CURRENT SEARCHES

PEABODY ESSEX MUSEUM – Curator of South Asian Art 

PEABODY ESSEX MUSEUM – Curator of Fashion and Textiles 

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Peabody Essex Museum

Salem, MA

Museum Atrium pic

Museum Atrium, PEM, 2003, detail

www.pem.org

CURATOR OF SOUTH ASIAN ART search

Application Deadline: May 22, 2017

The Peabody Essex Museum seeks a curatorial leader with deep experience in South Asian art, and a track record developing engaging exhibitions. The Curator of South Asian Art will be active in global circles, well versed in current developments in the field, and adept at teasing out connections between diverse South Asian art forms and cultural traditions and with broader historical and contemporary art and culture.

Recently, the Peabody Essex Museum embarked on a dramatic paradigm-shifting transformation and expansion, in keeping with its ambition and promise as a museum that values creativity, innovation, change, and the unexpected. The museum’s internationally distinctive strengths in South Asian, East Asian, and Asian Export art and culture, already central to this mission, will play an even greater role in this next, highly aspirational chapter. PEM’s curatorial team is adventurous and generates fresh interpretation, appreciation, and thought leadership related to art, culture, and creative expression, especially in the context of an increasingly interconnected and global dialogue. To this end, the museum seeks an innovative curator with experience in South Asian, especially Indian, art and a strong commitment to interpretation and programming.

BACKGROUND

Founded in 1799 in Salem, Massachusetts, 15 miles from Boston, the Peabody Essex Museum is the oldest continuously operating museum in the United States. Now among the top 8% of American art museums, PEM is also one of the nation’s fastest growing art museums, and operates on a global stage in terms of networks, partners, and patronage.

PEM has achieved a singular record of growth over the last decades. In 2003, PEM completed one of the most striking museum transformations in American history, including exponential growth of the operating budget, and the addition of over 250,000 square feet of new and renovated gallery and public spaces. This includes 26,000 square feet of changing exhibition galleries and 55,000 square feet of galleries devoted to collection installations. In 2011, the museum announced a comprehensive and singular advancement campaign for $650M. The campaign focuses on increasing an already healthy endowment to support an expanded exhibition program; programmatic initiatives ranging from the interpretive to the digital and educational; global leadership initiatives; and an institutional culture of creativity, all in concert with fiscal stability and sound management, based on an annual budget of $31 million.

PEM is adding a 40,000 square-foot wing scheduled to open in summer 2019. It will include 15,000 square feet of galleries for collection installations and additional public and educational spaces. The museum is also developing a 110,000 square-foot offsite collection center for the care and study of the museum’s collection of more than 1 million works. Between 2017 and 2022, PEM will develop new collection installations museum-wide, based on innovative experience, interpretation, and design strategies that reflect the museum’s commitment to drawing on multiple fields of inquiry, including neuroscience.

The museum’s many collection areas are among the finest of their kind, showcasing American, Asian and Asian export, African, contemporary, maritime, Native American, and Oceanic art, as well as photography, fashion and textiles, and architecture and design. The museum presents a vibrant schedule of changing exhibitions, many organized by PEM teams and guest curators and circulated nationally and internationally, and others organized by leading museums in North America, Europe, and Asia. Annually, the museum welcomes some 250,000 people. It employs 250 staff and engages over 100 docents in support of PEM’s educational mission.

CURATORIAL PROFILE

The Peabody Essex Museum has the highest visitor satisfaction ratings among 75 major museums in the United States, and PEM’s curatorial program is a key reason for this success. PEM’s curatorial approach emphasizes innovation, crisp execution, and close partnership across departments and with external, leading-edge thinkers in a range of fields. This provides significant opportunities for curators to leverage team resources and access to current trends and new developments in various fields. Nine full curators and five Exhibition & Research assistant and associate curators comprise PEM’s curatorial team. This team is the purview of the Deputy Director, who functions as Chief Curator and oversees Collection Services, Exhibition Planning, and Exhibition Design in concert with her executive and fundraising responsibilities.

INDIAN and SOUTH ASIAN COLLECTION

The first American museum to collect art from India, PEM counts among its earliest acquisitions historic works from India. These works are a manifestation of the museum founders’ global purview, a sensibility and historical context that continues to inform PEM’s curatorial work.

Unlike other American museums that emphasize India’s classical art traditions, PEM is preeminent internationally for representing the art of the modern era, from the period of British colonial rule to the present, in what is today India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Additionally, the extensive Bhutanese textile collection is the most important such collection in an American museum. The museum also houses diverse works from various Southeast Asian cultures, principally from the Philippines, Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, as well as from Tibet and Nepal.

PEM’s diverse Asian export, maritime, photography, fashion, textile, and library holdings complement many aspects of the Indian and South Asian collection. As just one example, PEM’s collection of 19th-century photographs by Lala Deen Dayal is one of the top in the world.

INDIAN ART

The museum is home to the most important collection of modern Indian art, from the 1700s to the present, outside India.

In 2001, the acquisition of the Chester and Davida Herwitz collection of post-Independence art from India established PEM as the first museum outside of India to focus on the achievements of its modern artists. The Herwitz collection of post-1947 Indian paintings and works on paper—some 1,600 works by approximately 70 artists—remains unparalleled in any American or European museum.

Painting dominates the overall collection, in large measure because of the Herwitz collection, but also because of PEM’s deep holdings in the vernacular Kalighat painting tradition: the museum’s Kalighat paintings constitute one of the top three collections in the world.

The collection of vernacular and regional genres from across the subcontinent has grown to national importance. The Figiel collection of 15th-to-18th century devotional bronzes is a telling counterpoint to India’s classical sculpture traditions not available in other American public collections. Other areas of strength include kantha quilts; colonial-period Indian export decorative art, especially furniture; 18th- and 19th-century British maritime-related prints, drawings and paintings of India; and 19th-century photographs, especially the group by Lala Deen Dayal. PEM’s colonial-era holdings are especially strong, and pose intriguing opportunities to work forward into the 20th and 21st centuries as well as to move back into and through classical Indian art. These elements, along with holdings in other collection areas, contribute to PEM’s ability to explore a multi-faceted approach to Indian and South Asian art and culture.

ASIAN EXPORT ART

Asian export art encompasses works in all media made by artists in China, Japan, India, and Indonesia (among other cultures), specifically for non-local patrons and markets. PEM’s collection is the largest, most comprehensive, and diverse of its type in the world. Among the first objects collected by the museum’s founders were decorative art objects produced in China, Japan, and India for Europeans and Americans. The collection has a particularly strong international profile for Indian export furniture. PEM curators often draw on the Asian export art collection to highlight the impact of cross-cultural exchange.

RESPONSIBILITIES

The new curator will play a pivotal role in shaping and implementing the museum’s go-forward, team-based program in Asian art and its specific manifestation of Indian and South Asian art and culture. This will be accomplished primarily through innovative exhibitions, interpretation and programming, as well as through strategic enhancement of the collection and original research.

The primary responsibilities of the Curator will be to:

  • Work with the Deputy Director and PEM’s curators to establish the direction, goals, and priorities for Indian and South Asian art at the Peabody Essex
  • Organize exhibitions and secure exhibitions organized by other institutions. The focus will be exhibitions that offer fresh ways of interpreting and appreciating the art of diverse Asian cultures, with special emphasis on Indian art because of the collection’s strength and patronage potential. The curator is expected to develop a more interconnected view of Asian cultures, and to foster a dialogue between historical and contemporary
  • Organize collection-based installations of Indian and South Asian art that integrate engaging ideas, new interpretive methods, immersive experiences, and design as part of the museum’s team-based interpretation initiative. The initial emphasis will be the new installation devoted to South Asian art as part of the museum-wide installations slated to open between 2018 and 2022. The curator will also serve on other appropriate interpretation teams associated with this large-scale effort and the museum’s ongoing efforts to provide leadership in the arena of museum
  • Develop a systematic plan to strengthen PEM’s collection through strategic acquisitions of historical and contemporary works, long-term loans, research, and conservation
  • Enhance and expand the museum’s international network and partnerships with museums and governments relevant to South Asian art and culture. The emphasis will be identifying opportunities to exchange exhibition projects, loans, and expertise.
  • Cultivate and secure patronage for PEM’s South Asian initiatives and for the museum overall in collaboration with the museum’s philanthropy staff and South Asian Visiting Committee.

Develop programs and events in conjunction with exhibitions and in collaboration with the education staff that emphasize new ways to provide immersive experiences of Indian and South Asian culture and art.

Serve as an advocate and representative for PEM’s mission, exhibitions, publications, research, programming, and collection, assuring that the museum’s reputation for innovation and scholarship are continually advanced. Sustain an international reputation and profile through publishing, lecturing, organizing or participating in symposia, membership in professional organizations, and other pertinent activities.

QUALIFICATIONS and PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS

The successful candidate will:

  • Have substantial experience working with institutions with extensive collections of Indian South Asian art and culture and organizing compelling installations and exhibitions, including nationally and internationally traveling shows; experience with both historical and contemporary art is preferred; an established international network is highly
  • Have an advanced degree in art history or cultural studies, with a specialty in Indian or South Asian art and culture (a Master’s degree is required);
  • Be an outcome-oriented, hard worker with initiative and high energy level; a “doer” with a willingness to work hands-on;
  • Be a mission-driven individual with a commitment to PEM’s core values and transformative goals; open to experimentation and thinking “outside the box”; predisposed to juxtaposing ideas and objects in new and unexpected ways, including across disciplines, between different realms of creativity beyond the visual arts, and between the historical and contemporary;
  • Be a good listener and strategist; comfortable receiving input from many sources, and able to analyze and formulate disparate information into sound, well-organized goals, strategies, and proposals; a partner able to flexibly collaborate with people of diverse areas of expertise, experience, cultures, and personalities; a tactful negotiator;
  • Be an individual with strong self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and a good sense of

PEM recruits internationally.  A good command of the English language is required.

Nominations welcome.

TO APPLY FOR THIS POSITION

Qualified candidates should email their cover letter, résumé (Word documents preferred), salary requirement, and names of 3 references with contact information by April 17, 2017 to retained search firm: Marilyn Hoffman and Connie Rosemont, Museum Search & Reference, SearchandRef@museum-search.com.  Apply in confidence.  References will not be contacted without prior permission of the applicant.  PEM is committed to diversity among its employees and encourages qualified candidates from all backgrounds to apply.

ABOUT SALEM AND BOSTON

Salem and Boston North Shore cities and towns are among the country’s oldest coastal communities, including Salem, Newburyport, and Marblehead.  The region has a 300-year history of art and architecture, and maritime activities are still an important part of the regional culture.  Salem and nearby Gloucester offer numerous museums, art galleries, historic homes, theaters, parks, restaurants, boutiques and antique shops.  Salem alone draws more than 1 million visitors a year. Boston is quickly accessible via a regular commuter train to North Station. New England’s bountiful outdoor recreational activities are quickly accessible, including sailing, hiking and skiing.

Boston is a world-class center for banking, health care and technology research.   One of American’s leading intellectual centers, Boston boasts some of the most prestigious universities and medical centers in the world. It is also steeped in 400 years of history, which it preserves and celebrates, while maintaining many distinct and historic neighborhoods.  As a metropolis, it is home to numerous attractions including museums, theatres, musical events and robust restaurant opportunities.  The suburbs have some of the nation’s top-rated school systems.  Boston is served by a strong public transportation system and offers outdoor recreation along the Charles River and Atlantic Ocean. Sports fans enjoy the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, as well as the soccer team, the Revolution.

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Peabody Essex Museum

Salem, MA

Museum Atrium pic

Museum Atrium, PEM, 2003, detail

www.pem.org

THE NANCY B. PUTNAM CURATOR OF FASHION & TEXTILES search

Application Deadline: April 3, 2017

[no longer accepting applications]

The Peabody Essex Museum seeks a curatorial leader with deep experience in historical, modern and contemporary fashion and textiles and a track record of developing engaging exhibitions. The Nancy B. Putnam Curator of Fashion and Textiles will be active in fashion circles, well versed in current developments in the field, and adept at teasing out connections between fashion, creativity, and culture.

Recently, PEM embarked on a paradigm-shifting transformation and expansion, in keeping with its ambition and promise as a museum that values creativity, innovation, change, and the unexpected.  PEM’s curatorial team is adventurous and generates fresh interpretation, appreciation, and thought leadership related to art, culture, and creative expression, especially in the context of an increasingly interconnected and global dialogue. To this end, the museum seeks an innovative curator with experience specifically in fashion and textiles and a strong commitment to bold interpretation and programming.

BACKGROUND

Founded in 1799 in Salem, Massachusetts, 15 miles from Boston, the Peabody Essex Museum is the oldest continuously operating museum in the United States. Now among the top 8% of American art museums, PEM is also one of the nation’s fastest growing art museums and operates on a global stage in terms of networks, partners, and patronage.

PEM has achieved unprecedented growth over the past two decades. In 2003, PEM completed one of the most striking museum transformations in American history, including exponential growth of the operating budget and the addition of over 250,000 square feet of new and renovated gallery and public spaces.  This includes 26,000 square feet of changing exhibition galleries and 55,000 square feet of galleries devoted to collection installations. In 2011, the museum announced a comprehensive and singular advancement campaign for $650M. The campaign focuses on increasing an already healthy endowment to support an expanded exhibition program; programmatic initiatives ranging from the interpretive to the digital and educational; global leadership initiatives; and an institutional culture of creativity, all in concert with fiscal stability and sound management, based on annual budget of $31 million.

 

East India Hall

East India Hall and PEM planned expansion

PEM is adding a 40,000 square-foot wing scheduled to open in summer 2019. It will include 15,000 square feet of galleries for collection installations and additional public and educational spaces. The museum is also developing a 110,000 square-foot offsite collection center for the care and study of the museum’s collection of more than 1 million works. Between 2017 and 2022, PEM will develop new collection installations museum-wide, based on innovative experience, interpretation and design strategies that reflect the museum’s commitment to drawing on multiple fields of inquiry, including neuroscience.

The museum’s many collection areas are among the finest of their kind, showcasing American, Asian and Asian export, African, contemporary, maritime, Native American, and Oceanic art, as well as photography, fashion and textiles, and architecture and design. The museum presents a vibrant schedule of changing exhibitions, many organized by PEM teams and guest curators and circulated nationally and internationally, and others organized by leading museums in North America, Europe, and Asia. Annually, the museum welcomes 250,000 people. It employs 250 staff and engages over 110 docent guides in support of PEM’s educational mission.

CURATORIAL PROFILE

The Peabody Essex Museum has the highest visitor satisfaction ratings among 75 major museums in the United States, and PEM’s curatorial program is a key reason for this success. PEM’s curatorial approach emphasizes innovation, crisp execution, and close partnership across departments and with external, leading-edge thinkers in a range of fields. This provides significant opportunities for curators to leverage team resources and access to current trends and new developments in various fields. Nine full curators and five Exhibition & Research assistant and associate curators comprise PEM’s curatorial team. This team is the purview of the Deputy Director, who functions as the Chief Curator and oversees Collection Services, Exhibition Planning, and Exhibition Design in concert with her executive and fundraising responsibilities.

FASHION AND TEXTILE COLLECTION AND PROGRAM

PEM holds an extraordinary collection of fashion, costumes, and textiles from around the world, primarily from the late 17th century forward. American fashion and textiles, in conjunction with PEM’s African, Asian export, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Native American, Oceanic and South Asian fashion and textiles, constitute a distinctive international collection of high overall quality.

The American textile and costume holdings have historically focused on New England. Fashion, accessories, jewelry, contemporary fiber art, pictorial needlework and samplers, quilts and coverlets, interior design, domestic furnishing textiles and upholstery, military uniforms, and documentary textiles comprise these holdings, which include many aesthetically significant examples and contain extensive documentation, which lends the collection exceptional research value. The American clothing collection, which dates primarily from 1820-1930, is among the ten best in the country. The shoe collection is the largest and most important in the U.S. and of international significance.

In 2009, the museum began a concerted fashion initiative, presenting major exhibitions and collecting 20th– and 21st-century fashion in earnest through major gifts and bequests from nationally and internationally recognized collectors, most notably Iris Apfel. Recently, PEM secured the endowment for a curatorial position dedicated to fashion and textiles and established a Fashion Visiting Committee.

RESPONSIBILITIES

The new Curator will play a pivotal role in shaping and implementing the museum’s forward-looking, team-based program in Fashion and Textiles. This will be accomplished primarily through innovative exhibitions, interpretation and programming, as well as through strategic enhancement of the collection and original research.

The primary responsibilities of the Curator will be to:

  • Work with the Deputy Director and PEM’s curators to establish the direction, goals, and priorities for Fashion and Textiles at the Peabody Essex Museum.
  • Organize exhibitions and secure exhibitions organized by other institutions. The focus will be exhibitions that offer fresh ways of interpreting and appreciating fashion and textiles and fostering a dialogue between historical and contemporary expressions.
  • Organize collection-based installations that integrate engaging ideas and new interpretive methods, immersive experiences, and design as part of the museum’s team-based interpretation initiative. The initial emphasis will be developing the museum’s first gallery dedicated to fashion, scheduled to open in the new wing in 2019. The Curator will also serve on other appropriate interpretation teams associated with the museum’s ongoing efforts to provide leadership in the arena of museum interpretation.
  • Develop a systematic plan to strengthen PEM’s fashion and textile collection through strategic acquisitions of historical, modern and contemporary works, long-term loans, research, and conservation initiatives.
  • Enhance and expand the museum’s international network and partnerships with museums to develop and secure opportunities to exchange exhibition projects, loans, and expertise.
  • Cultivate and secure patronage for PEM’s fashion and textile initiatives and for the museum overall in collaboration with the museum’s philanthropy staff and Fashion Visiting Committee.
  • Develop programs and events in conjunction with exhibitions and in collaboration with the education staff that emphasize new ways to provide immersive experiences with fashion and textiles.
  • Serve as an advocate and representative for PEM’s mission, exhibitions, publications, research, programming, and collection, ensuring that the museum’s reputation for innovation and scholarship are continually advanced. Sustain an international reputation and profile through publishing, lecturing, organizing or participating in symposia, membership in professional organizations, and other pertinent activities.

QUALIFICATIONS and PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS

The successful candidate will:

  • Have substantial experience working with institutions with extensive collections of fashion and textiles and organizing compelling installations and exhibitions, including nationally and internationally traveling shows; experience with both historical and contemporary fashion and textiles is preferred; an established international network is highly desirable.
  • Have an advanced degree in art history or cultural studies, and a specialty in fashion and textiles (a Master’s degree is required).
  • Be an individual whose intelligence, creativity, and passion are palpable, peripatetic, generous, and infectious.
  • Be an outcome-oriented, hard worker with initiative and high energy level; a “doer” with a willingness to work hands-on.
  • Be a mission-driven individual with a commitment to PEM’s core values and transformative goals, open to experimentation and thinking “outside the box;” predisposed to juxtaposing ideas and objects in new and unexpected ways, including across disciplines and cultures, between different realms of creativity beyond the visual arts, and between the historical and contemporary.
  • Be a good listener and strategist; comfortable receiving input from many sources, and able to analyze and formulate disparate information into sound, well-organized goals, strategies, and proposals; a partner able to flexibly collaborate with people of diverse areas of expertise, experience, cultures, and personalities; and a tactful negotiator.
  • Be an individual with strong self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and a good sense of humor.

PEM recruits internationally.  A good command of the English language is required.

Nominations welcome.

TO APPLY FOR THIS POSITION

Qualified candidates should email their cover letter, résumé (Word documents preferred), salary requirement, and names of 3 references with contact information by April 3, 2017 to retained search firm: Marilyn Hoffman and Connie Rosemont, Museum Search & Reference, SearchandRef@museum-search.com.  Apply in confidence.  References will not be contacted without prior permission of the applicant.  PEM is committed to diversity among its employees and encourages qualified candidates from all backgrounds to apply.

 

IrisApfel

Iris Apfel works on her 2009 exhibition (left) and has since donated her collection; Chinese Woman’s Wedding Tunic and Vest, 19th c. (center); Native Fashion Now catalogue, 2015 (right)

 

ABOUT SALEM AND BOSTON

Salem and Boston’s North Shore cities and towns are among the country’s oldest coastal communities, including Salem, Newburyport, and Marblehead.  The region has a 300-year history of art and architecture, and maritime activities are still an important part of the regional culture.  Salem and nearby Gloucester offer numerous museums, art galleries, historic homes, theaters, parks, restaurants, boutiques and antique shops.  Salem alone draws more than one million visitors a year. Boston is quickly accessible via a regular commuter train to North Station. New England’s bountiful outdoor recreational activities are quickly accessible, including sailing, hiking and skiing.

Boston is a world-class center for banking, health care and technology research.   One of American’s leading intellectual centers, Boston boasts some of the most prestigious universities and medical centers in the world. It is also steeped in 400 years of history, which it preserves and celebrates, while maintaining many distinct and historic neighborhoods.  As a metropolis, it is home to numerous attractions including museums, theatres, musical events and robust restaurant opportunities.  The suburbs have some of the nation’s top-rated school systems.  Boston is served by a strong public transportation system and offers outdoor recreation along the Charles River and Atlantic Ocean. Sports fans enjoy the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, as well as the soccer team, the Revolution.

 

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