Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

Posted on 06/17/2019

Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
Philbrook Museum of Art – Application Deadline: Open until filled

Philbrook Museum of Art is a vibrant cultural institution in Tulsa, Oklahoma that welcomes over 170,000 visitors each year. The main museum is a 1920s Italianate Villa nestled in 25 acres of designed gardens and features selections from the collection of approximately 14,000 objects. A modern wing of the Villa and a satellite location in downtown Tulsa present a dynamic and ambitious program of rotating exhibitions. With artworks from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe dating from 3,000 BCE to today, Philbrook is Oklahoma’s most comprehensive art museum and offers visitors a glimpse into a broad range of cultures, time periods, and perspectives. The diverse collection supports a vision in which museums foster deeper understanding of ourselves, our rich community fabric, and our ever-shrinking world. 

Philbrook holds the visitor at the core of its mission, which is to be an essential and exceptional participant in the cultural, educational, and economic life of a growing and diverse community, and to inspire the broadest possible public engagement, access, and service.

Position Overview
Philbrook Museum of Art is seeking a Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. All levels of curatorial experience are encouraged to apply as this position may be filled as an Assistant, Associate, or full Curatorial level. The Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art is responsible for the ongoing development, study, interpretation, and presentation of Philbrook’s collection of modern and contemporary art. Organizes exhibitions and programs relevant to diverse local audiences and in alignment with the Museum’s mission and strategic goals. Researches, publishes, and lectures on the collection, exhibitions, and related topics. Actively engages and builds networks of local, national, and international artists, gallerists, curators, critics, and collectors. In collaboration with the Development office, cultivates donors and solicits gifts of art to the collection. Builds meaningful relationships within the community, engages Museum audiences strategically, and supports artistic practices at a range of levels.


  • Outreach & Visibility: Nurture mutually beneficial relationships with artists, gallerists, donors, collectors, critics, and other museum colleagues locally and nationally. Stay current with the field of contemporary art, including new and emerging artists as well as broader trends and developments. Serve as staff lead for Contemporary Consortium; the Museum’s collecting group.
  • Research & Exhibition Development: Conceptualize and organize exciting, dynamic temporary exhibitions and collection installations that appeal to local audiences. Tour exhibitions when appropriate. Identify traveling exhibitions that will serve strategic institutional goals. Serve as curator for special projects when assigned.
  • Programming: Create innovative programs geared towards a broad general audience. Present information to docents, collectors, interest groups, or other organizations in the form of lectures and public programs on the collection, exhibitions, and related topics.
  • Collection Development & Stewardship: Actively and strategically grow the collection through both gifts and purchases and recommend deaccessions when appropriate. Contribute to the ongoing creation of the comprehensive catalogue of Philbrook’s collections, including verifying, correcting, and augmenting existing collection records.
  • Administrative: Collaborate across the institution to support efforts in fundraising, education, collection care, programming, public relations, and communications. Develop and administer annual operating budget, as well as project-specific budgets, for exhibitions and other special programs for modern and contemporary art collection activities. Recruit, select, train, schedule work activities, and supervise interns and volunteers working with modern/contemporary art collection.
  • Maintain prompt and reliable attendance in order to successfully perform the duties of the job.

Required Qualifications

  • Embraces the evolving relationship between museums and their audiences and uses evaluative methods to better understand and serve those audiences. Participates in evaluation of programs on an ongoing basis and responds appropriately to feedback to ensure a successful process of continual improvement.
  • Builds meaningful relationships within the community, engages Museum audiences strategically, and supports artistic practices at a range of levels.
  • Kind and gracious, with a sense of humor and innate curiosity.


  • Excellent oral and written communication skills with strong public speaking skills. Able and willing to engage a broad range of constituents including academic and public audiences, visitors, artists, collectors, dealers, and potential donors.
  • Flexible and goal-oriented, with the ability to handle constantly changing priorities
  • Creative, open-minded, and committed to innovative museum practice
  • Appreciates working within an organizational structure that values intradepartmental collaboration, teamwork, and welcomes ideas from unconventional sources
  • Diplomatic and demonstrates keen cultural sensitivity
  • Thorough knowledge of museum practices, including collections care, exhibition development processes, and interpretation
  • Comfortable with personal computers, including word processing, digital imaging, and database applications

Equivalent Education/Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in art history or related field; Master’s or PhD preferred
  • At least three years of curatorial experience
  • This position may be filled at the Assistant, Associate, or Full Curator level, depending on education and experience.

Please submit a cover letter and resume to [email protected].