The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (MBMA) seeks an innovative Assistant/Associate/FullCurator for the newly endowed position of the Tina & John McWhorter Curator of American Art. Reporting to the Chief Curator, the Curator will oversee the museum’s growing collection of art from the Americas across media, generate groundbreaking presentations of American art in the form of temporary exhibitions and permanent collection displays, and help establish the curatorial approach to the museum’s major capital project to build a new museum building inDowntown Memphis. Essential to this position is an interest and willingness to reframe the meaning of American Art and explore its ever-expanding narratives.
The Tina & John McWhorter Curator of American Art joins the museum’s curatorial staff at a pivotal moment for the museum. The museum is currently building a new facility on the banks of the Mississippi River, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning firm Herzog & de Meuron. The new museum building will be at the center of a newly revitalized Downtown Memphis, and part of an animated and accessible Memphis riverfront, with plans to connect six miles of the area with parks, walking paths, and civic and recreational structures, as conceived by the Chicago-based firm Studio Gang. The Curator will spearhead the curatorial vision for the museum’s American art holdings in the new Downtown location and will work collaboratively with the museum’sCuratorial Team on the curatorial concept for the new building as a whole. As part of the endowment for the position of Tina & John McWhorter Curator of American Art, the Curator may apply for funds for travel, research, and special projects.
The Curator will bring creativity and vision to present operations at the museum’s Overton Park location and to the development of the new building. Key to this position is working with the museum’s growing Curatorial Team to develop a dynamic program of exhibitions and publications that deepens and creates community embeddedness and raises the profile of the museum on a local, national, and international level. In close collaboration with the CuratorialTeam, the Curator will make recommendations for accessions and deaccessions, recommendations for conservation, and help develop a plan for collection development. TheCurator will contribute expertise to the MBMA’s collection and program, working closely with the Exhibitions, Education, and Marketing Departments. Working collaboratively with theDevelopment and Marketing Departments, the Curator will cultivate and strengthen relationships with donor groups, individuals, and community partners. The successful candidate will be an exemplary collaborator, possess deep knowledge in one or more areas related to the collection, and have a proven record of work underpinned by a sincere interest in creating amore equitable museum.
Founded in 1916 and located in historic Overton Park, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is the oldest and largest art museum in Tennessee and a cultural anchor for the tri-State area that includes Arkansas and Mississippi. The museum holds over 10,000 works spanning 5,000 years of global human history with strengths in European, American, African diaspora, and global contemporary art, and with a particular strength in photography. The MBMA enriches the lives of our diverse community through the museum's expanding collection, dynamic exhibitions, and enriching programs that reflect the art of world cultures from antiquity to the present.
- Work with the Chief Curator and Curatorial Team to shape curatorial direction and museum policy
- Responsibility for the care, display, and interpretation of the museum’s permanent collection of Art of the Americas
- Generate and facilitate exhibitions, permanent collection displays, and commissions of American Art
- Contribute to the curatorial vision and planning for the museum’s new facilityDowntown
- Participate in activities pertaining to Curatorial committees, advisory groups, and donor groups
- Lead and participate in public programs and other events as needed
- Mentor the Blackmon Perry Curatorial Fellow in African American Art and Art of the African Diaspora and other junior staff that join the department
- Train and mentor interns, volunteers, and docents
- Build and maintain relationships with artists, curators, community stakeholders, academic institutions, directors, dealers, collectors, donors, critics, and art writers
- Ensure that diversity, equity, access, and inclusion are primary considerations across all work
- MA in Art History or related field, Ph.D. preferred
- Minimum 3 years art museum experience or other arts non-profit in relevant capacity
- Demonstrable knowledge of and involvement in the field of Art of the Americas, with an established network of contacts in the field
- Experience in generating and staging art exhibitions and organizing museum programming
- Record of publications in the field
- Demonstrable interest in developing authentic community relationships
- Record of work showing interest in creating a more equitable museum and/or a demonstrable interest in social justice and/or demonstrable knowledge of critical theories including but not limited to race, class, ability, gender, and sexuality
- Excellent planning, scheduling, and administrative skills, with the ability to prioritize and meet multiple deadlines
- Excellent written and spoken communication, with the ability to adapt to multiple types of audience
- The ability to engage adeptly with a variety of stakeholders including but not limited to staff, visitors, trustees, artists, community partners, donors, funders, and academic institutions
- The ability to work collaboratively across departments
- Experience supervising or managing staff is a plus, but willingness to learn best practices in collaboration, mentorship, and staff development is essential
- Ability and willingness to attend out-of-hours functions as necessary
Qualified candidates are invited to apply by emailing a letter and a cv toRosamund.Garrett@brooksmuseum.org with “Curator of American Art” as the subject line.Candidates from historically underrepresented groups in the curatorial field are especially encouraged to apply.
Salary: $60,000-85,000 for 40 hours/week + benefits
Benefits: (i) A cafeteria plan that includes optional health, dental, vision, additional life insurance and supplemental policies, and a flexible spending account. The museum contributes toward the employee portion of premiums related to your choice of benefit options. (ii) A403(b) retirement plan. The museum matches up to 4% of your salary annually. (iii)Employment category, combined with years of service to the museum, determines the amount of time off (OPTO) that each employee receives in addition to regular paid holidays.
The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or marital or veteran status. We actively encourage minority candidates to apply for open positions.