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Rima Girnius joins European Painting and Sculpture Department at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Girnius, until recently a curator at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, specializes in Early Modern Art of Germany and the Netherlands. Photo: Kim Rice.

KANSAS CITY, MO.- After a lengthy national search, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City has named Rima Girnius Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture. Girnius, until recently a curator at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, specializes in Early Modern Art of Germany and the Netherlands. She received her PhD in 2007 from Bryn Mawr College. Her dissertation was Rembrandt’s Spaces.

“Rima’s stellar research made her stand out from the many applicants we considered,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, the Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins. “She enjoyed huge academic success as a post-doctoral fellow at the Indianapolis Museum of Art as the recipient of the Art Clowes Fellowship, which is highly competitive. She is an outstanding addition to our staff.”

The search for an Associate Curator was launched in Spring 2015, and candidates from both large and small institutions were interviewed.

“Rima is extremely well-regarded, and she has been involved in numerous highly collaborative exhibition projects at the Figge,” said Catherine Futter, Louis L. and Adelaide C. Ward Senior Curator of European Arts. “It is Rima’s desire to return to her love of Old Masters that seemed a wonderful balance between scholarship and diverse exhibition experience that strongly appealed to us.”

Girnius curated 20 original exhibitions drawn from the permanent collection while at the Figge, and developed a contemporary art program with particular focus on installation art. She was a guest lecturer on exhibition conception, development and design for the Western Illinois University Museum Studies Program. While at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Girnius conducted research on Dutch, German, and Flemish works of art and pursued in-depth provenance research.

She joins the Nelson-Atkins as the museum prepares the exhibition Reflecting Class in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer, an innovative exhibition that is the first to examine seventeenth-century Dutch paintings in light of the new Republic’s social structure. Through 75 carefully selected and arranged works, this exhibition will present the ways in which Dutch paintings reflect various socio-economic groups showcasing the ways these groups wanted to be depicted, were perceived by those depicting them, or were imagined to be by those buying such depictions. By exploring how class distinctions were expressed and the associations each group held, a more nuanced picture of Dutch society will emerge. The exhibition, which was organized by the MFA in Boston, runs from Feb. 20 – May 29, 2016.

"It is a great pleasure and privilege to be joining the Nelson Atkins, an institution that I have long admired for its amazing collections and equally remarkable commitment to engaging the diverse communities it serves,” said Girnius. “I look forward to contributing to the museum's efforts to provide its visitors with dynamic exhibitions and programs that help enrich their appreciation of art."

A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Girnius received both her Master’s and PhD from Bryn Mawr College. She specialized in Early Modern Art of Germany and the Netherlands, as well as aesthetic reception and theories of spaces. A native of Lithuania, Girnius grew up in Europe, primarily Munich, Germany. She completed her secondary education in Prague, the Czech Republic.

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