Elissa Auther. Courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design, New York.

Museum of Arts and Design Promotes Elissa Auther to Chief Curator, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York announced today that Elissa Auther has been named its new chief curator and deputy director of curatorial affairs. Auther will be responsible for collaborating with director Chris Scoates on the museum’s exhibition program and acquisitions, fostering relationships with artists and designers, and developing strategies for engaging a broad audience. “A highly-valued colleague, Elissa is a gifted curator and scholar who is passionate about the vital and evolving importance of craft in contemporary art,” Scoates said. 

Auther joined MAD as its inaugural research and collections curator, a position funded by the Windgate Charitable Foundation, in December 2014. Since then, Auther has spearheaded an educational and curatorial partnership with the Bard Graduate Center and organized four major exhibitions, including “Vera Paints a Scarf” (2019–20) and “Surface/Depth: The Decorative After Miriam Shapiro” (2018).

Previously, Auther worked as an associate professor of contemporary art and as the director of the art history and museum studies program at the University of Colorado. She also served as adjunct curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, where she co-directed Feminism & Co.: Art, Sex, Politics, a series of public programs that examine feminist issues through the lens of creative practice, and curated traveling exhibitions such as the Marilyn Minter retrospective “Pretty/Dirty” (2015–16) with Bill Arning and “Improvisational Gestures” (2016–18), the first survey of work by the sculptor and performance artist Senga Nengudi, with Nora Burnett Abrams.

Commenting on her appointment, Auther said: “I am thrilled to be named chief curator at this pivotal moment for the museum. At a time when makers of all kinds are being swiftly assimilated into the larger art historical narrative, MAD is uniquely positioned to guide that conversation forward.”