For the first time in nearly 50 years, Madison’s contemporary art museum is searching for a curator — outside its staff — to run one of its premier exhibits.
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) is calling for a guest curator to run the Wisconsin Triennial, one of the museum’s most-attended exhibits that features artists from around the state of Wisconsin.
Mel Becker Solomon, curator of the collection at MMoCA is responsible for the 6,000 objects that are in the museum’s collection. She told Madison365 that staff are calling for a guest curator to add a much-needed perspective to the exhibit and correct the traditional view of art museums.
“Traditionally art museums are overrepresented by white voices,” Becker Solomon said. “They are very Eurocentric and have this Western notion of what our history is. As we move forward and look to the future — our country is a much different one than when art museums were traditionally founded. We are working on correcting this concept of what an art museum is and having it really reflect our nation, having it reflect Madison, having it reflect Wisconsin. (We hope to do this) through programming and exhibitions by showing works of art from people that we may not know of, highlighting new voices, and voices from people of color to share stories of underrepresented groups and BBIPOC (Black, Brown and Indigenous People of Color) artists.”
The Wisconsin Triennial exhibition takes the pulse of the current artistic moment in the region, both highlighting the latest developments in artistic practice and honoring timeless themes, a MMoCA news release states.
The curator, which can be an individual, duo or group will navigate the state’s network of artists and galleries. One of their goals should be to make the exhibit more accessible and inclusive, Becker Solomon said.
Ultimately, the curator will help put on the exhibit which runs from April to October 2022.
The Wisconsin Triennial exhibit started in 1978 and runs every three years traditionally covering around 30 artists. In 2019, it had more than 11,000 people visit the exhibit. On opening night alone, as many as 730 people have attended.
Becker Solmon said curators act as storytellers through a visual form of communication. But they also act as gatekeepers for selecting the stories and the artists.
“The curators are the ones saying ‘I know this story. I know this person. And their story needs to be told because it is important to the community.’ This is an opportunity to open up and share stories that really reflect our communities in Wisconsin,” she said.
Solomon Becker said that the application is open to anyone who has some knowledge of the art world and a vision. She said the team at MMoCA encourages people to apply even if they are hesitant and staff plan to work with and guide the guest curator.
The application is due May 10, and includes a resume, maximum 500-word exhibition proposal and cover letter. The curator will receive a $7,500 stipend. More information, and the application can be found at mmoca.org.