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KC's Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art Names Barbara O'Brien its New Curator
Barbara O’Brien is the new curator at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Helen H. Richardson.
KANSAS CITY, MO. The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art announced Barbara O’Brien as its new curator. Until recently O’Brien was Assistant Professor of Art and Director of the Trustman Art Gallery at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. Since 1990, she has curated nearly 50 exhibitions of contemporary art. O’Brien begins work at the Kemper Museum in mid September.

Museum Director and CEO Rachael Blackburn Cozad said, “Barbara has a depth of knowledge about contemporary art, impressive academic credentials, vast art experience, and shares with our staff a strong interest in producing high-quality programming for the community.” Cozad added, “I am excited to have her join our dedicated team.”

The Kemper Museum’s new curator Barbara O’Brien said, “I am thrilled to join the Kemper Museum as its curator. My favorite question in relation to contemporary art is “What’s next?” I look forward to connecting the Kemper Museum’s strong permanent collection with significant temporary exhibitions. I enjoy my work with artists and look forward to meeting those in Kansas City and the region.”

A native of northeast Kansas, O’Brien holds a MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design as well as undergraduate degrees in Women’s Studies and Journalism from the University of Kansas.

Before working in various capacities at Simmons College (2006–08), O’Brien served as a public art consultant for the City of Boston (2004–05). At Art New England Magazine, she was the Editor in Chief (2003–2006), as well as its Regional Reviews Coordinator (2002–2006). From 1990–2001, O’Brien was the Director of the Gallery and Visiting Artist Program at Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, Massachusetts. Over the years, she has held various positions at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Ute Stebich Gallery, Lenox, Massachusetts; Cragin Fife Gallery, Brookline, Massachusetts; Intermedia Arts Minnesota, Minneapolis; 1469 Pacific Gallery, San Francisco, California; Community Art Resource, San Francisco; and the Association of Community Arts Councils, Topeka, Kansas.

O’Brien is well published and has served as an invited speaker on many issues in contemporary art. She is a member of ArtTable, International Association of Art Critics, College Art Association, and American Association of Museums. In 2006, she received the National Alumni Award for Professional Achievement from Rhode Island School of Design.

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art | Boston | Massachusetts | Barbara O'Brien | curator |




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