06:58 AM

The Philadelphia Museum of Art Announces New Curatorial Leadership

Eleanor Nairne joins as Department Head, Modern and Contemporary Art

Philadelphia, January 11, 2024 — The Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) is thrilled to announce the appointment of Eleanor Nairne as the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and Department Head, Modern and Contemporary. Nairne will join the PMA later this month.

Currently Senior Curator at Barbican Art Gallery in London, Nairne has curated many of the gallery’s best-attended and most critically acclaimed exhibitions, including Alice Neel: Hot Off The Griddle (2023), Soheila Sokhanvari: Rebel Rebel (2022), Lee Krasner: Living Colour (2019), Basquiat: Boom for Real (2017).

Before joining Barbican, Nairne was the curator of the Artangel Collection at Tate, where she organized more than 30 exhibitions and installations across the UK. In 2021, she was the guest curator for Eva Hesse / Hannah Wilke: Erotic Abstraction (2021) at Acquavella Galleries in New York and edited the accompanying publication. This exhibition was the first to pair the pioneering work of the two feminist post-minimalist sculptors, Eva Hesse and Hannah Wilke, and was selected by Frieze as one of the top 10 US exhibitions of 2021.

“We are excited to welcome Eleanor as the head of the PMA’s Modern and Contemporary Department,” said Sasha Suda, the George D. Widener Director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “Eleanor’s global background and limitless curiosity are what the PMA needs as it moves into its future.”

“I am delighted to be joining the Philadelphia Museum of Art,” said Eleanor Nairne. “The museum has an extraordinary collection and holds such a special place in the city and the broader art world. Having the opportunity to connect Philadelphia to international audiences through the museum’s incredible collection and program is a wonderful opportunity.”

Nairne received an MA in History of Art from Courtauld Institute of Art in 2010 and earned a BA in Modern History from Oxford University in 2008. She is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books, as well as The New York Times and others.  

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is also pleased to announce today that Trustees Lisa S. Roberts and David W. Seltzer have generously established an endowment for a full-time curator in the department of Modern and Contemporary Art, whose title will be The Lisa Roberts and David Seltzer Curator of Modern and Contemporary Design.

Notes to Editors

About the Philadelphia Museum of Art:
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a national and international destination for art, but first, we are Philadelphia’s Museum of Art—for all the many diverse communities of the city. Through our collections, exhibitions, events, educational activities, celebrations, and more, the PMA is a storyteller, and we welcome everyone to be part of the story—our doors are wide open. To learn more, visit www.philamuseum.org.

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