The Department of Contemporary Art was formally established in 1971 and today the collection contains more than 1500 works from across the globe. All media are represented: painting, sculpture, photography, works on paper, installation, decorative arts, craft, design and film and video. The MFA is also one of the first encyclopedic museums in the United States to fully integrate performance art into its collections, exhibitions and programs. Our performance art program encompasses a wide array of live interactive experiences throughout the Museum and its grounds.
Thousands more works dating since 1955 are held in the Museum’s other departments including Prints and Drawings, Photographs, Art of the Americas, Art of Asia, Art of Africa and Oceania, and Textiles and Fashion Arts.
Largely installed in the galleries of the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, the changing displays highlight a diversity of internationally recognized artists in the collection including: El Anatsui, Lynda Benglis, Kathy Butterly, John Cederquist, Tara Donovan, Mona Hatoum, Jenny Holzer, Alex Katz, Anish Kapoor, Ellsworth Kelly, Glenn Ligon, Josiah McElheny, Ken Price, Martin Puryear, Doris Salcedo, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Rachel Whiteread, and Fred Wilson among many others.
Reporting to the Chief of Curatorial Administration, the Chair will galvanize and inspire departmental curatorial staff to develop an engaging exhibition program, deepen relations with its donors and continue to build and preserve its collection. The new Chair must be deeply committed to exploring the changing nature of art museums and their relationship to the public. The Chair will embrace and champion the Museum’s core value, namely that the experience of our visitor is paramount to our mission, strategies and achievements.
The Chair will lead in developing the artistic vision and programming of the Contemporary department and the development of exhibition and collection projects that are based in the institution’s Strategic Plan, and which deliver on its commitment to audience engagement. The Chair works collaboratively with other curators and colleagues to achieve departmental initiatives and institutional strategic goals.
Minimum Qualifications and Experience:
• Advanced degree in Art History or extensive equivalent related knowledge in art exhibition and program planning and production.
• Significant experience in the contemporary art field including a portfolio of exhibitions and publications that have advanced scholarship and connected visitors to contemporary art in engaging ways.
• Extensive senior management level museum experience in exhibitions, installations, publications, collection building, and leading staff.
• Should have established contacts with national and international artists, dealers, curators and other museum professionals with the desire and ability to cultivate new relationships intended to enhance our contemporary art displays and programming.
• Broad curatorial experience gained in museums that have sought and achieved imaginative ways of engaging with their visitors and which have met targeted results.
Ideal Candidate Profile:
• An experienced leader of people, ideas and institutional mission, with the dynamic communication skills to engage staff, donors and the public.
• Demonstrable ability to manage, mentor and retain talent, and disciplined in managing curatorial staff to reach for excellence in ideas, project execution and goal achievement.
• An international perspective but experienced in becoming personally and professionally committed to an institution’s city, people and artistic community.
• Committed to collaboration with others to achieve the best outcome, and is an excellent and timely decision maker to move plans and objectives forward.
• Strong sense of accountability for achieving stated objectives and demonstrable experience doing so.
• Superior ability to present and defend ideas and projects that earn the respect of other senior leaders and builds credibility for the work of the department and institution.
• Evident experience/ability to partner with the Director/CEO in developing the artistic vision of the contemporary program, develop exhibition projects, position the institution externally and realize support and works of art from donors.
• Evident experience working successfully with senior leaders of an organization to achieve, both their own and their peers’ objectives, including visitor experience, marketing, education and digital initiatives.
• Committed to supporting and contributing to the success of an institution’s business and financial imperatives.
• Committed to the training and professional development of staff to ensure up-to-date practices.
Personal Qualities and Attributes:
• Intellectual rigor
• Inspirational, passionate, curious
• Resilient with a healthy approach to work/life balance
• Generosity of spirit, a team player
• Superior judgment, tact and diplomacy
Application materials are being accepted immediately. For consideration, please submit your letter of interest and CV to: email@example.com. You may also submit your materials via postal mail to: Human Resources Department, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.
The MFA is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer that is committed to building a culturally diverse staff and strongly encourages applications from diverse candidates.
March 20, 2017