Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

Under the direction of the Deputy Director and Robert and Elizabeth Nanovic Chief Curator, the Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art plays an integral role in the Portland Museum of Art (PMA’s) Art and Education Division, working closely with colleagues and artists to conduct research, plan installations, organize exhibition projects, develop interpretive materials, recommend acquisitions, and advance the PMA’s mission.

Position Type: 
Staff Positions
Department/Division: 
Art and Education
Reports to: 
Deputy Director and Robert and Elizabeth Nanovic Chief Curator
Essential Job Functions: 
  • Conceives and develops exhibitions and gallery installations that will enhance the public’s understanding of modern and contemporary art and the museum’s collections. Provides effective theme development, object selection, evaluation of external proposals, preparation of written support materials such as labels and catalogues, and plan of installation.
  • Researches and interprets works in the PMA’s holdings of modern and contemporary art and makes recommendations for acquisitions to further develop the collection in this area. Serves as an integral resource to internal and external constituencies on matters of scholarship related to modern and contemporary art. Fosters relationships with artists and collectors locally and nationally, actively soliciting their help in enhancing the collection. Communicates and maintains positive relationships with dealers.
  • Works with Exhibitions and Collections Division staff on coordination of logistics for exhibitions and publications, including contracts, loan agreements, rights and reproductions, design and installation, editing, and other details.
  • Works collaboratively with internal and external curators, museum educators, and designers in the creation of program content, and with the visitor experience and communications staff to expand audiences and support for the collection and for PMA programs.
  • Works collaboratively with the External Affairs Division to cultivate collectors and steward the PMA’s strong donor base. Participates in various development-related activities to secure program funding, including events, grant-writing and management, and presentations. Work closely with affinity groups, advise on programs and participate in their activities.
  • Provides gallery talks, lectures, and other presentations for various audiences including the public, PMA membership, PMA affinity groups, and the scholarly community on topics relating to the PMA’s collections and programs. Participates in various Board committee meetings, particularly those of the Collection Committee.
  • Manifests the PMA’s commitment to and support for Maine-based working artists through a rigorous program of studio visits and submission reviews.
  • Serves as a leader in programmatic initiatives related to the PMA’s multifaceted inclusivity and diversity action plan, which is designed to promote inclusiveness, prevent discrimination, and create an organization that challenges and changes practices that present barriers. Supports the PMA’s strategic goal to advance the culture of diversity in the workplace, in public programs, and in the community.
  • Fosters relationships with members of the public (scholars, critics, community groups, national professional organizations, and other relevant audiences) in encouraging interest in the PMA and enhancing the general and scholarly understanding of the PMA, its collections and its mission.
  • Fosters relationships and builds philanthropy with patrons of the PMA.
  • Performs special projects and other related duties as required, directed, or as the situation dictates.
  • Complies with all Portland Museum of Art safety rules and procedures.
  • Regular attendance at the workplace is required.
Supervisory Responsibility: 
May supervise occasional interns as directed, including interviewing and selection, training and development, scheduling, and evaluating performance.
Education and Experience: 
Master’s Degree in Art History with emphasis in modern or contemporary art. A.B.D. or Ph.D. preferred. Minimum of two years of curatorial or related professional experience.
Qualifications: 
  • Strong art historical knowledge and research skills demonstrated through scholarly accomplishments in modern and contemporary art history. Scholarly knowledge of another field related to the PMA’s collection is also desirable.
  • Proven writing skills, compelling public speaking presence, and excellent oral communication skills.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and to establish, maintain, and foster positive and harmonious working relationships with a variety of individuals contacted in the course of work.
  • Willingness and capacity to represent the PMA in a variety of contexts, including travel.
  • Demonstrated experience in exhibition development, publication development, and collection care.
  • Knowledge of and commitment to professional museum standards.
  • Excellent problem solving, planning, and organizational skills, with the ability to execute multiple projects and responsibilities simultaneously in a fast-paced, collaborative environment.
  • Interest in and working knowledge of museum technologies, including in-gallery technological innovations and collection management software.
  • Ability to handle sensitive and confidential information with discretion.
  • Ability to operate computers and work with databases and assigned software, including Microsoft Office.
  • Ability to pass a criminal background check.
  • Ability to travel occasionally
Working Conditions: 
  • The majority of work is performed in a normal office environment or in a museum or gallery setting not subject to extremes of noise, temperature, odor, etc. Operate computer, printer, photocopier, scanner, and other office equipment. Work involves extended sitting and computer use. Some of the research and exhibition preparation will require local, regional, and national travel.
Terms: 
The Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art position is a full-time, full-benefits, salaried, exempt, employment-at-will position.
To Apply: 
Please email cover letter, résumé, and completed PMA Application for Employment (available at https://www.portlandmuseum.org/about/employment), to Human Resources at acmca.pma.122017@portlandmuseum.org. Job applications will be accepted electronically only and will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. The Portland Museum of Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants shall receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, veteran status, status as a whistleblower, marital status, gender identity or expression, genetic information, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.

To Apply

Please email cover letter, résumé, and completed PMA Application for Employment (available at https://www.portlandmuseum.org/about/employment), to Human Resources at acmca.pma.122017@portlandmuseum.org. Job applications will be accepted electronically only and will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. The Portland Museum of Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants shall receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, veteran status, status as a whistleblower, marital status, gender identity or expression, genetic information, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.