MSU's Broad Art Museum Appoints Curator

A view of the planned Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum from the northwest.  Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects.
A view of the planned Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum from the northwest. Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects.

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University has appointed Alison Gass curator of contemporary art. Gass, who was named a young curator to watch by The New York Times in 2010, currently serves as assistant curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

At the Broad/MSU, Gass will be responsible for developing exhibitions and commissions of international scope, guided by the museum’s dual focus on presenting international contemporary art in all media, as well as thematic exhibitions that investigate contemporary works within a historical context.

Gass joins the new museum as it prepares to open its Zaha Hadid-designed building to the public on April 21, 2012. The Broad/MSU’s inaugural exhibitions, curated by founding director Michael Rush, include “Global Groove 1973/2012,” which will use Nam June Paik’s seminal 1973 video “Global Groove” as a jumping off point to explore current trends in international video art, and “In Search of Time,” which will investigate artists’ expressions of time and memory by creating dialogues among works by artists including Josef Albers, Romare Bearden, Damien Hirst, Toba Khadoori, Andy Warhol, Eadweard Muybridge and Sam Jury, among others.

“Alison Gass’ experience and fresh perspective will be a great asset as we launch this unique new institution—one of only a small group of university museums devoted to international contemporary art,” said Rush. “I look forward to working with her to shape an innovative exhibition program that will explore international contemporary culture and ideas through the probing gaze of artists.”

As assistant curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Gass has organized exhibitions for the museum’s “New Work Series,” which showcases emerging and midcareer artists, most recently with Tiago Carneiro Da Cunha, Klara Kristalova and Mika Rottenberg. She co-curated the 2008 “SECA Art Award” exhibition, and is currently organizing “Fifty Years of Bay Area Art: The SECA Awards.” Additionally, she served as assistant curator for the traveling retrospective “Luc Tuymans,” 2009. In the same year, The New York Times named Gass one of nine young curators to watch in the article “The New Guard Steps Up.”

Prior to joining SFMOMA, Gass worked at the Jewish Museum in New York, The Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. She has published and lectured on diverse aspects of contemporary art, and holds degrees in Art History from both Columbia University and the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.

“It is rare to have the opportunity to build a new arts institution from the time of its inception, and I am thrilled to be joining the Broad at MSU as it prepares to open in the spring,” said Gass. “It is particularly exciting to focus on engaging students with contemporary art, art history and the ways art speaks to contemporary experience around the world.”

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