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Administration, Arts and Culture, Nonprofit and Social Impact

Curator, Modern & Contemporary Art

  • Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
  • Charlotte, NC

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art seeks an innovative, collaborative curator of Modern and Contemporary Art to lead the curatorial direction for this young museum and to manage its superb collection of mid-century Modernist art.

About Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

Opened in 2010, the Bechtler is a jewel of a museum, only the second in this country designed by the Swiss architect Mario Botta. It is intimate in scale, delightfully arresting in its spaces and vistas and simple and elegant in its materials. A key design element of the four-story structure is the soaring glass atrium that extends through the museum’s core and diffuses natural light throughout the building. The open atrium allows for visual interplay between spaces. Other notable features include a vaulted skylight system and an enveloping terra cotta exterior.

The building’s dominant feature is the fourth-floor gallery, which makes a bold and dramatic statement as it flies out from the core of the building, cantilevered and supported by a swelling column rising from the plaza below. Inside, Botta maintained a rigorous but elegant simplicity in the palette of materials which include steel, glass, terra cotta, black granite, polished concrete and wood. Botta also designed select pieces of furniture for the museum including the reception desk, café bar, gallery benches, and hanging globe lights.

The Bechtler Museum houses the collection of Andreas Bechtler, amassed by the Bechtler family over 70 years, which he committed to the City of Charlotte with the intention of founding a museum with the mission to “inspire, inform, and enhance cultural and intellectual life.”  The collection includes works by the most important and influential artists of the mid-20th century, including Miró, Giacometti, Picasso, Calder, Hepworth, Nicholson, Warhol, Tinguely, Ernst, Le Corbusier, Chillida, and many others. Only a handful of these wonderful artworks had previously been on public view in the United States. A selection of works from the collection, as well as exhibition lists, an overview of the collection strengths, and more history of the Bechtler family, can be viewed at http://bechtler.org/Collection.

The Bechtler is located within the Levine Center for the Arts on the southern edge of Uptown Charlotte. The total project encompasses approximately four acres and features plazas, public art, and retail. Along with the Bechtler, centerpieces of the project include the Mint Museum Uptown, the Knight Theater, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, and the Duke Energy Center. The institutions often work together on a variety of collaborative projects.

For more information on Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, please visit http://bechtler.org.

The Opportunity

The Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Bechtler will have the opportunity to steward, engage with, and build exhibitions both from a stellar collection in a young museum, in collaboration with colleagues in programming, marketing and communication, development, and operations, and from the work of important living artists. Forward-looking and innovative, this individual will elevate the Bechtler’s profile through exhibitions that encourage new understandings of exemplary works of modernist and contemporary art.

Responsibilities

Serving as a member of the museum’s senior management team, the Curator directs the operations of the curatorial department. In consultation and under supervision of the Executive Director, the Curator oversees and executes the Museum’s artistic program and sets the direction and master calendar of the exhibition program. As such, the Curator provides the museum with leadership in the organization and content of exhibitions, their interpretation, accompanying scholarship, and related efforts. The Curator ensures that the annual exhibition program meets the mission of the museum and is fundable and marketable. The Curator works with the Chief of Staff and Head of Exhibitions and Collections to ensure smooth installation and project management of exhibitions, the Deputy Director for Development to cultivate civic, philanthropic, and governmental relationships and the Deputy Director for Marketing and Communications to guarantee marketability of content on various channels.

The next Curator of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art will display a passionate interest in 20th-century modernism and the artists and movements inspired by these works. They will be highly motivated and able to work collaboratively with internal and external constituents including Board members, curators, scholars, conservators, and educators. They will bring a forward-looking approach to building exhibitions from the collection and beyond that explore global modernism and its legacies.

The successful candidate will have excellent organizational skills, exceptional and accessible communication skills, and a spirit of openness and collaboration. The Curator plays a key role as a steward of the collection and will bring best practices to collections management in storage, display, travel, and conservation.

Primary Functions

60% Exhibition Program. Conceptualize and present a balanced schedule of special exhibitions. Provide philosophical leadership for the planning of exhibitions to ensure these offerings further the museum’s mission.

25% Research and Partnership Development. Conduct original research on exhibitions and works in the permanent collection and develop relationships with individuals and organizations nationally and internationally.

5% Strategic Planning. Work with other department heads and the executive director on realizing institution-wide goals including new strategic plan.

5% Fundraising. Including donor cultivation and grant preparation.

5% Work related to permanent collection. Including collection plan, loan requests, etc. in consultation with head of collections and exhibition management.

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

Curatorial Leadership

The Curator will have a sophisticated understanding of and passion for modern art and art history, along with a robust record of exhibitions, digital innovation, and scholarly publications. They will have demonstrable success conceptualizing, designing and implementing compelling and visitor-centered curatorial and collection strategies and will be adept at working with colleagues to bring them to life. The Curator will be comfortable in the broader arts and cultural community to advance the mission of the Bechtler locally, nationally, and internationally. They will possess a high-level of cross-cultural competency and embrace the value found in our differences in all forms. This leader will have excellent presentation, verbal, and written communication skills.

Innovative Approach to Interpretation and Display

The Museum is commited to activating the collection with a forward-looking lens. It is imperative that the next Curator demonstrate leadership and passion for broad as well as deep narrative approaches that connect the Museum’s current and future audiences to the works of art on view.

Collaboration and Relationship-Building

The successful candidate must build rapport and cultivate relationships across all levels of the Museum. This individual will foster trust and collaboration among team members and will possess the ability to connect to others with diplomacy, flexibility, and poise. They will be skilled at listening to and learning from leadership, staff, and volunteers, and will embrace the culture of the Museum, while always having an eye on opportunities to implement best-in-class practices in a productive manner with colleagues.

Passion for the Mission

Fully embracing the mission of the Bechtler and its relationship with the communities it serves, the Curator will have an anchor in European modernism and will understand how legacy family collections and archival materials intersect with our contemporary world. They will be passionate about working in partnership with the staff, trustees, donors, and others to advance the mission of the Museum. The ideal candidate will possess and promote a deep appreciation for the collection and will demonstrate a commitment to public engagement and the visitor experience. They must see the potential to expand the exhibition program, taking advantage of the reconsideration of modernism from a global perspective and focusing on geographic areas that have been heretofore overlooked. The Curator will have a strong work ethic, emotional intelligence, and a sense of humor. Additionally, this Curator will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics, and values: someone who can be trusted without reservation.

Education

Advanced degree in art history, curatorial studies, or closely related field required; PhD preferred. Qualified candidates will bring expertise in organizing and curating museum exhibitions, with a background in modern art 1925-1980 preferred.

Compensation & Benefits

The Bechtler Museum of Art offers a generous benefits package; the salary range for this position begins at $100,000, commensurate with experience.

About Charlotte, NC

Charlotte is one of the 25 largest cities in the U.S. and the largest city in North Carolina. Nicknamed the Queen City, Charlotte and its resident county are named in honor of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the queen consort of British King George III during the time of the city’s founding.

Nearly 800,000 live and work in the Charlotte; it consistently ranks as one of the top growing cities and is the home to more than 10 Fortune 1000 companies, including household names such as Bank of America, Lowe’s and Wachovia Corp. Charlotte is also home to the Carolina Panthers of the NFL; the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA; the MLS’s newest team, the Charlotte FC; the NASCAR Hall of Fame; and the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Other amenities that make Charlotte a great place to live and work include numerous higher learning organizations, cultural centers and health care facilities.

To learn more about Charlotte, please visit https://www.charlottesgotalot.com.

Contact

Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Naree Viner and Tenley Bank of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials here, or email Tenley directly at tbank@koyapartners.com. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email NonprofitSearchOps@divsearch.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.