National Gallery of Art Announces Appointment of New Chief Curatorial and Conservation Officer E. Carmen Ramos

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  • May 16, 2021

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E. Carmen Ramos, Chief Curatorial and Conservation Officer. National Gallery of Art Photo © 2021 Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington

The National Gallery of Art has announced that E. Carmen Ramos will join its senior leadership team as chief curatorial and conservation officer. The first female and the first person of color in this role, Ramos will support the National Gallery's mission, vision, and strategic priorities. She will also represent the institution's values in ways that both build from its history and reflect the nation as she oversees all aspects of the curatorial and conservation departments at the National Gallery of Art. Ramos will begin her tenure in August 2021.

"E. Carmen Ramos brings two decades of experience as a museum curator and leader, a record of significant award-winning projects, and a deep commitment to scholarship," said Kaywin Feldman, director of the National Gallery of Art. "She is widely admired in the field as a visionary leader and as a scholar. We look forward to collaborating with Carmen at this exciting moment in the National Gallery's history—as we are launching a reimagined visual identity and brand that aims to reflect and reach our audiences with warmth, relevant exhibitions, and engaging content."

"I am honored to join the National Gallery at this transformative moment in our nation's history, when museums are recommitting themselves to deeper inclusive practices, collections, and exhibitions," said E. Carmen Ramos. "It is important that we continue to expand the boundaries of art history, making sure our scholarship reflects a fuller and more complex picture of our nation and world. I am excited to work with the National Gallery's stellar curatorial and conservation team to serve our nation by developing exhibitions and collections that connect with the museum's current and future audiences."

E. Carmen Ramos

Ramos joins the National Gallery from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), where she was the acting chief curator and curator of Latinx art. During her tenure at SAAM, Ramos expanded the museum's leading collection of Latinx art with an eye toward challenging the exclusion of Latinx art from US art history and capturing the broad aesthetic and regional range of the field. She curated major exhibitions, including Tamayo: The New York Years (2017), Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography (2017), and Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art (2013), which traveled to eight cities across the country and received a 2014 Excellence Award from the Association of Art Museum Curators. Ramos's latest exhibition, ¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now (2021), considers the remarkable history of Chicano graphics that began in the midst of the civil rights movement and remains vital today.


Prior to joining SAAM, Ramos was an assistant curator at the Newark Museum of Art in New Jersey and, before attending graduate school, a public programs educator at the Brooklyn Museum. Ramos has held internships at the Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. She was also a fellow in the Smithsonian Latino Museum Studies Program.

Ramos holds a PhD and MA in art history from the University of Chicago (Illinois) and a BA in art history and psychology from New York University (New York). She serves on the board of the Association of Art Museum Curators and on the editorial board of UCLA's journal Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture.

Chief Curatorial and Conservation Officer

The chief curatorial and conservation officer reports to the director and is a member of the National Gallery's senior leadership team and a chief advocate for the primacy of art.

In this role, Ramos will lead the National Gallery's large curatorial and conservation departments, directing scholarship efforts and establishing research priorities. She will lead efforts to develop the understanding of art through research, conservation, collecting, and exhibitions in ways that reflect our nation and its histories. She will build strategic partnerships for the National Gallery locally, nationally, and internationally. As an advocate for curatorial and conservation, Ramos will foster collaboration and innovation with other departments across the museum. She will serve as the principal architect of the visitor experience with the collection in the galleries and will be responsible for developing and implementing the evolution of the collection's growth and installation over time.


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