Curator Suzanne Weaver to retire in April after three decades of service

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Curator Suzanne Weaver to retire in April after three decades of service
Weaver joined SAMA in 2016 as the Brown Foundation Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. © Kevin Todora. Courtesy San Antonio Museum of Art.

SAN ANTONIO, TX.- The San Antonio Museum of Art today announced that Suzanne Weaver, its Interim Chief and Brown Foundation Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, will retire on April 16, 2021. Over the course of her illustrious 30-year career, Weaver has come to be recognized for her forward-looking vision and tireless advocacy for artists and their work. She has developed dozens of exhibitions on contemporary art, established programmatic series that have fostered community engagement, and played a major role in expanding museum collections with an eye toward diversity and equity, especially in the acquisition of works by women artists. Upon retiring, Weaver will move to Camden, Maine, where she and her husband own a home, and pursue several writing projects and her own photography.

Weaver joined SAMA in 2016 as the Brown Foundation Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. During her tenure, she organized several large-scale exhibitions, including Capturing the Moment: Photographs from the Marie Brenner and Ernst Pomerantz Collection and Texas Women: A New History of Abstraction. She also made a range of important acquisitions, significantly strengthening SAMA’s holdings of works by women artists, artists of color, and those from across Texas. Among the artists to enter the collection under her strategic vision are Kevin Beasley, Jose Dávila, Ana Fernandez, Christina Fernandez, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Jeffrey Gibson, Sonia Gomes, Kirk Hayes, Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds, Earlie Hudnall, Jr., Terrell James, Rodney McMillian, Marcelyn McNeil, Pedro Reyes, Analia Saban, Martine Syms, and Liz Trosper.

In 2020, Weaver was named Interim Chief Curator at SAMA. Together with other senior leadership, she helped the institution navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, supported the development of the museum’s diversity, equity, access, and inclusion (DEAI) roadmap, and worked internally to further improve SAMA’s workplace culture, emphasizing the importance of open dialogue and cross-departmental collaboration. She worked closely with SAMA’s curatorial and exhibitions teams to advance a thoughtful exhibition and reinstallation program—one which brought about a renewed focus on SAMA’s robust collections.

“Suzanne’s tenure at SAMA and wider career arc have been characterized by an incredible commitment to artists, to expanding understanding of and experiences with their work and to bringing greater attention to those artists who have been underrepresented or underrecognized in both regional and national conversations,” said Emily Sano, SAMA’s Co-Interim Director, Coates-Cowden-Brown Senior Advisor for Asian Art. “She has been instrumental in developing SAMA’s modern and contemporary art collections and equally to enhancing our institution-wide commitment to diversity and equity. Her vision for community engagement has also expanded SAMA’s connections to local artists and the broader public. We are grateful to Suzanne for her many contributions to SAMA and to the field at large.”

From 2009–2014, Weaver served as the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and Director of Adult Programs at the Speed Art Museum. While there, she organized more than 15 installations and exhibitions, including a major presentation of the work of Willie Doherty, and helped realize over thirty acquisitions and gifts. Among the acquisitions were works by John Chamberlain, Willie Cole, Willie Doherty, Alexandre da Cunha, Sam Gilliam, Mark Handforth, Sarah Lyon, and Joyce Pensato. Under her guidance, the Speed also developed several programs that significantly increased the museum’s audiences, including Art After Dark, an evening series that featured art, film, and performance, and the talk series, Artist Dialogues and Art & Dialogues.

For 13 years, from 1995–2008, Weaver was the Nancy and Tim Hanley Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art. She played an integral role in revitalizing the museum’s international emerging artist installation series, Concentrations. She developed more than 22 exhibitions for the series, including the first U.S. museum solo shows for Doug Aitken, Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Maureen Gallace, Anri Sala, and Charline von Heyl. Weaver’s last Concentrations presentation was the world premiere of Phil Collins’s monumental, video trilogy the world won’t listen.

During her tenure at the DMA, she also helped realize more than 70 acquisitions and gifts, including works by Polly Apfelbaum, Mamma Andersson, Thomas Demand, Maureen Gallace, Mona Hatoum, Jim Hodges, Jim Lambie, An-My Lê, Sarah Morris, Josiah McElheny, Dave Muller, Laura Owens, Robert Smithson, and Cosima von Bonin. The group also included the work of Texas artists Jeff Elrod, Trenton Doyle Hancock, John Pomara, Robyn O’Neil, Robert Pruitt, and Erick Swenson.

“At the Dallas Museum of Art, Suzanne Weaver pushed the contemporary art program featuring younger talents to new levels of ambition and experimentation, frequently affording her invited artists either their first exhibition in a museum or a premier of their most recent work. Suzanne possesses not only an acute, uncanny power in seeking out challenging and proficient work—often previously underrecognized—but also a deep love of creative people that rings true and which, coupled with her skill in helping artists to realize their visions, has earned her the warm affection and wide respect of the art world,” said Dr. John R. Lane, The Eugene McDermott Director Emeritus, Dallas Museum of Art.

Weaver began her curatorial career in 1992 as a National Endowment Intern and Curatorial Associate at the Indianapolis Art Museum. There, she advanced the Forefront project series, organizing solo shows for Fred Wilson and Bill Viola and the group show Recycling Reconsidered, which included works by Fred Tomaselli, Janine Antoni, and Dan Peterman.

“It has been an honor and privilege to be a museum curator at four extraordinary institutions. I am deeply grateful for the generous support of and respectful collaborations with artists, gallerists, trustees and patrons, and colleagues who have enriched my life beyond words. Many have become close and forever friends,” said Weaver. “But, after three decades in the art world, it is time for a new chapter. I am looking forward to working on my book about the DNA of Waco, Texas, writing on art and artists, and pursuing my own photography. Maybe, I will finally have that garden I’ve always dreamt about.”

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