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Harn Museum Curator of Contemporary Art

University of Florida
Florida, United States
Salary Not Specified
Closing date
Sep 1, 2021

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Position Type
Faculty Positions, Arts, Art, Art History, Professional Fields, Library & Information Sciences, Administrative, Academic Affairs, Arts Administration, Librarians & Library Administration
Employment Type
Full Time
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Classification Title:

Harn Museum Curator II

Job Description:

The Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida seeks a Curator of Contemporary Art to strengthen the development, research, presentation, interpretation, renown, and growth of the Museum’s collection of global contemporary art representing all media. In addition to specializing in contemporary art, theory or practice, the ideal candidate will possess at least one year of curatorial or research experience in the history of art by African, African-American, Black and/or African-diasporic artists. The candidate may be an emerging or already established curator.

The Harn’s Curator of Contemporary Art leads the development and interpretation of the Museum’s contemporary art collection encompassing more than 2,000 objects of international art in all media. The contemporary collection is presented in thematic exhibitions in an expansive 6,500 square-foot gallery within the Mary Ann Harn Cofrin Pavilion and the adjacent Bob and Nancy Magoon Garden. Major examples of outdoor contemporary sculpture are installed on the Harn grounds and the adjacent Cultural Plaza. Working in partnership with the entire curatorial team, the Curator of Contemporary Art takes the lead on the outdoor sculpture program at the Harn.

Global in perspective, the collection focuses on relevant issues and ideas in contemporary art practice. Thematic currents in the collection include an emphasis on social and political conditions, a concentration on materials and process, and conceptual modes of practice. Art by contemporary artists span the Harn’s collecting areas with works by El Anatsui, Radcliffe Bailey, Sammy Baloji, William Kentridge, Zanele Muholi, Kara Walker and Kehinde Wiley. Dynamic connections and synergies also exist with the Harn’s Asian, photography and modern collections providing many opportunities for collaboration across curatorial departments in terms of acquisitions, exhibitions, and programs.

The contemporary collection represents the work of diverse individuals including women, LGBTQIA+ artists, African-Americans, Black and Latinx artists, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, and international artists. The Harn seeks a candidate who is familiar with critical theories and histories of decolonization, race, ethnicity, class, ability, gender and sexuality in the production, reception and institutionalization of art and possesses a demonstrated investment in creating and fostering diversity and inclusion through their record of museum curatorial practice.

The University of Florida provides many rich opportunities for scholarly interaction with fellow Harn curators and professional colleagues. This candidate will possess the ability to and interest in collaborating on interdisciplinary exhibitions and related projects with other units across campus including the School of Art + Art History, the University Gallery; the African American Studies Program; the Center for African Studies; the Center for Latin American Studies; and Multicultural and Diversity Affairs.

The preferred candidate for the Curator of Contemporary Art is an accomplished professional in contemporary art with a record of scholarship, publications, acquisitions, exhibitions, and collaborative programming. The curator manages and develops the contemporary art collection in consultation with the Chief Curator and Museum Director. The position requires an ability to work collegially with all museum departments and with a diverse group of colleagues, faculty and students across the university. In developing exhibitions and related programs and publications, the curator collaborates with Harn colleagues as well as University of Florida faculty and students, the Gainesville community, and other museum colleagues nationally and internationally.


  • Curating exhibitions within the Museum and for travel to other institutions.
  • Interpretation of the permanent collection of contemporary art through exhibitions and publications in a variety of formats such as catalogue essays, wall texts, articles for the Museum’s magazine, and website.
  • Original research for publication and presentation for academic audiences and the general public.
  • Refining the collection and making recommendations for acquisitions and deaccessions.
  • Contributing to the development of the Museum’s overall strategic planning initiatives.
  • Cultivation and stewardship of donor relationships.
  • Conception and development of grants projects in collaboration with the Museum Director, Director of Development, and other museum staff.
  • Participation in national and international conferences and symposia.
  • Collaboration with Museum educators on development of public programs.
  • Providing lectures and tours to staff, docents, UF classes and the public.
  • Attending Museum events and collection visits outside of regular business hours, as necessary.
  • Mentoring Museum interns.
  • Responding to queries from museum colleagues and the general public.
  • Other duties as assigned.

The position requires time working outside the museum.

The position requires a substantial amount of time communicating by phone, email, video meetings, and in person.

Some travel will be required.

About the Harn Museum of Art ( )

The Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida is one of the nation’s leading university art museums employing approximately 50 full and part-time staff. The Museum is a 112,800-square-foot-facility, which includes 40,400 square feet of exhibition space, 5 garden spaces, a 250-seat auditorium, study center, museum store, café, and classroom spaces. The Harn Museum of Art has been accredited by the AAM (American Alliance of Museums) since 1997. The Harn’s collection totals more than 13,000 objects including African, Asian, modern, and contemporary art, and photography with significant representations of Ancient American and oceanic art, as well as a growing collection of works on paper dated prior to 1850.

The Harn Museum of Art is an integral part of the University of Florida. Since the museum opened September 22, 1990, it has served a wide and diverse audience with a broad range of programming, made easily accessible through free admission. The Museum collaborates with university and community partners to inspire, educate, and enrich people’s lives through art. The Museum brings the joy of experiencing great works of art to diverse university, community, national and global audiences through relevant and enlightening art collections, exhibitions and learning opportunities.


Gainesville ( ) is home to Florida's largest and oldest university, and so is one of the state's centers of education, medicine, cultural events, and athletics. The University of Florida and UF Health Shands Hospital are the leading employers in Gainesville and provide jobs for many residents of surrounding counties. Gainesville is also the largest city in Alachua County and is the county seat, with approximately 269,000 residents county-wide. It serves as the cultural, educational, and commercial center for the north central Florida region. The city provides a full range of municipal services, including cultural and nature services and necessary administrative services to support these activities. Additionally, the city owns a regional transit system, a regional airport, and a 72-par championship golf course. Known for its preservation of historic buildings and the beauty of its natural surroundings, Gainesville's numerous parks, museums and lakes provide entertainment to thousands of visitors. Because of its beautiful landscape and urban "forest," Gainesville is one of the most attractive cities in Florida. The city is in a central location to both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, providing easy access within a day’s drive to beaches, nature preserves, and water-based activities. For more information on the city of Gainesville, go to Explore Gainesville in 60 Seconds .


The University of Florida is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The University is committed to non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identify and expression, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations, genetic information, and veteran status in also aspects of employment including recruitment, hiring, promotion, transfers, discipline, terminations, wage and salary administration, benefits, and training. 

 We welcome nominations of and applications from anyone who would bring additional dimensions to the university’s research, teaching, extension, and clinical mission, including women, members of underrepresented groups, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities. 

The “government in the sunshine” laws of Florida require that all documents relating to the search process, including letters of application/nomination and reference, be available for public inspection. 

Expected Salary:

$55,000-$85,000 commensurate with experience.

Minimum Requirements:

Bachelor's degree in art, art history, museum studies, or a related field and one year of museum curatorial experience; or any equivalent combination of experience, training or education.

Preferred Qualifications:
  • PhD or Master’s degree in art history or related field, with a specialization in contemporary art, theory, or practice; three to five years of museum curatorial experience.
  • Accomplished professional in contemporary art or visual culture with a record of scholarship, publications, acquisitions, exhibitions, public speaking, and collaborative programming.
  • At least one year of specialized curatorial or research experience in the history of art by African, African-American and/or African-diasporic artists is highly desirable.
  • Commitment to working within a university setting and with diverse audiences and communities.
  • Ability to collaborate with university faculty, students and interns, museum staff, professional colleagues, and museum supporters to achieve institutional goals.
  • Knowledge of critical theories and histories of decolonization, race, class, ability, gender and sexuality in the production, reception, and institutionalization of art.
  • Demonstrated investment in creating and fostering diversity and inclusivity through record of museum curatorial practice.
  • Excellent organizational, interpersonal, communication and problem-solving skills.
  • Strong public speaking and written presentation skills.
  • Eagerness to work collaboratively and in an innovative manner.
  • Experience in donor cultivation and grant development.
Special Instructions to Applicants:

In order to be considered, you must upload:

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Resume
  3. Three professional references

Application must be submitted by 11:55 p.m. (ET) of the posting end date.

Health Assessment Required: No

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