The Art Complex Museum

Art Complex Museum.jpg

THE ART COMPLEX MUSEUM

COLLECTIONS CURATOR

Duxbury, MA

Application Deadline:  February 22, 2018

OVERVIEW

 The Art Complex Museum (ACM) in Duxbury, Massachusetts seeks a full-time Collections Curator to join the staff of this family-founded museum on the cusp of its 50th anniversary in 2021.  The Collections Curator will have the opportunity to develop significant collections-based exhibitions, some of which could travel; to work with staff to conserve, research and catalogue the collections; to develop new programs and interpretations; work with trustees and staff to refine the collections policy; liaise with other museums, scholars, and art professionals to enhance the stature of the collection; and work as a hands-on member of the staff in the daily activities of this small museum.  The Collections Curator reports to the Director and works closely with the Collections Manager and the Curator of Contemporary Art.  The ACM collection comprises more than 8,000 objects collected by the Weyerhaeuser family plus subsequent acquisitions over the past 50 years and features 4 main categories: American paintings (both historic and contemporary), master prints, Shaker furniture/crafts, and Asian art, including a remarkable assemblage of modern Japanese ceramics.  The museum actively acquires new work, and selections from the collection are on permanent, rotating view and are complemented by a robust, active program of temporary exhibitions, usually featuring living artists, both regional and national.  Programming features concerts, lectures, tea ceremonies, art classes, workshops, and school visits.  The ACM has an operating budget of about $1 million and a staff of 12. The 13-acre wooded campus with outdoor sculpture provides a unique encounter with nature and art.

View of Bengtz Gallery with Shaker Chair exhibition

View of Bengtz Gallery with Shaker Chair exhibition

View of Phoenix Gallery with Tiffany window at top

View of Phoenix Gallery with Tiffany window at top

The ACM’s mission encompasses both sharing the collection with a broad public and being an active arts center for regional community engagement, learning and inspiration.  The Mission is:

“The intention of the Art Complex is to be a resource to the community it serves, not only as a fine building built entirely of wood, but also as a forum for education to school children, as well as adults, who may visit it, through its library, its art collection and its exhibits.  It provides musical and other cultural programs in its facilities, which include a unique, authentic Japanese teahouse where visitors are introduced to the ways of another culture.”  In the words of the cofounder, Carl A. Weyerhaeuser, “The purpose for the Art Complex Museum is to collect, house, protect, and display beautiful things for the enjoyment of the public.  From this inspiration it is hoped school children, artists, weekend painters, everyone who studies, sees, hears, feels, will leave the Art Complex to do their work better.”

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Propose, develop and execute a significant exhibition saluting the 50th Anniversary of the ACM in 2021, along with related activities and an anniversary publication.
  • Organize collections-based exhibitions every 2-3 years, including research, possible loans, traveling opportunities and related didactics.
  • Provide input to the Collections Manager/Registrar and the curatorial staff for creating rotations of the collection in the Rotations Gallery, the entryway gallery and in cases in the library and the hallway. 
  • In collaboration with the Collections Manager/Registrar, advise the Director of the suitability of loans in and out of the museum.
  • In partnership with the Education Coordinator, develop program initiatives as they relate to the permanent collection.
  • Participate with the Director and other senior staff members to establish institutional vision, strategic plans, priorities, policies, and procedures.
  • Oversee collection research and cataloguing, utilizing the PastPerfect software.
  • Work with the Collections Committee and the Director to develop a more detailed Collections Plan, including identifying priorities for conservation and storage improvements; for evaluating and proposing acquisitions and gifts, with conditions for their acceptance or rejection, and for deaccessioning; and for research and cataloguing.  Implement deaccessions as approved. 
  • Identify and oversee monitoring of best available standards of care and protection for the collection and borrowed works.
  • Oversee research and production of publications on the collection and temporary exhibitions and contribute articles to scholarly and popular journals when appropriate and as time permits.
  • Give gallery talks and lectures about the Museum, the collections, and current exhibitions related to the collection to a variety of constituents, from volunteers and businesspeople to scholars; and as requested, serve as a face of the museum in the community.
  • Submit information for press releases and, with the Communications Coordinator, suggest publicity materials and approaches for exhibitions.
  • Handle departmental administrative duties, including project-planning and priority-setting, overseeing exhibit-installation teams, preparing and monitoring budgets, and preparing regular and annual reports.
  • Share the responsibility of museum security and operations with other staff members; be hands-on and available for staffing museum events, including working rotating weekends and occasional evenings.
  • Ensure the Museum has a productive professional relationship with peer professionals and institutions locally, regionally and nationally.

QUALIFICATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS

Education, Training and Experience

  • MA or equivalent required in art history or curatorial studies, preferably in an area of strength of the collections, for example Asian ceramics, Shaker arts, prints, or American paintings.  PhD desirable.
  • Minimum of 5 years applied curatorial experience, including knowledge of how loan exhibitions are created, produced and installed. 
  • Knowledge of professional museum principles, practices and procedures.
  • Knowledge of research tools and methodology, as well as catalogue publishing.
  • Other experience that demonstrates ability to plan, collaborate and achieve initiatives.
  • Alignment with the founding family’s legacy and the current Mission of the Museum.  A track record demonstrating that one’s exhibitions and activities advanced an institution’s mission and goals.

Skills and Abilities

  • Ability to quickly learn about the broad range of works in the collection.  Capability to interpret them and communicate knowledge to the general public in relevant and engaging ways. 
  • Self-directed, able to work independently and effectively, but also evidences the capacity to work collaboratively with curators, staff, volunteers, trustees, and community stakeholders.
  • Experience with and capability for departmental administrative responsibilities, including project-planning and priority-setting, overseeing exhibit-installation teams, preparing and monitoring budgets, preparing reports, and meeting deadlines.
  • Outgoing, enthusiastic personality preferred.  Communicative, with a sense of humor.
  • Must be adaptable, patient and flexible; enjoys team-based approaches to decision-making.
  • Interested in attracting both broad audiences and specialists.
  • Excellent written, verbal, and listening communication skills and ability to communicate clearly and professionally; ability and willingness to serve as a public face for the Museum.
  • Understands and maintains high ethical standards related to organizational responsibilities and public accountability.
  • Computer skills beyond the office suite preferred, including collection database software and social media. 

HOW TO APPLY

Nominations and inquiries welcome.  To apply: email cover letter and résumé (Word documents preferred), salary request or range, and names of 3 references with contact information by February 22, 2018 to: Connie Rosemont, Senior Search Consultant, and Marilyn Hoffman, Principal, to: searchandref@museum-search.com.  References will not be contacted without prior permission of the applicant, and all applications and nominations are kept confidential.  EOE.

John Singer Sargent, The Confession, 1914

John Singer Sargent, The Confession, 1914

ABOUT THE MUSEUM

The Art Complex Museum opened its doors in 1971 to share with the public the remarkable collection of Carl A. and Edith Greenleaf Weyerhaeuser, and with the broader goal of serving as a regional arts center with active cultural programming.  Carl Weyerhaeuser collected rare books, American paintings, Asian art, works on paper including American and European master prints (such as Rembrandt’s 1654 etching Descent from the Cross by Torchlight), and Shaker furniture and crafts.  The ACM collection now totals about 8,000 items, including approximately 1,800 works from the collection of Leland and Paula Wyman and others.  Its holdings of modern Japanese ceramics and American landscape paintings are particularly renowned.  Artists in the American collection include Benjamin West, Thomas Doughty, Sanford Gifford, Jaspar Cropsey, George Inness, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent, George Bellows and Charles Burchfield.  The Japanese ceramics collection largely comprises tea ceremony vessels and utensils collected in Japan in the 1970s from potters at 13 regional kiln sites, including Hagi, Bizen and several Kyoto potteries; and several other historically important pieces, including an early Raku tea bowl by Chōjirō.  The museum continues to collect Japanese ceramics, especially works by Japanese women potters.  The museum features two large galleries totaling 375 running feet of wall space.  The Weyerhaeuser Research Library serves the public, scholars and artists with over 8,000 titles, including rare books and manuscripts and artists’ books.  The ACM maintains an active, year-round calendar of exhibitions, art classes and workshops, lectures and gallery talks, concerts, and family and adult programs. The beautiful wooded 13-acre campus includes an authentic Japanese teahouse where traditional tea ceremonies are offered in summer, an outdoor sculpture garden, and the historic Judah Alden House, where art classes and small student/faculty exhibitions are held.

Tea ceremony at the Japanese Teahouse Shofuan, designed by Sano Gofu, 1975

Tea ceremony at the Japanese Teahouse Shofuan, designed by Sano Gofu, 1975

Admission is free, and the ACM is open year-round.  The Modernist wood facility was designed by the ACM’s first director Ture Bengtz and architect Richard Owen Abbott.  Current Director Charles Weyerhaeuser (BFA, Boston Museum School) is the son of the founders and has served as Director since 1974.  The staff of 12 is devoted and mainly long-serving.  The Board of Directors comprises 10 members, several of whom are Weyerhaeuser family members.  The strong family role in the governance of the museum ensures the continuation of the public-serving legacy of the founders.  The ACM is endowed and financially secure; consequently, the Collections Curator is asked to do only passive donor cultivation for collection gifts, not active fundraising or grant-writing.  To learn more, visit: http://www.artcomplex.org/index.html  and http://www.artcomplex.org/collections.html.

ABOUT DUXBURY, THE REGION, AND BOSTON

Duxbury, Massachusetts is an affluent seaside community located 35 miles southeast of Boston.  As part of Boston’s suburban South Shore and on the edge of Cape Cod Bay, it is commutable from Boston, Providence and the Cape.  The town is in a region steeped in history, with several of the Mayflower’s passengers among its founders and Plimoth Plantation just 12 miles south.  The area is rich in natural beauty, and the outdoors is quickly accessible through a network of conservation lands with trails, hiking and beaches.  An active maritime community of boaters and fisherman and many artists call the region home. The public-school system is highly rated and metropolitan amenities are at-hand in nearby Boston. 

One of American’s leading intellectual centers, Boston boasts some of the most prestigious universities and medical centers in the world.  The city is a world-class center for banking, health care and technology research.  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 many restaurant and brewery 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.  New England’s bountiful outdoor recreational activities are quickly accessible, including sailing, hiking and skiing.