Director of Curatorial Affairs
As a key member of the Legacy team in this newly-created role, the Director of Curatorial Affairs will be responsible for advancing the Foundation’s strategic priorities for its artwork collection (including exhibition and loan initiatives) and managing scholarly projects focused on Mitchell’s artwork, materials, and techniques.
Joan Mitchell Foundation
New York, NY
Hiring Salary Range
The Joan Mitchell Foundation’s Legacy department supports and cultivates the study of Joan Mitchell’s life and work. Our team manages the Foundation’s artwork and archival collections and activates these collections for scholarly and general audiences. We further knowledge and appreciation of Mitchell's work through research, publications, exhibitions, digital resources, and collaborative projects.
As a key member of the Legacy team in this newly-created role, the Director of Curatorial Affairs will be responsible for advancing the Foundation’s strategic priorities for its artwork collection (including exhibition and loan initiatives) and managing scholarly projects focused on Mitchell’s artwork, materials, and techniques. The ideal candidate for this position is eager to develop expertise on Mitchell; to cultivate relationships in the museum and scholarly communities; to plan, initiate, and manage focused research projects; and to incorporate the Foundation’s commitment to equity in every aspect of their work. They will supervise the Collection Manager and will be a member, with all cross-department Directors, of the Foundation’s Senior Team, responsible for ensuring values and mission alignment of the Foundation’s work.
Over the next five years, the Director of Curatorial Affairs will focus on these strategic priorities:
- Expand documentation and research on Mitchell’s works on paper: Assess and expand object files for works on paper in public and private collections, doing database cleanup as needed. Develop expertise in media and techniques. Cultivate scholarly interest, with the long-term objective of a dedicated exhibition and/or publication of these works.
- Define strategy for the Foundation’s print collection: Conduct research on Mitchell’s editioned works and develop comprehensive reference files for each edition. Add and update information about prints and artist’s books on Foundation website. Define exhibition strategies that are productive collaborations with other institutions, and consider eventual placement in museum collections.
- Define strategy for research on Mitchell’s materials and techniques: Manage materials analysis pilot project, in collaboration with conservators, scientists, and Legacy colleagues. Establish short- and long-term plans for conservation research, in dialogue with broader professional community. Organize convenings and publish research findings as appropriate.
- Long-term plan for Foundation’s art collection: Build on current internal planning to further develop strategic loans, sales, and placement of artwork. Collaborate on long-term object-by-object planning for paintings, works on paper, and prints, considering each work’s condition, exhibition potential, and scholarly use.
Key Responsibilities Will Include
Planning and implementation of key strategic priorities outlined above:
- For each strategic priority: create timeline and budget for each stage of planning and project management and implementation, initiate regular meetings with all stakeholders, share progress updates, and maintain open and clear communication
Exhibition support and museum relationships
- Cultivate and track Foundation’s relationships with museums and curators
- Oversee review process for loan requests and present recommendations to Board
- Assist with planning, research, and coordination of exhibitions of Mitchell's work, as appropriate
- Participate in scholarly symposia and public programing related to Mitchell’s work
Scholarly support and in-house research
- In collaboration with Director of Archives and Research, engage with curators and scholars researching Mitchell’s life and work
- Conduct research on various aspects of Mitchell’s works on paper and prints; hire, train, and manage research fellow(s) as needed
- Respond to internal and external research requests; provide fact-checking as needed
- Update database records as needed, ensuring consistent cataloguing and adherence to controlled vocabularies, established data standards, and formatting
Gallery and commercial market support
- Assist with planning, research, and organization of commercial exhibitions, in collaboration with Legacy colleagues and the Foundation’s sales representative, David Zwirner Gallery
- Collaborate on content development and editorial review of scholarly catalogues published in collaboration with David Zwirner Books
- With the Joan Mitchell Catalogue Raisonné team, provide object-specific research support as appropriate
Website and communications
- Collaborate with Communications Director and Director of Archives and Research to plan and develop Mitchell-focused content for the Foundation’s website and social media channels
- Share regular updates with Communications Director about exhibitions and other curatorial projects in development, including both solo and group exhibitions, for sharing with the Foundation community when appropriate
- Work with the Executive Director, Collection Manager and Legacy Committee on comprehensive short-term and long-term planning for the Foundation’s Artwork collection. Monitor Strategic Plan goals and progress
- Work with Director of Archives and Research, Catalogue Raisonné Project Director, and Executive Director on the Foundation’s broader support of Mitchell's Legacy
- Participate in conversations on the commercial market for Mitchell’s work with Executive Director and Deputy Director of Finance & Administration for financial modeling purposes; collaborate with input from the Legacy team on sales-related strategic planning and planning for loan collection of artworks
- Contribute to the Foundation's artist support programming on an as-needed basis as it relates to artist relationships with and the practices of collections, museums, and galleries; in particular, the Foundation’s CALL Program, which works directly with living artists around planning and stewarding their legacies
- Oversee annual budgeting process and work with Deputy Director of Finance & Administration to ensure adherence to budget and receipt/invoice management over the course of the year
- Supervise Collection Manager and ensure they have support and resources needed to be successful; conduct annual reviews; hire, train, and supervise research fellows or interns as needed
- With Collection Manager, review and evaluate all contracts, exhibition loan and consignment agreements, and bi-annual collection appraisals
- Participate in bi-weekly Senior Team meetings
- Participate in bi-weekly team meetings on Mitchell’s Legacy with the Executive Director, Director of Archives and Research, and Catalogue Raisonné Project Director
- Serve as the strategic planning partner for Board’s Legacy Committee on collection-focused topics, including Collection Manager in key conversations as useful
Qualifications, Knowledge, Skill Required
- Minimum five years’ curatorial experience in an art museum, nonprofit gallery, or artist-endowed foundation
- Master's degree or Ph.D. in art history, with an emphasis on modern art
- Demonstrated experience in object-based research and physical examination/study of artworks, ideally with an interest in works on paper
- Demonstrated familiarity with collection planning, museum loan programs, and institutional gifts
- Strong project management skills, with ability to simultaneously focus on “big picture” goals and day-to-day research and administrative tasks
- Prior staff management experience and willingness to work in a team approach
- Cordial working relationships within the art museum community, and willingness to deepen those relationships with the Foundation’s values in mind
- A willingness and interest in developing encyclopedic knowledge of Mitchell’s work
- Strong visual sensibility and recall; close attention to detail
- Working knowledge of professional standards and best practices for artwork exhibition, storage, and cataloguing
- High level of personal and professional integrity; trustworthiness with a strong work ethic
- Demonstrated written and verbal communication skills
- Commitment to the Joan Mitchell Foundation's mission, vision, purpose, and core values, in particular a demonstrated commitment to ensuring equity in the art world
- Strong people skills with a passion for networking
- Ability to work both independently and as part of a collaborative team and organization
- French language (reading, writing, and speaking) highly desirable
- Familiarity and ease with Mac-based computer systems and FileMaker Pro databases
COVID-19 protocol and policies will be shared with final candidates. If hired, prospective individual must be able to furnish proof of vaccination status or reasonable accommodation request prior to the first day of work as per current NYC vaccine protocol.
The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the individual(s) assigned to this position. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, and skills required. Management reserves the right to modify, add, or remove duties and to assign other duties as necessary. In addition, reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of this position.
How to Apply
To apply, please submit your resume, cover letter, and salary requirements to [email protected] with the Subject Line: JMF - [Position Title].
About Joan Mitchell Foundation
The Joan Mitchell Foundation cultivates the study and appreciation of artist Joan Mitchell’s life and work, while fulfilling her wish to provide resources and opportunities for visual artists. Through its work, the Foundation affirms and amplifies artists’ essential contributions to society.