The Chinati Foundation: Senior Curator
Job Description: Senior Curator
Reports to: Director
Effective: January 2020
The Chinati Foundation/La Fundación Chinati is a contemporary art museum in Marfa, Texas, based upon the ideas of its founder Donald Judd. The specific intention of Chinati is to preserve and present to the public permanent large-scale installations by a select group of artists. Comprised of 34 buildings on 340 acres, Chinati’s collection emphasizes works in which art, architecture, and the surrounding land are inextricably linked. Public tours and viewing of the collection, the conservation of the artworks, education programs, artists’ residencies, special exhibitions, lectures, performances, and publications are all vital facets of Chinati’s mission as established by Judd. Chinati’s senior curator is a central figure who provides artistic direction for the museum. The senior curator will lead and advance Chinati’s mission to bring to light the intrinsic power of art and promote critical looking and thinking. The senior curator will have significant responsibility for ensuring stewardship of the permanent collection and development of curatorial programs with a vision towards how the collection and programs are used to fulfill the museum’s unique mission.
Key responsibilities include oversight of the permanent collection; development and execution of temporary exhibitions and special programs; scholarship on the artists in the collection and of Chinati’s unique history; development of the artist in residence program; development of publications; and involvement with the visitor services department. The senior curator will be an expert in all areas of Chinati’s collection, which includes some of the late 20th/ early 21st centuries’ most extraordinary works of art, and will work closely with the Director and all staff members to advance Chinati’s mission, maintain its high standards, and to meet the goals of its strategic and master plans.
Principal Duties and Responsibilities:
Permanent collection and exhibitions
• Serves as an authority on works in the permanent collection and artists in the permanent collection
• Works closely with the Director and Mission Advisory Committee to develop the permanent collection
• Works closely with the Director of Conservation and the Director of Facilities to ensure best practices in viewing, care and treatment of the collection
• Develops and implements annual special exhibitions and a variety of annual programs (smaller exhibitions, performances, installations, lectures, etc)
• Maintains and develops the artist in residence program
• Develops scholarship related to art and contemporary art within and beyond the museum’s collection and exhibition history
• Works closely with the Archivist and develops scholarly symposia and publications grounded in Chinati’s collection and history
• Works with the Director of Finance to maintain project budgets and expenditures
• Fosters and actively participates in the collegial dialogue, sharing of professional opinions, and advancement of ideas
• Maintains an active role in the community including the maintenance of relationships with artists, trustees, donors, members of the broader art world and members of the general public
Visitor Services, Public Information, and External Relations
• Works closely with visitor services on docent and exhibition assistant training, and educational development for all visitor services staff (managers, docents, exhibition assistants, volunteers, etc)
• Works closely with the Director of Education in developing collection and exhibition related programming, materials, and didactics
• Works across all departments and contributes to the development of communication strategies and materials to ensure style and accuracy, to serve audiences, and to appropriately communicate Chinati’s history, identity, and vibrancy
• Represents Chinati to the Marfa community and to the public at large
• Participates in all Chinati events and travels for pertinent events, exhibitions, and research
• Works closely with the Director, Director of Development and development department on grant preparations, grant reporting and donor cultivation as appropriate
• Identifies potential funding opportunities for the Director of Development to pursue, including exhibition funding, program support, and collection support
• In conjunction with the development department, participates in the planning and execution of programs for support groups such as the Chinati Contemporary Council
• Participates in other museum membership programs
• Joins the Director and the Director of Development for meetings with trustees and funders when requested
• Advanced degree in art history or curatorial studies with wide knowledge of and enthusiasm for contemporary art and living artists
• 7-10+ years of curatorial experience with a record of increasing responsibility and accomplishments
• A record of significant exhibitions and publications
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills
• Exceptional interpersonal skills, demonstrated by an interest in and enthusiasm for working with a wide range of colleagues, artists, community members, donors and visitors
• Excellent organizational skills and ability to work independently, meet deadlines and stay within budgets, manage multiple projects simultaneously, and identify priorities
• Respect for the history and unique nature of Chinati with an eye towards a vibrant and relevant future
• The position is based in Marfa, Texas
This is a full-time, salaried, exempt position. The normal work schedule is approximately 40 hours Monday through Friday with flexibility to work some evenings, weekends or holidays as needed.
Chinati provides a competitive salary and employer-provided health insurance, employer sponsored 403(b) plan, flexible work environment, and generous time off.
Qualified applicants may apply for this position by e-mailing a cover letter, resume and three professional references to Director of Administration, Jennifer Lees at email@example.com with “Senior Curator” as the e-mail subject heading.
For more information visit www.chinati.org. The Chinati Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.