Chief Curator – Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art, UC Irvine

Job Opening ID: 37984

Reports To: Museum Director

Work Schedule: 8-5, M-F

Employee Class: Career

Compensation Range: Commensurate with experience

Position Summary:

Langson IMCA is a start-up organization with limited, though growing, personnel and financial resources within a large, established institution that is part of the University of California public education system. It was founded in 2017 following the gift to UCI of two important private collections of California Art. Two years later, the university hired acclaimed art museum leader and educator Kim Kanatani as its inaugural director to guide the museum’s future, envisioned as the seminal investigator and presenter of California’s influence and innovation through art. Langson IMCA brings together students, faculty, scholars, artists, and other publics to generate new knowledge and learning, and foster transformative experiences inspired by California Art and its global contexts.

The university seeks to hire its first Chief Curator, someone with an entrepreneurial mindset who is motivated by this ground-floor opportunity to join the leadership team in building a new art museum and research institute that brings attention to the Golden State’s creative output. In conjunction with the Museum Director, the Chief Curator has creative and managerial responsibility for the curatorial vision of the museum and the development, management, and stewardship of its exhibitions and collections. The Chief Curator makes critical, strategic decisions regarding the museum’s artistic directions and guides curatorial and collection development initiatives in accordance with art museum best practices. The Chief Curator is responsible for determining curatorial priorities; conceiving, developing, directing, and overseeing the implementation of temporary, permanent, and traveling exhibitions, both in-house and guest curated. The Chief Curator is also charged with strategically developing Langson IMCA’s permanent collection.

This position also plays a collaborative role in developing public engagement activities, such as tours, lectures, conversations, panels, and exhibition-related programs; as well as Institute programs, such as scholarly publications, symposia, conferences, artist residencies, research fellowships, and interdisciplinary academic initiatives. The Chief Curator serves on various committees, including as an ex officio member of the museum’s Director’s Council. The Chief Curator also works in close collaboration with the Deputy Director on the administrative, financial, and external affairs aspects of exhibitions, programs, collections, and publications. This position directs and manages the curatorial and exhibition administration departments and co-leads collections staff.

Department Website:


  • Significant experience and demonstrated success as a senior curatorial leader and manager with a record of curatorial scholarship publicly shared through critically received exhibitions, publications, and presentations.
  • Thorough knowledge of professional museum standards and practices for various aspects of exhibitions and collections, including display, research, care, security, management, storage, shipping, and/or insurance, etc.
  • Proven skill and ability to conceptualize, research, direct, and organize multifaceted and complex exhibitions and publications.
  • Ability to take a long-range planning approach to artistic programming and collections.
  • Ability and passion to integrate the curatorial, collections, and educational activities of the museum with the teaching, research, and public service missions of UCI.
  • Knowledge of best practice art museum curatorial practices and current trends impacting the field.
  • Expert skills in scholarly research and writing scholarly publications. Record of scholarly publications.
  • Demonstrable, thorough knowledge of 19th through 21st century art, artists, art history, criticism, and/or theory.
  • Knowledge of the principles of art conservation / preservation.
  • Thorough knowledge of legal and ethical aspects of fine arts collecting, maintaining, borrowing, and exhibiting.
  • 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.
  • Excellent donor cultivation, interpersonal and relationship building skills.
  • Excellent skills in management and supervision; ability to assess, coach, mentor, and motivate teams toward goals.
  • Demonstrated analytical skills and strategic thinking to contribute to building and growing an organization.
  • Highly flexible and ability to work effectively in a matrixed and start-up environment.
  • Good skills in budget and project management, problem solving, and process improvement.
  • 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.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.


  • Teaching and/or museum experience within a university setting (preferred).
  • Advanced degree in related area and / or equivalent experience / training.
  • Demonstrated specialization and knowledge in the areas of the museum’s collection, including 19th century California Impressionism and plein air painting, and Post-War and contemporary California art.
  • Thorough knowledge of exhibition design and installation.
  • Familiarity with contemporary conservation techniques and practices.
  • Familiarity with new construction or building expansions.

To Apply:


Berkeley Executive Search is assisting the University of California, Irvine and Langson IMCA in this search. Nominations and inquiries can be directed, confidentially, to: James Kao and Tracey Frink of Berkeley Executive Search at For official consideration, please apply via the UC Irvine job portal.

Categories: Job Postings