Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Initiatives

Company Name: 



1200 Getty Center dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Job Description: 

Our Mission

The J. Paul Getty Museum seeks to inspire curiosity about, and enjoyment and understanding of, the visual arts by collecting, conserving, exhibiting and interpreting works of art of outstanding quality and historical importance and is one of four programs of the J. Paul Getty Trust. The Museum operates two sites, the Getty Villa in Malibu, which exhibits its collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, and the Getty Center in Brentwood, which displays its collections of European art: Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts, paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, drawings to 1900, and photography to the present day (including non-European works). The Museum mounts approximately 25 temporary exhibitions a year across its two sites; maintains an annual permanent gallery improvement program and offers wide-ranging and ambitious programming for its visitors.

The Opportunity

The J. Paul Getty Museum seeks a Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Initiatives to develop the Museum’s program in 20th- and 21st-century art. Working independently as well as in collaboration with the Museum’s curatorial departments, the Curator develops programs that make engaging and meaningful connections between the Getty’s collections, exhibitions, architecture, and site and contemporary art and culture. Aside from photographs, the Museum does not collect contemporary art (although it does hold numerous works by 20th- and 21st-century artists).


The Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Initiatives will play a key role in developing and implementing the Museum’s program in contemporary art. The Curator will organize an ongoing series of artist installations in the Museum’s entrance hall and other potential locations on the Getty’s campus; work with curatorial departments to conceptualize interventions and installations in the collection’s galleries; serve as the Museum’s primary modern and contemporary curator for the special exhibitions program; and organize and advise on associated programs to expand and enrich the Museum’s interpretive goals and audience engagement.


The successful candidate will have a track-record of curating exhibitions and displays of contemporary art; well-developed relationships within the world of contemporary art, including artists, gallerists, and museum professionals; the broad art historical background to bring context and insight to the interpretive program; and the ability and willingness to develop compelling and inclusive narratives for diverse audiences. Reporting to the Associate Director for Collections, the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Initiatives will be a team player, working collaboratively with other curators, as well as with colleagues from Public Programs, Conservation, Design, Exhibition, Education, Interpretive Content, Registrars, Imaging Services and Preparators, and with curatorial colleagues at the Getty Research Institute.


  • Works closely with Associate Director for Collections and Associate Director for Exhibitions to develop and implement the Museum’s initiatives in modern and contemporary art.
  • Develops and implements gallery displays, exhibitions, temporary commissioned installations, and associated publications and public programs, incorporating diverse and inclusive stories that introduce new voices and perspectives.
  • Engages with artists, gallerists, and collectors in Los Angeles and beyond to develop projects and initiatives that meet the Museum’s programmatic goals.
  • Works collaboratively with Getty curators, conservators, interpretation specialists, scholars, public programmers, and educators on projects developed by the Curator as well as emerging from other departments.
  • Travels for research, exhibitions and art fairs, and networks internationally to develop working relationship with artists, gallerists, museum professionals, and academics.
  • Publishes and lectures in area of specialization.
  • Communicates and engages with patrons, scholars, educators, docents, and the general public.
  • Works with the development team to identify and cultivate sponsors and donors for contemporary initiatives.


  • Master’s degree in art history, art or art education OR 7-10 yrs of curatorial experience OR Ph.D.
  • Fluency in at least one foreign language (modern or ancient) required
  • Top level contributor in one or more specialized curatorial functions

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