MFA Boston Appoints Reto Thüring as Chair of Contemporary Art

BOSTON (May 1, 2018)—Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), announced today that Reto Thüring has been appointed Chair, Linde Family Wing of Contemporary Art and Arthur K. Solomon Curator of Modern Art. The Swiss-born Thüring, who will assume his new role on September 10, 2018, comes to the MFA from the Cleveland Museum of Art, where he currently leads the contemporary and modern art program. In Boston, Thüring will guide the department in developing an exhibition program of consequence while also continuing to build and preserve a global collection.

“Reto’s leadership comes at a moment when contemporary art has a special role to play in the life of the MFA. As we seek to further explore the links between the past and the present, and reflect the urgent issues of artists in our community and beyond, we welcome Reto’s commitment to how objects in dialogue with ideas can animate and create communities,” said Teitelbaum. “We anticipate with pleasure the work we will do together.”

As Chair of Modern, Contemporary, and Decorative Art, and Performing Arts and Curator of Contemporary Art, Thüring has been responsible for overseeing the Cleveland Museum of Art’s contemporary collection and programming of exhibitions both at the museum and at the Transformer Station, a contemporary art venue owned by the Bidwell Foundation in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. Thüring’s recent exhibitions at the CMA include solo shows on Albert Oehlen, Kara Walker, Dan Graham, Wadsworth and Jae Jarrell, Roman Signer, Julia Wachtel, Fred Wilson, Scott Olson, Jennifer Bartlett, Damián Ortega, Ragnar Kjartansson and the group show The Unicorn, among many other projects.

“I cannot think of a more compelling framework to consider the role of contemporary art than the MFA—one of the great encyclopedic museums with a fascinating and rich collection,” said Thüring. “This institution is poised to play an important role in addressing the cultural, political and social complexities of our time. I strongly believe contemporary art provides a necessary lens through which to look at these issues, across time and on a global scale.”

At the MFA, Thüring will lead the artistic vision and programming of a contemporary department that was established in 1971 and encompasses more than 1,500 works of painting, sculpture, photography, works on paper, installation, decorative arts, craft, design, performance art, and film and video. Thousands of additional works dating since 1955 are held in the Museum’s other curatorial departments, including Prints and Drawings, Photographs, Art of the Americas, Art of Asia, Art of Africa and Oceania, and Textiles and Fashion Arts. Thüring will oversee a team that includes the Beal Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Ronald C. and Anita L. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts, and the Lorraine and Alan Bressler Curator of Contemporary Art, among other positions. Under his direction and expertise, the department will collaborate on special exhibitions and gallery installations throughout the building.

A native of Basel, Thüring earned a Ph.D. from the University of Basel in 2011. His dissertation was focused on 16th-century Venetian portraiture, and his doctoral work was supported by grants from the Voluntary Academic Society of Basel, the Janggen-Pöhn-Foundation, the Center for Venetian Studies and the Swiss National Science Foundation. He completed a master’s degree in art history at the University of Basel. In 2016, Thüring was a fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership, a training and mentorship program that provides experienced curators with instruction from Columbia Business School faculty and leaders in the museum field to help them guide today’s museums and anticipate future challenges. Prior to joining the Cleveland Museum of Art, Thüring worked as an independent curator, art critic and editor. 

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its collection, representing all cultures and time periods. The Museum has more than 140 galleries displaying its encyclopedic collection, which includes Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia; Art of Africa and Oceania; Art of the Ancient World; Prints and Drawings; Photography; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 am–5 pm; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 am–10 pm. Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions. Admission is free for University Members and youths age 17 and younger. Wednesday nights after 4 pm admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25), while five Open Houses offer the opportunity to visit the Museum for free. The Museum’s mobile MFA Guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. For more information, call 617.267.9300, visit or follow the MFA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



Karen Frascona