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Interview with artist Melissa Webb

Curator Kristen Hileman

Doreen Bolger, Director of The Baltimore Museum of Art, has announced the appointment of Kristen Hileman as Curator of Contemporary Art and Department Head of this important collection. Currently Associate Curator at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, Hileman will begin her position at the BMA on November 2, 2009.

“Since its inception, collecting and presenting contemporary art has been an important part of the BMA’s mission” said BMA Director Doreen Bolger. “Kristen Hileman continues this incredible legacy, bringing experience working with artists on collaborative projects and a familiarity with Baltimore’s cultural community that will serve the Museum well as she guides our contemporary program for future generations.”

During her eight years at the Hirshhorn, Hileman undertook projects on the work of Cai Guo-Qiang, Jim Hodges, and Oliver Herring in the Directions series in 2004, 2005, and 2006; organized the exhibition Ways of Seeing: John Baldessari Explores the Collection in 2006; and co-organized with other Hirshhorn curators The Cinema Effect: Illusion, Reality, and the Moving Image—Realisms in 2008, publishing an essay for the catalogue. Most recently, Hileman organized Strange Bodies: Figurative Works from the Hirshhorn Collection, which is on view until November 9. On October 8, 2009, the Hirshhorn will open Anne Truitt: Perception and Reflection, a major exhibition which she has organized and for which she has written the catalogue.

Hileman began her career at the Hirshhorn as a fellow in 2001, was named an Assistant Curator in 2003, and Associate Curator in 2007. Before joining the Hirshhorn staff she was a Curator at the Arlington Arts Center in Virginia. She has also held positions as an adjunct faculty member at the Corcoran College of Art and Design and George Washington University. She is a graduate of American University with a MA in Art History from the University of Maryland at College Park. In addition to her responsibilities at the Hirshhorn, Kristen has served as a juror for many exhibitions in the Mid-Atlantic region as well as a visiting critic at the Maryland Institute College of Art and at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has also published numerous articles and reviews.

One of Hileman’s first projects will be coordinating the BMA’s showing of Andy Warhol: The Last Decade, first U.S. museum survey of Warhol’s late paintings. This five-venue nationally touring exhibition is organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and scheduled to open in Baltimore in October 2010.The Museum has one of the largest collections of late works by Warhol in the United States and is a major lender to the exhibition.


Since its founding, the BMA has been exhibiting and collecting works by contemporary artists, resulting in an impressive collection of 20th- and 21st-century works of art alongside that of emerging talent. Featuring core works from the major contemporary art movements, this rapidly growing collection is housed in the spacious galleries of the 36,000 square-foot West Wing for Contemporary Art, a 1994 addition to the Museum. Notable in the collection are outstanding examples of Abstract Expressionism by Robert Motherwell and Jackson Pollack, Minimalism by Ellsworth Kelly and Donald Judd, and Conceptualist works by Sol LeWitt and Bruce Nauman. The BMA also has excellent Pop art with one of the country’s largest collections of late works by Andy Warhol, including major paintings from the 1980s. Among other important American contemporary artists represented in the collection are Robert Colescott, Willem de Kooning, Dan Flavin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Grace Hartigan, Jasper Johns, Barbara Kruger, Alison Saar, David Smith, and Frank Stella. Recent acquisitions include works by international artists such as Flower observatory (2003) by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson and Chandelier with Hands (2006) by Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn. In addition to painting and sculpture, the BMA holds a major collection of works on paper, particularly contemporary drawings.


General admission to the BMA is free; special exhibitions may be ticketed. The BMA is open Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. (except major holidays). The Museum is closed Monday, Tuesday, New Year’s Day, July 4, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The BMA is located on Art Museum Drive at North Charles and 31st Streets, three miles north of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. For general Museum information, call 443-573-1700 or visit

NOTE: Beginning Wednesday, September 2, 2009, the BMA will begin opening weekdays (Wednesday through Friday) at 10 a.m. Weekend hours will remain the same.

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