Sue Spaid, a renowned curator and innovator of contemporary art discourse for nearly 25 years, has been named Executive Director of the Contemporary Museum, announced president of the museum’s board of trustees Pamela Berman. Miss Spaid will join the museum on December 13, following her commitment teaching classes in Engineering Ethics and Aesthetics at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
An independent curator, Miss Spaid’s exhibitions are well-known and highly regarded for their unusual attention to commissioned, site-specific work, environmental art practices and interdisciplinary collaborations between artists and scientists. She often presents works by accomplished artists overlooked by the art world. Most notable is “Ecovention: Current Art to Transform Ecologies” (2002), which featured works by 33 artists and is the first-ever exhibition to focus on artist-initiated and realized ecological solutions to environmental issues. Her exhibition “Action Station: Exploring Open Systems” at the Santa Monica Museum of Art was the first museum exhibition to survey participatory art. Miss Spaid also curated the first museum shows for artists Rob Pruitt, Jeremy Blake and Lezley Saar, and is currently working on “Green Acres: Artists Farming Fields, Greenhouses and Abandoned Lots,” which opens in 2012 at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, where she was Curator for several years. In addition to presenting works by undiscovered and daring emerging artists, Miss Spaid has also worked with internationally known artists including Polly Apfelbaum, John Bock, Diana Cooper, Joseph Grigely, Carsten Höller, Jörg Lenzliner + Gerda Steiner, Yoko Ono, Matthew Ritchie, Pipilotti Rist, Tomoko Takahashio, and Gillian Wearing.
Miss Spaid recently received a prestigious Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award, which honors curators who develop thematic exhibitions that challenge conventional approaches through the exploration of critical ideas in contemporary art. She was also awarded an NEA Access to Artistic Excellence grant for an upcoming outdoor exhibition at the Abington Art Center in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.
In addition to curating exhibitions for institutions, Miss Spaid also operated the Los Angeles gallery Sue Spaid Fine Art, helping to launch the careers of many undiscovered artistic vanguards.
A prolific writer, critic, teacher, and lecturer, Miss Spaid received critical acclaim for her 18-city lecture tour, “The Gist of Isness,” which challenges esteemed philosopher and art critic Arthur Danto’s notion of “aboutness.” Her theories are based on extensive studies with Danto.
“Sue Spaid brings an uncommon breadth of knowledge, vision and passion to the exploration of contemporary art and culture,” said Ms. Berman. “As the Contemporary enters its third decade, Sue is the ideal person to guide us in experiencing and understanding the art and culture of our time.”
Said Miss Spaid, “The Contemporary Museum is nationally and internationally known for the quality of its exhibits and experiences. I am honored to help the board, staff and supporters achieve the museum’s mission, especially to continue the Contemporary’s role in distinguishing Baltimore as a cultural destination.”
Ms. Spaid received a BA and BS from the University of Texas, Austin, and an MA in Philosophy from Columbia University.
About the Contemporary Museum: The Contemporary Museum promotes the art and culture of our time by producing and presenting new works, new thinking, and new practices that are immediately relevant. The Contemporary has earned international acclaim for its thought-provoking exhibitions, innovative programming, and unique collaborations with artists, curators, critics, and members of the community.