The Hugh Kaul Curator of Contemporary Art

Reports to: Director of Collections & Exhibitions
Status: Full time

Background

The Birmingham Museum of Art seeks a dynamic and engaging Curator of global contemporary art to work with and expand a collection of more than 3,000 works of art dating from about 1970 to the present. The ideal candidate will be excited to work with a rich and growing global collection, invest in connections between the contemporary art world and the BMA, and continue to grow our relationships with artists and arts institutions, not only locally and regionally, but also nationally and internationally. We are seeking a colleague who places great value on collegiality and collaboration, and demonstrates a strong desire to create a more inclusive and diverse collection, collection presentation, and exhibition program.

The Hugh Kaul Curator of Contemporary Art is responsible for a broad collection of paintings, works on paper, photography, sculpture, and digital art. The BMA’s collection includes strengths in abstraction (including highlights by Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, and Odili Donald Odita) and the art of Birmingham and Alabama (Roger Brown, Kerry James Marshall, and Joe Minter). Recent acquisitions include work by Afruz Amighi, Diedrick Brackens, Dawoud Bey, Joe Minter, Josh Franco, Tayeba Begum Lipi, Samuel Levi Jones, Rico Gatson, Thornton Dial, Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Eugene Tapahe, Merritt Johnson, Jean Shin, Sheila Pree Bright, Kumi Yamashita, and Dawn Williams Boyd. The Museum has an enthusiastic commitment to new art and emerging artists working in a variety of media. Working within the recently adopted collection development plan, the Museum seeks to expand its collection in contemporary African, Asian, Latin American, and Indigenous art. Additional areas of expertise that are of particular interest include (but are not limited to) contemporary craft and the work of contemporary folk and self-taught artists.

Specific duties include:

  • Working in partnership with other museum departments to conceive and implement new installations and gallery interpretation.
  • Prioritizing diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in all aspects of curatorial work.
  • Administering and managing all aspects of work within the contemporary art department, including spearheading cross-departmental teams and projects.
  • Building relationships with the contemporary art community through studio visits, collection-related artist interviews, and spearheading artists’ projects at the Museum.
  • Getting to know and centering the work of artists from Birmingham and Alabama, as well as artists with deep connections to the region, and connecting these artists and works to the broader museum collection.
  • Researching and disseminating findings through publications, lectures, gallery talks, labels, web-based media, and other forms of communication.
  • Organizing and orchestrating in-house and traveling exhibitions and bringing in significant exhibitions from elsewhere; working with the Advancement department to secure funding; with the Design department on gallery configuration; and with the Learning and Engagement department to craft public programs and engaging interpretive materials.
  • Developing and implementing long-term goals and objectives for the collection through acquisitions that include gifts, bequests, purchases, and deaccessioning projects.
  • Working with fellow staff to ensure the highest quality of care and maintenance of the permanent collection.
  • Participating actively in the intellectual life of the Museum by engaging in collection- and exhibition-related programming; carrying out creative research and publishing on the collection; growing access to the collection; supporting all fundraising activities to build the collection and exhibition programming; supporting all public relations efforts; working with partner organizations and the community in furtherance of our strategic goals.
  • Working closely with collectors and prospective donors both locally and farther afield.
  • Developing and providing direction for a robust, existing collection support group, the Collectors Circle for Contemporary Art. This group is committed to the continued growth and development of the BMA’s permanent collection and to educating its members about contemporary art.
  • Participating in professional organizations and other opportunities that arise for professional development.
  • Supervising and mentoring fellows, interns, and paid staff as needed.

Qualifications

  • M.A. required (PhD preferred but not required) in art history, cultural studies or related field with general knowledge of contemporary art.
  • Suggested five years of museum experience and/or extensive knowledge of museum practices preferred.
  • Strong record of scholarship and public speaking, with experience organizing exhibitions and producing publications.
  • Skill at strategically building a collection through gifts and purchases.
  • Passion and creativity as a standout colleague with strong interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to build positive and effective relationships with Museum trustees, members, donors, co-workers, and the broader community.
  • Excellent presentation and writing skills, effective communication and time management skills; resourceful, with creative problem solving skills; a thoughtful decision maker; and the ability to work with deadlines.
  • Strong record of supporting a collaborative work environment with colleagues, especially with regard to exhibition development, gallery installations and programming.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and respect for cultural differences and knowledge of DEAI practices; invested in building a diverse working environment.

About the Museum

Founded in 1951, the Birmingham Museum of Art is deeply invested in education and engagement and serves as a resource for communities locally, nationally, and internationally. It houses one of the finest collections in the Southeast of the United States. More than 27,000 objects displayed and housed within the Museum represent a rich panorama of cultures, including those from Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Africa, including work by both Pre-Columbian and Native North American artists. Highlights include the Museum’s collection of the arts of Asia, Vietnamese ceramics, the Kress collection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts from the late 13th century to the 1750s, and the Museum’s world-renowned collection of Wedgwood, the largest outside of England.

Compensation

Salary commensurate with qualifications and experience and includes an excellent benefits package.

To apply

Please apply by January 27, 2022, with a letter of interest; curriculum vitae; names, addresses, and phone numbers of three references; and a writing sample

Human Resources
Birmingham Museum of Art
2000 Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd.
Birmingham, AL 35203
[email protected]

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