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Awards for Excellence Announced

Sunday, May 08, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Judith Pineiro
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For Immediate Release



Houston, Texas, May 8, 2016—The Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) & AAMC Foundation announced 2015 Awards for Excellence on Sunday, May 8.  AAMC was delighted to celebrate the accomplishments of the Awardees with an evening reception, hosted at The Menil Collection, during their Annual Conference & Meeting in Houston. Out of 90 nominations, 15 curators were selected for their achievements in varying fields of research.

“We were honored to present this to a group of outstanding Awardees,” said Helen C. Evans, President of the AAMC and AAMC Foundation, Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator of Byzantine Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, “The curatorial scholarship epitomized in the publications, articles, and exhibitions presented here however is only a small sampling of the outstanding projects of our members and the art curatorial profession as a whole.”

Through the Awards, launched in 2004, the AAMC has honored nearly 120 curators for their outstanding work in catalogues, essays, articles, and exhibitions.  The Prizes, as they were more informally known, are the only of their kind by which curators directly honor the work of their colleagues, and are highly esteemed by art curators everywhere. As curators and their roles evolve, the AAMC continues to review the Award categories and vetting process to be inclusive of all curatorial achievements in scholarship, education, and visitor experience. 

AAMC applauds the jurors and committee members for their time and thoughtful review of the nominations, in particular to the Prize Committee Chair, Carolyn Putney, Chief Curator, Curator of Asian Art (Retired, February 2015), Toledo Museum of Art, and now a Consulting Curator.  In addition, we are grateful to The Menil Collection for hosting the event.  A full listing of Awardees follows. 


2015 Awards for Excellence



Institution with an operating budget up to $4 million

First Place Award

Sarah Montross, formerly Andrew W. Mellon Post-doctoral Curatorial Fellow, Bowdoin College Museum of Art; currently Associate Curator, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum for Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art


Institution with an operating budget between $4 million and $20 million

Co-First Place Award

Christa Clarke, Senior Curator, Arts of Global Africa, Newark Museum for African Art in the Barnes Foundation: The Triumph of L’Art nègre and the Harlem Renaissance from The Barnes Foundation

Co-First Place Award
Marianna Shreve Simpson for Princeton's Great Persian Book of Kings: The Peck Shahnama from the Princeton University Art Museum


Institution with an operating budget over $20 million

First Place Award

Stephanie Barron, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Sabine Eckmann, William T. Kemper Director and Chief Curator, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum for New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic: 1919-1933 from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Honorable Mention

Emily Braun, Guest Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Distinguished Professor, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY for Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum


Article/ Essay

First Place Award

Alexandra Schwartz, Curator of Contemporary Art, Montclair Art Museum for Chaotic Input: Art in the United States, 1989-2001 from the Montclair Art Museum


Institution with an operating budget up to $4 million

First Place Award

Valérie Rousseau, Curator, Self-Taught Art and Art Brut, American Folk Art Museum for When the Curtain Never Comes Down at the American Folk Art Museum

Institution with an operating budget between $4 million and $20 million

First Place
Jens Hoffman, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs, The Jewish Museum and Susan Tumarkin Goodman, Senior Curator Emerita, The Jewish Museum for The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film at The Jewish Museum

Honorable Mention
Mark Scala, Chief Curator, Frist Center for the Visual Arts for Phantom Bodies: The Human Aura in Art at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts

Institution with an operating budget over $20 million

First Place Award
Peter John Brownlee, Curator, Terra Foundation for American Art; Valéria Piccoli, Chief Curator, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil 
and Georgiana Uhlyarik, Associate Curator, Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada all for Picturing the Americas: Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Honorable Mention
Austen Barron Bailly, The George Putnam Curator of American Art, Peabody Essex Museum, and lead curator for American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood, organized by the Peabody Essex Museum in collaboration with The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art at the Peabody Essex Museum


About the AAMC

The Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) has over 1,300 members from over 400 institutions around the globe. AAMC & the AAMC Foundation celebrate the curatorial narrative by supporting and promoting the work of art curators at all stages in their careers through opportunities for networking, collaboration, professional development, and career advancement.   In the ever-changing, non-profit, visual art world, AAMC is a voice for all curators—regardless of field, experience level, and institutional type.  We ensure that the curatorial perspective on art, museums, and educational issues are actively communicated to the public, media, and museum profession. For more information, please visit


About the AAMC & AAMC Foundation Annual Conference & Meeting

Welcoming nearly 300 curators at all stages of their careers, the AAMC & AAMC Foundation Annual Conference & Meetings is the only Conference where art curators from every discipline and type of institution meet to discuss issues facing the profession.  The Annual Conference & Meeting, open to all AAMC members, fosters the profession's cohesiveness by addressing issues of direct relevance, by assisting in professional development, and by promoting dialogue and exchange among curators. The multi-day program includes a keynote program, networking opportunities, workshops, discussions, receptions, and tours of host city cultural institutions. 


AAMC @ 15: Moving Forward Conference

Our 2016 Conference & Meeting, AAMC @ 15: Moving Forward, #aamc15yr, May 7 – 10, 2016, Houston, Texas, celebrates 15 years of AAMC.  This year our keynote presentation is an in-conversation between Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, and Hilton Als, staff writer and theater critic for The New Yorker.

Taking full advantage of the cooperative and creative alliances that are unique to Houston, AAMC worked with The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH); Asia Society Texas Center; The Menil Collection; Project Row Houses; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; University Museum, Texas Southern University; Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston; DiverseWorks; Aurora Picture Show, Rice University Art Gallery; and Rienzi and Bayou Bend Collections and Gardens, both part of MFAH, as hosts for our Conference. The sessions for the 2016 Conference include Lights in the Dark: Innovative Strategies for Film and Video ExhibitionsWhen All Art Is Contemporary: The Institutional Push for RelevanceExhibiting Controversy, Promoting Debate; and It’s Complicated: The Curator-Patron Relationship. Under the directive of the AAMC & AAMC Foundation’s Strategic Plan, and to support efforts to disseminate information that could serve to diversify the field, the Diversity Task Force and Executive Director have organized Diversifying the Curatorial Profession: How the Internship/Fellowship Track Can Be Our Essential Path Toward Change






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