Friday March 9, 2012
Tags for: Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art Announced
  • Press Release

Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art Announced

exterior of the CMA building

International art historian to assist in programming contemporary galleries and Transformer Station

 CLEVELAND (March 9, 2012) – Reto Thüring, a prominent editor for European contemporary art publications, an accomplished exhibition organizer, and a scholar of historical Venetian portraiture, has been appointed assistant curator of contemporary art for the Cleveland Museum of Art following an international search. Thüring will work closely with curator of contemporary art Paola Morsiani in positioning the museum as a leader in contemporary art amongst other comprehensive museums.

"We are excited that Reto is joining the museum at such a dynamic moment for our contemporary program, especially with new spaces like the museum's west side Transformer Station opening next year," states C. Griffith Mann, Cleveland Museum of Art deputy director and chief curator. "Reto's academic background in Renaissance art and his practical experience working with living artists are ideally suited to ensuring that the art of our time remains a vital presence within the broader museum."

Established at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 1960, the contemporary art collection contains works of art created between 1961 and present day. Consisting of about 220 works, the collection includes painting, sculpture, and mixed-media installations. Recently, the collection has expanded to increase representation of works made in the first decade of the 21st century, installation works, and time-based media including the moving image and sound. In addition, the galleries feature a number of artworks that are on long-term loan from private collections.

Painting comprises the core of the collection, with important figurative works by Alice Neel and Andy Warhol, and Minimalist and Post-Minimalist abstract works by Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, Agnes Martin, Sol LeWitt, and Jack Whitten. Sculpture is featured with works by Louise Bourgeois, Christo, Richard Serra, Martin Puryear, Robert Gober, Liza Lou, and Monika Sosnowska and mixed-media works by Tony Oursler and Omer Fast, among others. Period-specific strengths involve American Pop Art, as well as American, British, and German painting of the 1980s.

"I am thrilled to join the Cleveland Museum of Art at such an important moment in the institution's history. With the renovation and expansion project coming to an end in 2013 and the opening of the Transformer Station, there will be ample opportunity to present contemporary art to a broad public and to develop provocative and exciting exhibition projects," says Thüring. "I look forward to working in a team of experts from different curatorial departments which lend the possibility of putting the contemporary collection in a dialogue with other art historical periods and genres."

Thüring is a native of Switzerland and obtained a PhD with insigni cum laude honors from the University of Basel in 2011. He dedicated his dissertation to Venetian portraiture of the 16th century and his doctoral work was supported by grants from the Voluntary Academic Society of Basel, the Janggen-Pöhn-Foundation, the Center for Venetian Studies, and the Swiss National Science Foundation. He obtained his masters in art history summa cum laude in 2007 from the University of Basel with a focus on film and media sciences.

Since 2004, Reto Thüring's primary focus has been working with contemporary artists. Among his most acclaimed contributions, Thüring is president of the Association Kunstwollen and in this capacity he co-founded "Platform," an annual exhibition series dedicated to young Swiss artists. "Platform" is accompanied by a broad array of public programs and is held in Zurich. Since 2008, he has joined the exhibition committee of the Kunstraum Riehen where he curated the group exhibitions Tracing Reality (2009) and Chasing Dreams (2010) and one-person exhibitions of the work of Emilie Ding and Karin Hueber (2011). Most recently, he presented the work of Geneva-based artist Josse Bailly in a one-person presentation in conjunction with LISTE—The Young Art Fair in Basel, which runs parallel to the larger art fair Art Basel. Thüring curated Wall Floor Piece (2011), a group exhibition at the Von Bartha Garage, a Basel-based gallery. Since 2008, Thüring has also been the co-editor of the gallery's publication, the Von Bartha Quarterly Report, which features the artists it represents. He has also served as the chief editor of the Swiss bilingual art magazine artcollector since 2010, and has been an art critic for the newspaper Basler Zeitung since 2006.

"We are developing an extraordinarily rich program of contemporary art at the Cleveland Museum of Art, from new formats of collection rotations and special presentations to group exhibitions, from dedicated programming to collaborations with other institutions in the city and beyond. Reto and I will participate in all this together, dividing tasks based on our individual strengths and interests," states Paola Morsiani. "I am thrilled he is coming to Cleveland, a city and community is he eager to explore and to know."

Morsiani and Thüring will work together in interpreting and caring for the collection, as well as developing the museum's holdings of contemporary art. Amongst other responsibilities, Thüring will work with Cleveland Museum of Art staff and other institutions on the production of interpretive materials related to the collection, the development of public programs, and conceptualizing and implementing special exhibitions that explore the work of present day artists. Reto Thüring will begin his curatorial appointment in May 2012.

Contact the Museum's Media Relations Team:
(216) 707-2261