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Curating from the Outside Webinar
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Curating From the Outside
August 2014


Sharing curators, hiring independent curators, and tapping into non-curatorial scholars is becoming more common in the museum world, along with non-traditional titles such as Consulting or Advising Curator, Curator-in-Residence and Curator-At-Large. This webinar will examine the role of the independent curator or academic as it relates to museum culture, including logistics of contracts, expectations and assessment. Panelists will share successful case studies including perspectives on both the pros and cons of curating from outside the institution, considering what are the differences and similarities in curatorial values. How is this phenomenon of partnering with outsiders for museums changing our understanding of the role of curator inside museums? This webinar will focus on the salient points related to curating from the outside for both historical and contemporary exhibitions, and both from outside and inside the museum walls.

Additional Resources and References
(click on the document name below to view a sample PDF)

Outside Author Contract Template
Consultant Curator Letter
Independent Curator Letter/Contract
Standard Guest Curator Agreement
Traveling Exhibition Proposal Sample
Sample Letter of Agreement


Panelists (listed alphabetically)
Christopher Bedford, Henry and Lois Foster Director, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University; Valerie Ann Leeds, Independent Scholar and Curator; and Judith W. Mann, Curator of European Art to 1800, Saint Louis Art Museum


Patricia Watts, Independent Curator and Founder of

(listed alphabetically)

Christopher Bedford
is the Henry and Lois Foster Director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. Since joining the Rose in September of 2012, he has organized exhibitions by Walead Beshty, Chris Burden, and Mika Rottenberg, in addition to the new exhibition initiatives Rose Projects and Rose Video. Prior to joining the Rose, Bedford was Chief Curator at the Wexner Center for the Art at The Ohio State Univeristy in Columbus, where he organized numerous exhibitions including Hard Targets (a multimedia show exploring sports and masculinity) and Mark Bradford, a major mid-career survey of the L.A.-based artist. Prior to joining the Wexner Center, Bedford was an assistant curator in the Department of Contemporary Art at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and served as a curatorial assistant and then consulting curator in the department of sculpture and decorative arts at the Getty Museum in L.A. Bedford has published essays, book reviews, editorials and exhibition reviews, as well as numerous essays in anthologies and exhibition catalogues. A citizen of the UK, Bedford holds a B.A. in art history from Oberlin College and an M.A. in art history from Case Western Reserve University.

Valerie Ann Leeds
is an independent scholar living in New Jersey. She has served as adjunct curator of American Art at the Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan, and prior to that held curatorial positions at the Orlando Museum of Art, the Tampa Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She earned her M.A. at Syracuse University, and her Ph.D. in American Art at the City University of New York. Dr. Leeds is an expert on the work of Robert Henri, and has organized exhibitions, lectured, and written on various subjects in American art. Exhibitions Leeds has curated for the Boca Museum of Art include Andrew Wyeth: American Master (2005), Shock of the Real: Photorealism Revisited (2008), and Southwestern Allure: The Art of the Santa Fe Art Colony (2013). And, she has curated two exhibitions that are currently traveling Along His Own Lines: A Retrospective of New York Realist Eugene Speicher, the first exhibition on the work of Speicher since 1963 for the Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz, and Spanish Sojourns: Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain organized for the Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah that is the first exhibition to explore Henri's Spanish subjects.

Judith W. Mann
is Curator of European Art to 1800 at the Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM). She holds an MA and PhD from Washington University in St. Louis. In the fall of 2012, Judy curated Federico Barocci: Renaissance Master with consulting curator Dr. Babette Bohn, a specialist in Italian Art at Texas Christian University, to bring a fresh perspective on the artist. The exhibition was subsequently presented at the National Gallery, London, and received the AAMCs Outstanding Monographic Exhibition Award. Mann was the organizing curator for the 2001-2002 exhibition, Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi: Father and Daughter Painters in Baroque Italy, that opened at the Palazzo Venezia, Rome, in October, 2001, and was subsequently seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York before coming to St. Louis in June, 2002. Mann has also curated a number of traveling exhibitions for SLAM, including The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy, in 2010; Painted Prayers: Books of Hours from the Morgan Library, in 2004/2005; and The Invisible Made Visible: Angels from the Vatican, in 1998.

Patricia Watts
is an independent curator, founder of ecoartspace
, and former Chief Curator at the Sonoma County Museum in Northern California. She has over twenty years of experience working with contemporary artists focused on art and nature. Watts holds a BA in Business Administration from Stephens College, and an MA in Museum Studies/Exhibition Design from California State University. While Chief Curator she organized a series of exhibitions from the Tom Golden Collection, one of the largest collections in the nation of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's preparatory works. She also curated solo shows of Ruth Asawa from the Paul Lanier Collection, and Marguerite Wildenhain from the Forrest L. Merrill Collection. Watts has organized twenty exhibitions as guest curator for alternative spaces, university and college galleries, and museums; and more recently as consulting curator for the Marin Community Foundation in California.

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