Metropolitan Museum of Art, Native North American Art
Dept-American Wing Associate Curator of Native North American Art
|Location:||New York, United States|
THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
Associate Curator of Native North American Art
About the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art collects, conserves, studies, presents, and interprets significant works of art across more than 5000 years and many distinctive cultures in order to connect people to creativity, knowledge, and ideas. Since the Museum’s founding in 1870, it has aspired to be more than a repository of rare and beautiful objects. The Met’s increased focus on diversity and inclusion in its collections, programming, and staff—as well as on enriched narrative content that prioritizes the visitor experience and public access—reflects an institutional belief in the power of art and ideas to engage broader audiences.
About the American Wing
Established in 1924, the American Wing is the only western collecting area of The Met’s seventeen curatorial departments to regularly blend so-called fine and decorative arts in our more than 75 galleries. With a collection of African American, Euro American, Latin American, and Native American art—representing roughly 20,000 objects and ranging primarily from the mid- 17th to early-20th century—the Wing is one of the largest and most comprehensive holdings of North American artistic expression in the world. These collections include paintings, sculpture, drawings, and decorative arts (furniture, textiles, regalia, ceramics, basketry, glass, silver, metalwork, jewelry), as well as historic interiors and architectural fragments, produced by highly trained and self-taught artists, both identified and unrecorded. An active department with a curatorial staff of 13, the Wing regularly programs diverse exhibitions and installations that bring fresh approaches to our wide-ranging material.
General Statement of Duties and Responsibilities:
In Fall 2018, the American Wing debuted the first major display of historical Indigenous American art to be held in its galleries—Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection. In conjunction with that significant installation of outright and promised gifts as well as long-term loans, the Wing is inaugurating a new Native arts program. This position represents the Museum’s first full-time appointment of a curator for this rich and complex material. The Associate Curator of Native North American Art will lay the groundwork and set the tone for this transformational moment in The Met’s history through thoughtful and creative oversight of the Diker Collection as well as other holdings, including the Ralph T. Coe Collection of historical and modern Indigenous American art, along with more recent acquisitions.
The Associate Curator will be responsible for planning and executing exhibitions, installations, and programs in the American Wing, and occasionally work with colleagues in other Museum departments that also hold Native North American material—including Arms and Armor; Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; Drawings and Prints; Modern and Contemporary; and Musical Instruments. Active collaborations with curatorial colleagues in the American Wing—exploring entangled narratives and themes of cross-cultural encounter and exchange between Native and non-Native individuals and communities—are also key to the position.
While the primary focus of the position will be the ongoing study, presentation, and interpretation of the current holdings and the development of long-term partnerships and reciprocity with Indigenous communities, scholars, artists, and audiences in the region and across the continent, there are also opportunities to further grow the collection of historical material through purchase or gift. Maintaining current and cultivating new relationships with collectors, donors, and descendent communities are also critical aspects of the job. The Associate Curator will work closely with The Met’s NAGPRA specialist and the American Wing’s collections manager to ensure provenance is thoroughly researched and the collection is cared for appropriately and sensitively.
Candidates for this position must demonstrate a strong background and interest in overseeing a major collection of historical Native arts. They will also be dynamic and seasoned museum professionals who have proven themselves as effective advocates for their area of expertise through some or all of the following ways: innovative research and interpretation; development of public or private collections; commitment to broad and inclusive audience engagement through exhibitions, installations, scholarly lectures, public presentations, and community partnerships. The ideal candidate with be a published scholar well-versed in a range of Indigenous American art (historical and contemporary), passionately interested in works of art and their cultural meanings and relevance, and deeply committed to The Met’s mission of inclusive access, collaboration, and dialogue. The Museum is committed to ensuring the success of this new position through varied forms of institutional support.
PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES & DUTIES:
- Oversee Native North American art in American Wing’s collection as well as promised gifts housed at Museum
- Plan and oversee regular rotations of Native arts, including selection of work and writing of interpretive didactics
- Propose and realize special exhibitions, installations, and accompanying publications—in collaboration with range of Museum colleagues—that highlight Native arts in focus and in dialogue with culturally diverse production for regional, national, and international audiences
- Develop robust collaborations and partnerships with Indigenous community members
- Working with American Wing collections manager, coordinate visits with tribal cultural heritage representatives, elders, academics, curators, and artists
- Research, catalogue, and publish collection of Native arts in print and on Museum website with particular attention to provenance research and incorporation of source-community information
- Assist with growth of Met’s diverse collections of Indigenous North American art, including recommendations for acquisitions, by working with other curators, collectors, and communities
- Cultivate potential donors, including for departmental support groups
- Contribute to educational mission of Museum through public lectures, docent training, and mentoring of interns and fellows; outside teaching opportunities are also possible
- Respond to public inquires about Native arts at Museum
- Foster and maintain positive working relationships with departmental colleagues across Museum and institutions in the U.S. and abroad as well as with members of scholarly and source communities, dealers, collectors, and other individuals involved with Met
REQUIREMENTS & QUALIFICATIONS
Experience and Skills:
- 3-5 years of relevant work with historical Native North American collections in museum or academic setting
- Demonstrable connections with descendent communities
- Sensitive understanding of current curatorial practice and methodologies, especially regarding Indigenous North American arts and culture, including provenance research and NAGPRA repatriation
- Meaningful contributions to field of Native arts through publication, exhibition, and public speaking
- Ability to work effectively with Indigenous communities in partnership with curatorial and other colleagues in American Wing and across Museum in executing projects such as special exhibitions, rotations, and educational programs
- Experience in cultivating donors and collectors
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills (written, oral, visual)
- Ability to contribute to an inclusive and positive work environment
Knowledge and Education:
- MA in History of Art , Visual Studies, Cultural Anthropology, or Cultural History, required; ABD or PhD, preferred
- Expertise in broad spectrum of historical Native arts and general knowledge of contemporary production
- Demonstrated achievement in current curatorial practice
The Metropolitan Museum of Art provides equal opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, mental or physical disability, pregnancy, alienage or citizenship status, marital status or domestic partner status, genetic information, genetic predisposition or carrier status, gender identity, HIV status, military status and any other category protected by law in all employment decisions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, compensation, training and apprenticeship, promotion, upgrading, demotion, downgrading, transfer, lay-off and termination, and all other terms and conditions of employment. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and national service alumni encouraged to apply.
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|Primary Category:||Native American History / Studies
|Secondary Categories:||American History / Studies