Andrea Inselmann is the first and only Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art in the Johnson’s history, bringing artists and art of our time to campus for over a decade. This position is critical to ensuring that the Museum plays a prominent role—regionally as well as nationally—in addressing challenging contemporary issues in the visual arts and in supporting Cornell’s highly prized progressive tradition and emphasis on innovation. 


Promoting Educational Excellence

The establishment of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art in 2002 affirmed the Museum’s desire to seriously explore what drives contemporary art research and art practice. It presents on- and off-campus audiences with pioneering new work and creative ways for them to interact with the visual arts. The curator is responsible for developing the collection in all media post-1945. Collections care, a vibrant exhibition schedule, artist visits, and acquisitions are a few of the avenues through which the curator seeks to distinguish the Johnson’s programs. Exciting opportunities to develop creative partnerships are offered with the Rona Hollander Citrin ’80 and Jeffrey Citrin Photography Study Center, dedicated teaching space to accommodate single- and semester-long class visits. The Picket Family Video Gallery provides, for the first time in the Museum’s history, a venue that enables investment in projects that highlight new media. In 2014, the Johnson completed a major renovation of the Modern and Contemporary galleries to exhibit a broader cross section of the collection, launch new interpretive strategies and technology projects, and encourage dynamic faculty and student collaborations that support the University’s diverse intellectual life. 

Supporting the Humanities and the Fine Arts

The Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art provides expertise and inspiration to faculty and students across disciplines to engage with the art of today. Tackling broad themes such as climate change, world hunger, communication and technology, or artistic movements across geographic regions and time periods—in concert with other departments, libraries, and research institutes on campus—the curator contextualizes historical and contemporary art. Through scholarly research, the curator is responsible for cataloguing, preserving, and interpreting collection objects and spearheading collections-based installations. The curator works closely with donors, experts, and faculty peers to continue to build the collection, with an emphasis on quality. In addition, the curator hires and mentors undergraduate and post-baccalaureate curatorial interns, guiding their pre-professional experience from a variety of disciplinary interests. The curator develops relationships with a broad academic community through membership in national and international art organizations and actively seeks out collaborative partnerships with other museum curators and scholars to advance the Museum’s standing and reputation in the field. 

Enabling Service Learning and Public Engagement

The rising visibility of the contemporary art market and emerging technologies used by artists in the making of art, including installations, photography, video, and digital media, provide increased opportunities for audiences to experience art from a broad global perspective. The Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art works with faculty and students to incorporate this broad perspective by organizing in-house and traveling exhibitions, accompanying public lectures, special tours, and symposia. The curator plays an important role in participating in campus-wide organizations that engage with contemporary art, including the Cornell Council for the Arts (CCA) and public art committees that oversee planning to bring new artworks to the campus. For an off-campus audience, the curator works with community organizations with a special interest in contemporary art, hosts programs for the larger community, and partners closely with the Museum’s education office to develop K-12 curriculum-based tours and classes. The curator travels to galleries, dealers, and international art fairs, often leading tours for Cornell alumni and Johnson Museum supporters. An important part of the public engagement aspect is the Museum’s commitment to remaining free and accessible to all.