Liz Munsell appointed Barnett & Annalee Newman Curator of Contemporary Art at the Jewish Museum

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Liz Munsell appointed Barnett & Annalee Newman Curator of Contemporary Art at the Jewish Museum
Over her 12-year tenure, Ms. Munsell had a transformative impact on the contemporary program and collections at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Jewish Museum announced today that Liz Munsell will become the Jewish Museum’s Barnett & Annalee Newman Curator of Contemporary Art. Ms. Munsell is currently the Lorraine and Alan Bressler Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She will begin her new role at the Jewish Museum on August 8, 2022.

A vital part of the Jewish Museum’s curatorial team and reporting to Darsie Alexander, Senior Deputy Director & Susan and Elihu Rose Chief Curator, Ms. Munsell will produce and steer exhibitions that explore the intersection of Jewish identity and contemporary art practice. She will work to enhance the diversity of artists and cultures represented in the Museum’s contemporary program through exhibitions, acquisitions, commissions, and special projects. In addition, she will oversee The Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation Collection at the Museum.

Claudia Gould, Helen Goldsmith Menschel Director, said, “The Jewish Museum is delighted to welcome Liz to our curatorial team. Her unique vision, creativity, and curatorial perspective will add tremendously to our work at the forefront of contemporary art and Jewish culture.”

Ms. Alexander said, “Liz’s outstanding relationships with artists, track record of timely exhibitions, and deep knowledge of Latin American and Latinx art will add significantly to the global scope of our program while reinforcing its rigor and scholarship. We are extremely excited to embark on this new chapter of contemporary curation at the Jewish Museum with Liz in this critical role.”

Ms. Munsell said, “I’m thrilled to join the Jewish Museum’s stellar team at a time of necessary growth and change for museums. It will be my great honor to build on the Jewish Museum’s groundbreaking history in contemporary art to generate an inclusive and responsive 21st-century program.”

A gift from the Barnett & Annalee Newman Foundation in 2018 included funds to endow the Museum’s first curatorial position dedicated to contemporary art. In addition to these funds, the Foundation’s gift also included artworks from Barnett and Annalee Newman’s personal collection, as well as works created by artists such as Lynda Benglis, Mark Bradford, Tony Cragg, Rebecca Horn, Joan Jonas, Kerry James Marshall, Julie Mehretu, Larry Poons, Nancy Rubins, Richard Serra, Sarah Sze, Philip Taaffe, Terry Winters, and Jack Youngerman, who were recipients of the Barnett and Annalee Newman Award, given to artists who exemplified Newman’s values and his spirit of artistic independence and individuality.

Over her 12-year tenure, Ms. Munsell had a transformative impact on the contemporary program and collections at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She was originally hired as a Curatorial Research Associate to support the opening of the newly renovated Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, and quickly became an advocate for women artists and artists of color—particularly those from Latin America, where she completed her graduate studies. In 2012, Ms. Munsell was promoted to Assistant Curator and worked to establish the MFA as one of the first encyclopedic museums in the U.S. to integrate performance art into its exhibitions and permanent collection. Through this program, she staged performances by Joan Jonas, Raphael Montañez Ortiz, Pedro Reyes, Jeffrey Gibson, Amalia Pica, Patty Chang and others, acquiring key performance-based works for the collection. In 2016-17, she piloted an artist residency and collections-based exhibition in the Art of Americas wing with Pablo Helguera, which was co-organized with Layla Bermeo and Dennis Carr. In the last 5 years, Ms. Munsell has curated eight exhibitions for the MFA, including a partnership with Brooklyn Museum to co-present Cecilia Vicuña: Disappeared Quipu (co-curated with Catherine Morris) in New York and Boston, and with the Peréz Art Museum, Miami on Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation (co-curated with Greg Tate), where the exhibition was originally slated to travel prior to the pandemic. Between 2012-17 Ms. Munsell held a visiting curator post at Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, where she organized exhibitions abroad and at Harvard‘s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. She currently co-leads Museums Moving Forward, a research and advocacy initiative to support greater equity and accountability in the art museum sector, funded by Ford Foundation and Mellon Foundation.

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