The Philip and Lynn Straus Curator of Prints and Drawings
Department: Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center Duration of Position: Full year / Full time Work Schedule: Employee Type: Administrator Posting Date: 11/17/2020 Union Representation: Not Applicable Posting Number: AS011P Pay Rate:
About Vassar College Located in the scenic Mid-Hudson Valley, Vassar College is a highly selective, residential, coeducational liberal arts college. Vassar is strongly committed to fostering a community that reflects the values of a liberal arts education and to promoting an environment of equality, inclusion and respect for difference. Vassar College is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer, and applications from members of historically underrepresented groups are especially encouraged.Vassar College is a smoke-free, tobacco-free campus.
Position Summary and Responsibilities Founded in 1861 as one of the earliest women's colleges (and the first to become co-educational in 1969), Vassar College opened its doors with both an art gallery and an observatory, signaling Vassar's enduring educational philosophy of sending students to the source. Today's Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, designed by Cesar Pelli, is an accredited modern museum whose collections originated with a superb acquisition of Hudson River School paintings at the College's inception. Between then and now the collection has grown to more than 22,000 works, charting the history of art from ancient Egypt to the present, and featuring important examples of modern and contemporary painting, sculpture, and photographs, as well as Old Master paintings and works on paper. The curator oversees approximately 9,000 prints and drawings, with current areas of concentration in European prints and drawings (1500 to 1980); American prints and drawings (1800 to the present); and Japanese prints and scrolls (1750 to 1950). The collection supports the educational mission of the Loeb Art Center through faculty and student use, as well as an ambitious schedule of exhibitions offered to all of our audiences.
The Loeb Art Center seeks an experienced individual with superb academic credentials and the ability to help formulate and to advance a vision for a college art museum. In addition to an emphasis on prints and drawings, the Curator is expected to be knowledgeable about global developments and a diverse array of media. Moreover, teaching up to one course a year may be an option depending on the annual curricular needs of the Art Department. Therefore, expertise in areas beyond those already represented by the faculty would be especially welcomed (cf. https://art.vassar.edu/bios/#art-history).
Applications will be reviewed beginning after January 31, 2021 and the position will remain open until filled.
Candidates from underrepresented groups in higher education and art museums are strongly encouraged to apply. The Art Center is committed to building a diverse staff and strongly encourages applications from candidates of color.
Duties include day-to-day and long-range planning for the collection regarding preservation; cataloguing; interpretation through exhibitions and publications; donor stewardship, and working closely with the staff of the museum and campus partners in formulating policies, procedures, and goals.
Among the major responsibilities are acquisitions through gift and purchase of prints and drawings through diligent research of the needs of the collection, assessment of the availability of works on the market, quality, and history of the object in question, as well as research into its market value. The curator also plans significant exhibitions drawn from the Loeb Art Center's holdings of prints and drawings and from private and public collections; negotiates loans, including traveling to archives and libraries; developing the checklist; writing catalogue essays and didactic wall labels; preparing press releases; lecturing to the public; training student docents; and delivering gallery talks. The curator works closely with editors, designers, and publishers in preparing publications, invitations, banners, and other marketing materials.
Duties also include answering inquiries about the collection from faculty and outside scholars, as well as facilitating access to the database of objects in the collection. The curator coordinates retrieval of works for visitors; provides information on the objects; encourages diverse classes at Vassar and regional colleges to visit the print room and discusses with professors the range of works to be viewed; and talks to classesboth their own and with othersabout the objects, the techniques used in their making, the quality of their execution, and relevant art historical contexts.
The curator supervises and mentors student curatorial assistants and summer interns.
B.F.A. or B.A. and M.A. in art history or a related field with a special emphasis in works on paper is required, along with meaningful curatorial experience, ideally in an academic setting. A Ph.D. is preferred. The Loeb Art Center will consider candidates with five to seven years of increasingly responsible curatorial experience, with or without the Ph.D., so long as evidence of advanced research abilities and publications is present.
Advanced knowledge of research methodologies in the fields of prints and drawings is required, as is evidence of a growing network of relationships in the community of museums, galleries, and collectors.
A record of scholarly publication is important, as well as a knowledge of conservation practices and standards; familiarity with issues of cultural property ownership, laws, and ethics; experience with cataloguing works of art using automated collections management systems; and demonstrable written and spoken language skills for area(s) of expertise are essential.
Broad knowledge of the history of art, especially works on paper, including an interest in and familiarity with contemporary works on paper;
A demonstrated commitment to scholarship, accuracy, and attention to detail;
Experience in developing and organizing exhibitions, and placing prints and drawings within a range of contexts;
Excellent skills in research, writing, and verbal communication (foreign languages desirable);
Knowledge and aptitude in art handling best practices and safe handling of prints and drawings in a museum environment;
Prior experience in a collecting museum environment or similar visual art institution with project management experience strongly preferred;
Prior experience with collection management software, The Museum System (TMS), preferred;
Technical proficiency with personal computers and Microsoft Office suite;
A high degree of organization, self-motivation, ability to take initiative, exercise independent judgment, manage projects with minimal supervision, and adjust as new projects are assigned;
Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to work collaboratively with a diverse range of constituents including faculty, artists, patrons, and the public in a knowledgeable and professional manner;
Ability to exercise discretion and to be a team player in an active office environment;
Aptitude for (and preferably experience in) working effectively with collectors and prospective donors to cultivate collections and financial resources;
Experience and comfort working directly with people of all races, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, religious affiliations, physical abilities, ages, genders, and sexualities.
A strong orientation toward collaborative work in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment; and
Ability to work both autonomously and collectively as needed.
Special Instructions to Applicants To complete your on-line application, you will be required to attach your resume, cover letter, and contact information for 3 professional references. All attachments must be in PDF format. If you have any questions, please contact Human Resources, 845-437-5820.
For full consideration applicants should apply by: 01/31/2021
Founded in 1861, Vassar College is a highly selective, residential, coeducational liberal arts college. Consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country, Vassar is renowned for pioneering achievements in education, for its long history of curricular innovation, and for the beauty of its campus.