MCA Chicago’s Chief Curator Steps Down

Elizabeth Smith, chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, will resign from her post on August 31, the Chicago Tribune reports. Madeleine Grynsztejn, the MCA’s president, characterized Smith’s upcoming departure as a “natural juncture” rather than a result of creative differences or economic troubles posed by the recession. Smith, fifty one, was appointed chief curator in 1999.

“I feel that I’ve accomplished a lot here. I’m interested and eager to do new things,” possibly museum work elsewhere or “something in a university setting,” she said in a telephone interview. Her resignation was her decision, by her account and Grynsztejn’s. The MCA will conduct an international search and hopes to name a replacement within six months. An interim chief curator, yet to be named, is expected to come from within its ranks.

Her major exhibitions include a widely praised 2004 retrospective of Lee Bontecou and a 2008 survey of Jenny Holzer. She also organized architecture and design exhibitions such as the 1999 show “At the End of the Century: 100 Years of Architecture,” for which she served as co-curator.