to meet Tate’s
• An interest in and commitment to the work of Tate.

• Knowledge of at least one foreign language
• Knowledge of Tate’s Collection.
• Knowledge of the scope of UK and international collections of African art.

The closing date for the return of completed application forms is Sunday, 26 June 2011 by 5.00

To apply, please visit

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Review: What Makes A Great Exhibition?

Posted by Sophie Williamson • Tuesday, May 24. 2011 • Category: Reviews & Resources

What Makes A Great Exhibition?

Edited by Paula Marincola, Director of the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative (PEI).

Essays by Glenn Adamson, Paola Antonelli, Carlos Basualdo, Iwona Blazwick, Lynne Cooke, Thelma Golden, Mary Jane Jacob, Jeffrey Kipnis, Paula Marincola, Detlef Mertins, Mark Nash, Ralph Rugoff, Ingrid Schaffner and Robert Storr.

Supposedly we don’t judge a book by its cover, and with this publication we should give its title the same respect. The Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative has continually challenged arts professionals to devise exhibitions of high artistic merit by posing them with this deceptively simple sounding question: What makes a great exhibition?

The dialogue surrounding exhibitions is invariably based on theme and content. Having recently evaluated MA curating courses, I was surprised to find that syllabi too usually focus on the conceptual development of exhibitions rather than the practical tools of creating them.

Seeking to provoke this reflection beyond their direct constituency, Marincola poses this question of ‘what makes a great exhibition’ to fourteen highly distinguished curators and leading professionals in the field in an attempt to uncover the instinctive considerations and processes that they have developed through experience. Marincola also seeks to illustrate how curatorial objectives collide with the reality of practicalities in exhibition making. Refreshingly, the editor realizes that as contemporary art exhibitions attract larger and more diverse audiences this is a debate that should be readily accessible. The book therefore allows a rare behind the scenes look at exhibition making for a readership that reaches beyond curating professionals.

Each contributor responds to the question from different perspectives and experiences. Ranging from past Documenta curators and Venice Biennale commissioners, to directors of some of the world’s most prestigious museums and influential galleries, the contributors have been responsible for an impressive canon of important exhibitions. Each of these exhibitions has been individually evaluated through official texts, publications, and events, as well as through the press and media. In this anthology however, Marincola asks the contributors to think about common denominators shared in the successes - or indeed failures - of these projects, how they are produced, and their concepts formed.

Marincola has outlined the expanded complexities of the publication title question in a series of leading sub questions. These relate to all elements of exhibition development and realisation, such as marrying exhibition concept with artist's intentions; placing of works in relation to each other as well as the architectural framework; formal presentation and supporting text; catalogue and legacy; and the varying roles of and relationships between curator, institution and artist within these processes of decision making.

Outlined on the cover, Marincola reveals an expanded list of questions that she had posed to the contributors. Printed also on an inserted bookmark, the reader is prompted to continually refer back to these points of interest. Despite the authority of the essays, this transparency in the guiding questions of the publication allows the reader to participate in the dialogue and encourages us to create our own responses.

The breadth of the subject matter creates a dilemma for those attempting responses; the contributors’ styles vary considerably. Some answer in theory only, without relating to examples. This could run the risk of vague statements, sounding more like an instruction manual, the ‘how-to’ of curating. However, for example, Robert Storr's thoroughness hits the nail on the head with each of his poignant statements, referring to issues that those working in the industry are all too familiar with. He highlights the curator's pivotal role in balancing the pressures from artists, institutions, gallerists, and so on, as well as practical limitations of budget, space and those things outside of our control, whilst staying true to the original curatorial concept of the exhibition.

Others use media-specific examples to illustrate their answers. Mark Nash's exploration of the difficulties of curating film and video (as opposed to programming), is in balanced contrast to Glenn Adamson’s discussion on craft, and Ingrid Schaffner composes an inspiringly in-depth investigation into the experiential impact of wall text and labeling.

Architectural space is an underlying issue throughout the anthology of essays. This is extended to place and locality as Iwona Blazwick reflects on a century of exhibitions at Whitechapel Gallery in London.

Balancing the influences of conflicting interests is another issue that surfaces throughout. Ralph Rugoff’s debate on group shows is particularly thought-provoking; posing the question of whether a group show of bad art can only be a bad show and whether it is possible to make a great show with only great art works. Carlos Basualdo’s criticism of the lack of critical context to influential biennials and megashows holds an interesting dialogue with Thelma Golden’s essay on the politics of ethnically specific exhibitions.

For me, the key highlights were the moments when the authors directly encapsulate their answer to the question - for example, Mark Nash's poetic summary that 'the notion of a series of emotional and intellectual encounters that are montaged to form an organised, thematic sequence is at the heart of every great exhibition and every great experience of an exhibition'.

The breadth of the publication title allows for practical as well as emotive and personal responses. The contributors’ texts are interesting insights into how they individually view their role in the creation of an exhibition, and act as introductions to much larger discussions. The further debate that it promises to lead to is enticing; no doubt Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative will continue to thrash out these questions that underpin exhibition-making in future publications and events. I look forward to following their developments.

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Opportunity: 5th CEI Venice Forum for Contemporary Art Curators

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, May 22. 2011 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
Continental Breakfast. Place of Encounter 2011.
5th CEI Venice Forum for Contemporary Art Curators

from June 1st 2011 to June 4th 2011

Venice, Palazzo Zorzi (Castello 4930), June 1st, 2011
Trieste, Studio Tommaseo (via del Monte 2/1), June 3rd-4th, 2011

a CEI Feature Event
a Continental Breakfast project
an event under the patronage of Mrs Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the European Commission

The Forum is conceived and organised by the Trieste Contemporanea Committee, in collaboration with the UNESCO Office in Venice, under the patronage of the Central European Initiative (CEI), the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Regione del Veneto, the Provincia di Venezia, the Provincia di Trieste, the Comune di Venezia Assessorato alle Attività Culturali, the Comune di Trieste and the University of Trieste. It is supported by the CEI, the Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia, the Provincia di Trieste and the BEBA Foundation of Venice.

For more information and to register:
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Job - Curatorial Fellowship (2 positions), LACMA, deadline June 1

Posted by April Steele • Tuesday, May 17. 2011 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is offering (2) Ralph M. Parsons Curatorial Fellowships in the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department. The Parsons Fellows will provide general assistance to the Curator and the Department Head, as well as the Associate Curator, while also conducting scholarly research in connection with the permanent collection and related projects in the Photography Department, which includes over 13,000 works. The Parsons Fellowships support professional development, with opportunities to gain significant curatorial experience specific to photography, and to acquire a broad understanding of museum practices through cross-departmental activity. Within the context of departmental priorities, the Fellows will conduct scholarly research on areas of the permanent collection in his/her area of specialization and will equally be encouraged to develop familiarity with works outside of his/her field of expertise. Areas of potential focus include, but are not limited to: California photography, Japanese photography, and Contemporary photography. In addition to permanent collection activities, each Fellow will also be engaged in a variety of duties relating to the internal organization of special exhibitions. Both Fellows will be fully integrated into the curatorial department, and will participate in projects pertaining to collection care and conservation, cataloguing, on-line access, acquisitions, programming, outreach and publications.

The qualified candidate will have a Master's degree in art history, though a Ph.D. is preferred. Prior museum experience, ideally involving photography, is preferred. Excellent writing and public speaking skills, together with a strong interest in the acquisition, interpretation, care and display of works of art are essential, as is the ability to work collaboratively. The goal of the Fellowships is to provide opportunities for talented scholars committed to the museum profession.

The period of each Fellowship is one year, both are salaried with benefits; one position will be 5 days per week and is open for immediate hiring, the other 4 days per week and commences July 1. Applicants should submit a cover letter that addresses interest in either Fellowship, a curriculum vitae, references, and a statement (3 page maximum) of the applicant's past and future research interests. Submissions will be accepted through June 1, 2011.

To apply, please visit
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Job - Curatorial Assistant (2 positions), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Posted by April Steele • Tuesday, May 17. 2011 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
The Museum of Contemporary Art seeks two Curatorial Assistants to provide research support and assist with all aspects of exhibition programming and collection development. Responsibilities include conducting research on the collection and on forthcoming exhibitions; compiling informational packets for traveling exhibitions; preparing, coordinating and monitoring checklists and loan forms; and providing general assistance with management of artists' files. The Curatorial Assistants will help organize meetings of the Exhibition and/or Collection committees and will take and transcribe meeting minutes. They will also assist with management and occasional curation of smaller MCA exhibitions and will take on other duties in support of the curatorial department, including drafting of wall texts and compiling bibliographic and photographic materials for catalogue preparation.

MA or MFA in Art History, Art, Curatorial Studies or Museum Studies required. Two years museum experience and/or research position at college level required. Excellent research, writing and organizational skills are required. Report to James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator, but will primarily support two curators.

Send a cover letter and resume to Human Resources, Application for Curatorial Assistants position by email to jobs (at) Applications are also accepted by fax at 312.397.4095 or by mail at Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. Please use only one format when sending your application. The Museum of Contemporary Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer and seeks diversity in its workplace. No calls please.
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Job - Assistant Curator, Savannah College of Art and Design

Posted by April Steele • Tuesday, May 17. 2011 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
SCAD seeks a qualified assistant curator with a strong knowledge of modern and contemporary art. The assistant curator researches artists for exhibition consideration and develops comprehensive proposals for exhibitions featuring visiting artists and SCAD artists that further the mission, vision and values of the university. The assistant curator will work with M.F.A. candidates to guide them in scheduling, planning and installing M.F.A. exhibitions in accordance with SCAD guidelines; develop exhibition checklists for approved exhibitions; communicate effectively and professionally with prospective artists about exhibition spaces, logistics and deadlines prior to the exhibition; oversee layout and installation of exhibitions; prepare itineraries and host visiting artists; and conduct studio visits with artists as needed. The assistant curator writes show summaries, catalogs and marketing texts; travels, as needed, to conduct research and/or promote SCAD and its exhibition program; and gathers images and other artist press materials for publications, docent preparation and press needs. The successful candidate will develop relationships with SCAD faculty in various departments, fostering dialogue to create shared goals for programming; develop and execute community-based and educational programs to complement major exhibitions; present curatorial talks and tours of exhibitions to the SCAD community, patrons and public; conduct class visits as requested; and network with local arts organizations and media as required.
Job Requirements

This position requires at least three years related experience in a museum or gallery setting (exclusive of internships) and a Master of Arts or Master of Fine Arts degree from an accredited institution in art history, allied art, general art or education.

Position open until filled.

To apply, please visit
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Job - Curatorial Assistant, Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, deadline May 20

Posted by April Steele • Friday, May 6. 2011 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
Curatorial Assistant
3 year full time contract position

The MCA is entering an exciting period in its history. In March 2012 the MCA will reopen following a complete refurbishment of its existing building and a major new extension, which will increase the size of the museum by almost 50%. The new wing will house a new gallery, lecture theatre, library, sculpture terrace, new café, the National Centre for Creative Learning and improved visitor access and services. The new MCA will be a dynamic cultural and educational institution of national importance.

This highly sought-after position works closely with curators, artists and with all departments across the Museum to ensure the MCA’s objectives of promoting wider public engagement with contemporary art are realised.

Reporting to the Senior Curator, the Curatorial Assistant supports the MCA Curators across the development and presentation of MCA exhibitions and external projects. Responsibilities include maintaining the Museum’s publications inventory, sourcing/captioning images for reproduction; assisting with catalogue production including assembling of artists’ biographies and proof reading; and general administrative tasks. This position also looks after specific needs of the artists, from the coordination of artists’ travel to schedules and accommodation needs.

The successful applicant will have tertiary qualifications in Fine Art and/or Museum Studies with previous experience in all stages of art exhibitions, preferably contemporary visual art and culture. The person we are seeking is highly organised and able to meet various deadlines and juggle a range of priorities simultaneously. Key to the success of this role are strong communication skills, advanced administration skills and previous experience regarding print production procedures and catalogue production. Strong editing, proof reading and research skills with the ability to write interpretive material for contemporary art is essential.

For a full position description please click here:

Short listing for interviews will be based on applicants meeting the essential criteria listed in the position description. Enquiries can be directed to MCA Senior Curator Rachel Kent on 02 9245 2410.

Please send your application, including names and telephone numbers of two referees to the Human Resources Manager, Museum of Contemporary Art, PO Box R1286, Royal Exchange, NSW, 1223 or email positionsvacant (at)

Applications close Friday 20 May 2011.
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Opportunity - Internship, Barbican Centre, deadline May 18

Posted by April Steele • Friday, May 6. 2011 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities
The Barbican is looking to recruit two interns for a three-month internship, commencing in June – September. This three-month internship offers the opportunity to gain experience of working with the curatorial team on current and future projects. We are particularly looking for German speakers on one of the projects.

To provide curatorial experience for recent graduates by assisting the curators with research on forthcoming exhibitions and publications. Interns will also gain experience by carrying out administrative tasks for same.

Examples of the daily activities that interns will be able to undertake are:
· Conducting research on artists, artworks and other related topics
· Preparing artists biographies, exhibit lists, exhibition labels and condition report forms
· Processing invoices, data entry, photocopying, filing and correspondence
· Planning late night gallery events as necessary
· Assisting with exhibition installation
· Working at Private Views

Recent graduates or post-graduates in one of the following: art history, architecture, design, curatorial studies or studio art would gain the most from these opportunities. Interns from other routes will also be considered. Candidates must have strong organisational, administrative, computer and verbal and written communication skills and be detail oriented.

To get the best experience from a placement, we recommend that interns are in the department a min of 3 days a week during the core hours of 10:00 to 18:00 for a period of three months, but we offer as much flexibility as we can. Basic travel and lunch expenses will be reimbursed.

Closing date for applications: 5pm, on Wednesday 18th May 2011

If you would like to apply for the post, please send a CV and covering letter and outline clearly which time period you are interested in to: careers (at)

Gemma Baggott
Human Resources
Barbican Centre
Silk Street
0207 638 4141 ext. 2350

No late entries shall be accepted. Please note that only successful applicants will be contacted
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