One of the nation’s leading university museums, the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) is a forum for cultural experiences that transform individuals and advance the local, national, and global discourse on art and film. As the premier visual arts venue at the top U.S. public research university, BAMPFA is uniquely dedicated to art and film in equal measure, presenting more than four hundred film screenings, dozens of public programs, and more than fifteen exhibitions annually. BAMPFA takes a contemporary and critical perspective on its wide-ranging collections. The museum’s holdings of more than 28,000 works of art include particular strengths in 20th- and 21st-century work, including Abstract Expressionist painting, contemporary photography, conceptual art, and African American quilts, along with focused historical collections of 19th-century American folk art and early American painting, Italian Baroque painting, Old Master works on paper, and East Asian paintings. BAMPFA’s collection also includes more than 18,000 films and videos, representing the largest collection of Japanese cinema outside of Japan and impressive holdings of Soviet cinema, West Coast avant-garde film, and seminal video art, as well as hundreds of thousands of articles, reviews, posters, and other ephemera related to the history of film. Founded as the University Art Museum in 1970 and initially housed in a Brutalist structure designed by Mario Ciampi, BAMPFA relocated in 2016 to a new purpose-built facility designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in the heart of downtown Berkeley. The museum’s curatorial strategies reflect the rich diversity of the UC Berkeley campus and the greater Bay Area through programming that is interdisciplinary, intergenerational, and international in scope. A locally connected, globally relevant institution, BAMPFA is deeply dedicated to its role as an educational space for UC Berkeley scholars and the general public. It fulfills this mission with three distinguished study centers—the James Cahill Asian Art Study Center, the Film Library and Study Center, and the Florence Helzel Works on Paper Study Center—as well as a range of collaborations with the university’s academic departments and student organizations.
BAMPFA is seeking a bold visionary to work closely with the Executive Director to change the culture of museums inside and out. This position ensures programmatic convergence and communication across BAMPFA in line with institutional vision and goals and is grounded in serving the public, artists, and the UC Berkeley community. The position of Chief Curator requires a strong curatorial vision with a focus on modern or contemporary art. An appreciation for art and film from all eras and a commitment to social, racial and environmental justice is required.
As a primary spokesperson for art exhibitions and collections at BAMPFA, the Chief Curator ensures programmatic convergence and communication across BAMPFA and publicly in line with institutional vision and goals. This position requires the ability to handle a fast-paced environment and multiple projects. The Chief Curator focuses on community building and works closely with local, national, and international artists. This position oversees the BAMPFA exhibition program, curates major exhibitions, and curates exhibitions within the MATRIX or Art Wall series. This position works closely with guest curators, artists, and scholars. The Chief Curator promotes new scholarship and gives space to historically marginalized artists. The Chief Curator works closely with the film and education departments on collaborations and implementing artistic programs. This position works in close partnership with the Director of Collections and Exhibitions on implementation of exhibitions through project management, including publications. The Chief Curator leads strategy around curatorial implementation of special collections, exhibitions, touring shows, inter-institutional collaborations, acquisitions, and campus public art projects. The Chief Curator manages a team of curators, associate curators, and curatorial assistants.
Leads exhibition and collection development, research, access planning, and relevant policy development, maintaining a very high level of programs and activities that engage stakeholders and constituencies.
Based on original research, plans and conceptualizes multi-faceted exhibition programs and programs examining diverse topics.
Creates exhibitions and programs in conjunction with academic courses, departments, programs and faculty.
Holds leadership role in the international art field through substantial participation in professional organizations, close working relationships with international creators, festivals, and artists, and through original scholarly research.
Introduces programs and writes original scholarly articles and essays. Stays abreast of current trends, national and international scholarship in art history, issues relevant to exhibitions, archival standards for preservation and presentation, collection storage and care, and new ideas and theories in the field through research and contact with other curators, artists, and scholars.
Hosts guest artist, historians, and critics, including occasional residencies.
Part of the senior management team, plays a key role in long-range institutional planning efforts, such as setting programmatic priorities, staffing levels, and developing visions for presentation, education, and collections access, policy development, and annual strategic planning efforts. Working closely with Director of Collections & Exhibitions, an institutional lead in long-term off-site storage planning and implementation.
Budget and Financial Operations:
Develops and overseas curatorial, acquisitions, and exhibitions budgets working with individual curators and managers.
Sets objectives for income and expenses, analyzing and adjusting forecast on a regular basis. Formulates long range programmatic financial vision, including staffing levels, facilities, equipment, and financial support needs. Works closely with development staff to strategize and cultivate programs and collection support.
Leadership and Supervision:
This is the lead programmatic position, providing broad vision, and supervising the excellence, balance, and budgetary feasibility of the exhibition and collection programs.
Sets policies and goals regarding programming, preservation, and acquisitions. Supervises and coaches professional curators, educators, collection management, and registration staff.
As programmatic head, works with Executive Director to lead the institution.
Leads the integration of artistic and operational functions of art and film within the institution.
Acts as an effective spokesperson for the BAMPFA and the arts at Cal at a local, national, and international level.
Establishes and strengthens ties with UC Berkeley faculty and BAMPFA. Works closely with faculty to create programs and exhibitions that support coursework and student engagement.
Develops co-sponsorship of programs and artist-in-residence with departments and research centers. Involves selected faculty members in collection development planning.
Engages faculty in long-range program planning.
Cultivation and Development:
Actively cultivate donors, foundations, government, and corporate funders for specific programs as well as general curatorial needs including collection development.
Cultivates relationships with museum trustees, collectors, and artists for programmatic and financial support.
Involved with creating fundraising events with development staff. Staff liaison with board committees.
Develops and provides content for grants and collaborates with other staff in grant preparation. Seeks funding and sponsorship from international cultural organizations, regional organizations, individual donors, and campus entities.
Solicits gifts of art and film.
Advanced degree in related area and / or equivalent experience / training with extensive knowledge in modern and contemporary art with an interest in art of all eras.
Specialization in an area of the museum’s collection.
Knowledge of standard museum curatorial practices and current trends.
Knowledge of collection building / connoisseurship, ethical and legal standards for acquisition, and of the current market.
Knowledge of selection, evaluation, and exhibition of objects.
Knowledge of the principles of conservation / preservation.
Donor cultivation and relationship building skills.
Skills in scholarly research and writing scholarly publications.
Skills in budget and project management, problem solving, and process improvement.
Excellent skills in management and supervision; ability to assess, coach, mentor, and motivate teams toward goals.
Ability to take long-range approach
Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Strong public speaking.
Highly flexible and ability to work effectively in a matrixed and start-up-like environment.
Demonstrated interest and success in collaboration, working effectively with diverse stakeholders, and possessing effective communication and diplomacy skills for a wide range of audiences, including museum staff, students, faculty, volunteers, university staff, artists, collectors, art dealers, etc.
Demonstrated ability to secure donations of art that contribute to the permanent collection’s growth, and financial contributions in support of art exhibitions and commissions.
Demonstrated analytical skills and strategic thinking to contribute to building and growing an organization.
Proven skill and ability to conceptualize, research, direct, and organize multifaceted and complex exhibitions and publications.
Ability and passion to integrate the curatorial, collections, and educational activities of the museum with the teaching, research, and public service missions of UC Berkeley.
Demonstrable, thorough knowledge of 19th through 21st century art, artists, art history, criticism, and/or theory.
Interest in art of all eras and geographies, with an emphasis on modern and contemporary global art.
Resources and national professional network for collaborations and partnerships.
Advanced arts management training.
Annual salary is commensurate with experience within the range of $150,000-$170,000
How to Apply
Visit the job posting on the Berkeley Jobs portal: https://jobs.berkeley.edu/ (Job # 43631). Please submit your cover letter and resume as a single attachment when applying.
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