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 America’s top 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.
The Phyllis C Wattis Curator reports to the chief curator and works primarily on temporary exhibitions in all media of various scales to include originating, and/or coordinating with guest-curators, exhibitions in the long-standing Matrix series, touring exhibitions, major special exhibitions, and Art Wall commissions but will also contribute to BAMPFA collection-building efforts, public programming, and collaborations with colleagues within the department and across departments. This position may be hired to the Senior Curator level if the candidate displays a higher level of skills and such title is in line with their job trajectory.
This position takes the lead on coordinating the Matrix series that incorporates myriad curatorial voices. In line with our mission to be locally connected and globally relevant, this role will develop close relationships with artists in the Bay Area while staying abreast of developments with international artistic and curatorial practice. Modern and Contemporary experience with a focus on one or more of the following: Global Asian, Black Diaspora, or Latin American/Latinx focus. This role supervises one Curatorial Assistant/Assistant Curator.
Curates original exhibitions and programs of primarily modern and contemporary art.
Conducts original and academic research on artists, objects, and cultural ideas.
On occasion, commissions new art works.
Curates exhibitions within the MATRIX program and is responsible for staying abreast of cutting edge artists and exhibition models, and reflecting current contemporary trends in exhibition programming.
Collaborates with other curators and director in planning and evaluation of overall exhibition program.
Conducts research on artists and objects, and presents research results in written labels, brochures, catalogues, tours, essays, and other public presentations.
Actively cultivates relationships with foundations, trustees, existing and potential major donors, curators, collectors, and artists for programmatic and financial support.
Collaborates with development staff to strategize and fundraise for program-specific as well as operational and other curatorial needs, and for the capital campaign and endowments.
Introduces programs, gives gallery talks, and writes original interpretive materials and essays for publications that engage a general audience as well as a highly informed one.
Represents the museum at scholarly, public, and cultivation events.
Holds leadership role in the contemporary art field, through close working relationships with curators and through original scholarly research.
Selects and trains employees, and aligns their efforts with department and campus objectives, providing constructive feedback and performance assessments, and motivating employees to do their best.
Supervises curatorial assistant, work study students and/or interns.
May serves as work lead for curatorial assistant, lower-level curators.
Other duties as assigned.
Masters degree or higher in related area and/or equivalent experience/training
Experience organizing exhibitions with special loans, communicating with lenders, developing layouts, checklists, and writing gallery didactics.
Modern and Contemporary art experience with a focus on one or more of the following: Global Asian, Black Diaspora, or Latin American/Latinx focus. High level of experience working with living artists.
Knowledge of and experience with standard museum practice and is current with new thinking in curatorial practice. (Required)
Knowledge of selection, evaluation, and exhibition of objects.
Fundraising including donor cultivation and relationship building.
Skills in scholarly research and writing scholarly publications.
Ability to communicate complex concepts about art to a public audience that ranges from casual museum visitors to academics.
Ability to travel nationally and internationally.
Excellent verbal and written communication and public speaking skills.
Excellent project management skills, attention to detail, and ability to meet deadlines.
Exhibition publication experience.
Ability to represent the organization well in various settings within the curatorial field, at conferences, etc.
Ability to prioritize teamwork.
Leadership skills to include taking initiative, good judgment, decision-making and personal accountability.
Ability to manage performance and professional development of junior curators. (Preferred)
How to Apply
Visit the job posting on the Berkeley Jobs Portal: https://jobs.berkeley.edu/ (Job # 43420). Please submit your cover letter and resume as a single attachment when applying.
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