New Photography and Media Arts Curator appointed at Milwaukee Art Museum
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New Photography and Media Arts Curator appointed at Milwaukee Art Museum
Ciara Elle Bryant. Courtesy of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

MILWAUKEE, WI.- The Milwaukee Art Museum today announced that it has appointed Kristen Gaylord as the Herzfeld Curator of Photography and Media Arts, overseeing its collection of photography and media works. Gaylord comes to the Museum, among the first American institutions to collect photography, from the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, where she is currently the Associate Curator of Photographs. She will assume her new role beginning in September.

“The Milwaukee Art Museum’s Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts has a robust exhibition program that connects our visitors to compelling works of photography, film, and video,” said Marcelle Polednik, the Donna and Donald Baumgartner Director of the Milwaukee Art Museum. “We look forward to having Kristen on our curatorial team to lead this program and shape the Museum’s strong collection across these media as they continue to evolve."

For the last five years, Gaylord has served on the curatorial team of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, where she contributed to the ongoing scholarship, preservation, and growth of the Carter’s extensive photographic holdings. During her tenure, she organized exhibitions including Stephanie Syjuco: Double Vision (2022); Black Every Day: Photographs from the Carter Collection (2022); Looking In: Photography from the Outside (2019); Set in Motion: Camille Utterback and Art That Moves (2019); and the forthcoming Moving Pictures: Karl Struss and the Rise of Hollywood (May 2024).

“The Milwaukee Art Museum excels in the study and collection of 20th-century American photography, and we look forward to Kristen’s contributions to and expansion of this legacy,” said Liz Siegel, Chief Curator at the Milwaukee Art Museum. “Kristen's experience and passion for presenting the work of a wide range of photographers with varied perspectives and approaches to the medium make her a valuable addition to our team.”

As the Herzfeld Curator of Photography and Media Arts, Gaylord will lead the study and exhibition of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection of nearly 4,000 photographs and a growing collection of time-based media, spanning from daguerreotypes to works by contemporary practitioners. In addition to overseeing acquisition strategy, Gaylord will regularly rotate the Center’s exhibitions to showcase new acquisitions, share original research, and increase visitor engagement with the collection.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Milwaukee Art Museum and its storied photography program,” said Kristen Gaylord. “I look forward to collaborating with colleagues and community members to develop new scholarship around the collection, feature expanded narratives of the history of art, and amplify the innovative voices in photography and media arts today.”  

Prior to her role at the Carter, Gaylord served as the Beaumont & Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow in the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, for three years, having previously worked there as a research assistant and a curatorial intern. Concurrently, Gaylord was also the inaugural curator of the Duke House Exhibition Series at New York University (NYU). In addition to holding positions at the Willem de Kooning Foundation, Gaylord has taught at the Museum of the City of New York, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Kingsborough Community College, and NYU. She has also written and lectured widely.

Gaylord holds a Bachelor of Arts in art history and English literature from Westmont College and a Ph.D. in art history and archeology from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.  

Gaylord's position is endowed through a major grant from the Herzfeld Foundation.

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