Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art

Philbrook Museum of Art

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Philbrook Museum of Art seeks applications for the Nancy E. Meinig Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art. All levels of curatorial experience are encouraged to apply, as this position may be filled as an Assistant, Associate, or full Curator. With two curators and an education staff member primarily devoted to collaborations with contemporary art and artists, twenty-first-century art is a cornerstone of the Museum’s program, which includes acquisitions, commissions, and exhibitions as well as innovative forms of engagement with artists, the institution, and the community. The Meinig Curator plays a leading role in this vital program.

The Meinig Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art is responsible for the ongoing development, study, interpretation, and presentation of Philbrook’s collection of modern and contemporary art. Other responsibilities include organizing exhibitions and programs relevant to diverse local audiences and in alignment with the Museum’s mission and strategic goals; researching, publishing, and lecturing on the collection, exhibitions, and related topics; actively engaging and building networks of local, national, and international artists, gallerists, curators, critics, and collectors; in collaboration with Development, cultivating donors and soliciting gifts of art to the collection; building meaningful relationships within the community, engaging Museum audiences strategically, and supporting artistic practices at a range of levels.


Outreach & Visibility: Nurture mutually beneficial relationships with artists, gallerists, donors, collectors, critics, and other museum colleagues locally and nationally. Stay current with the field of contemporary art, including new and emerging artists as well as broader trends and developments. Serve as staff lead for Contemporary Consortium; the Museum’s collecting group.

Research & Exhibition Development: Conceptualize and organize exciting, dynamic temporary exhibitions and collection installations that appeal to local audiences. Tour exhibitions when appropriate. Identify traveling exhibitions that will serve strategic institutional goals. Serve as curator for special projects when assigned.

Programming: Create innovative programs geared towards a broad general audience. Present information to docents, collectors, interest groups, or other organizations in the form of lectures and public programs on the collection, exhibitions, and related topics. Embrace the evolving relationship between museums and their audiences and use evaluative methods to better understand and serve those audiences. Participate in evaluation of programs on an ongoing basis and respond appropriately to feedback to ensure a successful process of continual improvement.

Collection Development & Stewardship: Actively and strategically grow the collection through both gifts and purchases and recommend deaccessions when appropriate. Contribute to the ongoing creation of the comprehensive catalogue of Philbrook’s collections, including verifying, correcting, and augmenting existing collection records.

Administrative: Collaborate across the institution to support efforts in fundraising, education, collection care, programming, public relations, and communications. Develop and administer annual operating budget, as well as project-specific budgets, for exhibitions and other special programs for modern and contemporary art collection activities. Recruit, select, train, schedule work activities, and supervise interns and volunteers working with modern/contemporary art collection.

Maintain prompt and reliable attendance in order to successfully perform the duties of the job.


The ideal candidate is committed to audience-centered curatorial practice and appreciates working within an organizational structure that values cross-departmental collaboration and teamwork.


Excellent oral and written communication skills with strong public speaking skills. Able and willing to engage a broad range of constituents including academic and public audiences, visitors, artists, collectors, dealers, and potential donors

Creative, open-minded, and committed to innovative museum practice

Flexible and goal-oriented, with the ability to handle constantly changing priorities

Welcomes ideas from unconventional sources

Demonstrates keen cultural sensitivity

Diplomatic, kind, and gracious, with a sense of humor and innate curiosity

Thorough knowledge of museum practices, including collections care, exhibition development processes, and interpretation

Comfortable with personal computers, including word processing, digital imaging, and database applications

Equivalent Education/Experience

Bachelor’s degree in art history or related field; Master’s or PhD preferred

At least three years of curatorial experience, including a record of scholarly / programmatic accomplishment

This position may be filled at the Assistant, Associate, or Full Curator level, depending on education and experience.

Physical Demands

A primarily sedentary position that may require standing between 20%-60% of the day with virtually no lifting or carrying requirements. The work requires ordinary communication and hearing abilities and most of the work requires normal vision to include, color, depth perception and field of vision; and the ability to use routine office equipment and to work with a computer up to 8 hours per day.

Working Conditions

Almost all work is performed inside within a climate controlled private office or shared work area which may require unique lighting and only an occasional exposure to moving objects, odors, or gases requiring special ventilation.

Mental and Emotional

In this position the employee must be able to work with a minimum amount of direct supervision both alone and as part of a team, with the ability to plan their own work activities. The work requires the employee to understand and follow written and oral instructions, prepare detailed records and reports, and inspect or examine items for defects that are not easily identified. The work requires working under pressure or deadlines to perform multiple tasks concurrently with frequently changing priorities and with requirements for extreme accuracy, and to work rapidly for long periods of time.

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter and resume to

Posted on June 19