Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator
The Whitney Museum of American Art collects, preserves, interprets and exhibits art of the United States in the broadest global, historical and interdisciplinary contexts. We value diversity in every aspect of our mission, starting with the art collection we build and preserve and extending to the histories we write through exhibitions and programs, the audiences who engage with the museum, and the staff whose voices and experiences shape our work. We foster the work of living artists at critical moments in their careers, often before their work has achieved broader recognition.
The Whitney's curatorial department has two primary activities: it oversees and guides the expansion of the Museum's permanent collection of more than 26,000 works of art, and it organizes and generates exhibitions appropriate to the institution's mission. Its curators produce interpretation and scholarship broadly defined, working closely with departments such as Conservation, Digital Content, Education, Publications, Registration, Research Resources; they author catalogues and essays to accompany exhibitions; cultivate and maintain relationships with artists, scholars, and patrons; participate in public programs (panels, lectures, symposia); and approve loans.
Reporting to the Alice Pratt Brown Director, the Chief Curator will serve on the Museum’s senior leadership team and will participate in shaping the Museum’s mission and vision at this pivotal moment in its history. They will serve as the senior-most manager of the Museum’s Curatorial Department, and hold overall responsibility for the Museum’s scholarly and artistic program, as well as oversight of the Curatorial Department, with its more than thirty staff members. The Chief Curator will be a bold and innovative thinker, an excellent communicator, and a generous and dedicated manager and colleague.
The Chief Curator will:
- collaborate with the Director to create the overall artistic vision of the Whitney Museum
- ensure the integration and cross-functional operation of the Curatorial Department with other departments across the Museum
- provide intellectual leadership and management of the Curatorial Department; oversee its curators and their teams; and manage its policies, procedures and budgets
- supervise the Director of the Collection to define and implement the Museum’s comprehensive collection strategy and display methodology; help grow and evolve the Museum’s collections through gifts, purchases, and fundraising efforts; and shape the Museum’s collections through acquisitions and deaccessioning
- serve as content authority for the Museum exhibitions and related efforts, and collaborate with the Chief Exhibitions and Collections Officer on the strategy, budget and timing of the exhibitions calendar
- serve as a public spokesperson for the Museum’s collections and exhibitions, representing the Museum to the public, press, and the broader art world to promote community engagement
- in collaboration with the Chief Advancement Officer, play a key fundraising role, identifying new patrons, cultivating existing relationships, and interfacing with acquisition committees and patron groups
- work closely with the directors of other Museum teams, including Education; Marketing and Visitor and Member Experience; Communications; and Operations, among others
- Innovative vision regarding the state of contemporary art and the role of museums today
- At least 10–15 years of significant curatorial work and experience in art museum management and administration
- A proven commitment to equity and inclusion in both programming and staff leadership
- An advanced degree in art history, with significant scholarship in the field; specialization in 20th and 21st century American art
- Ability to bring strategic thinking to new program areas at the Museum, such as trends in digital art and digital museum practice
- Deep fundraising experience and willingness to work closely with Trustees, donors, volunteers, and members of the public
- Ability to function comfortably and communicate compellingly in a highly visible public position
- A creative, collegial, collaborative, and inclusive management style that honors and respects the work of teams and their members
Salary and Benefits
Salary range is estimated at $250,000–$325,000, commensurate with experience.
The Whitney offers an excellent benefits package, including comprehensive health coverage (medical/dental/vision), retirement contributions, and generous paid time off, along with a variety of other ancillary benefits.
The advertised pay rate is not a promise of a particular wage for any specific employee. The specific compensation offered to a candidate may be dependent on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, the candidate’s experience, education, special licensing or qualifications, and other factors.
Not sure you meet 100% of our qualifications? Research shows that men apply for jobs when they meet an average of 60% of the criteria. Yet, women and other people who are systematically marginalized tend only to apply if they meet every requirement. If you believe that you could excel in this role, we encourage you to apply. We are dedicated to considering a broad array of candidates, including those with diverse work experiences and backgrounds. Whether you’re new to arts and culture administration, returning to work after a gap in employment, simply looking to transition, or taking the next step in your career path, we will be glad to have you on our radar. Please use your cover letter to tell us about your interest in the arts and culture space and what you hope to bring to this role.
About the Whitney
The Whitney Museum of American Art, founded in 1930 by the artist and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, houses the foremost collection of American art from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. From her vision arose the Whitney Museum of American Art, which has been championing the most innovative art of the United States for 86 years. The core of the Whitney’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit American art of our time and serve a wide variety of audiences in celebration of the complexity and diversity of art and culture in the United States. Through this mission and a steadfast commitment to artists themselves, the Whitney has long been a powerful force in support of modern and contemporary art and continues to help define what is innovative and influential in American art today.
The Whitney Museum of American Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Museum does not discriminate because of age, sex, religion, race, color, creed, national origin, alienage or citizenship, disability, marital status, partnership status, veteran status, gender (including gender identity), sexual orientation, or any other factor prohibited by law. The Museum hires and promotes individuals solely on the basis of their qualifications for the job to be filled. The Museum encourages all qualified candidates to apply for vacant positions at all levels. This description shall not be construed as a contract of any sort for a specific period of employment.
The health and safety of our Museum community is the highest priority. As such, the Whitney Museum requires all newly hired staff members to be fully vaccinated and boosted with an FDA authorized and/or approved COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment. Requests for reasonable accommodations for medical, religious, or other reasons will be considered in accordance with applicable law.