From our Museum Partners: Looking Forward

From our Museum Partners: Looking Forward

In our ongoing series, museum leaders, curators, and directors—from Boston to Atlanta to San Francisco—discuss the future of the museum industry.

In our ongoing series, museum leaders, curators, and directors—from Boston to Atlanta to San Francisco—discuss the future of the museum industry.

Ellsworth Kelly, Austin, 2015 (West façade). Artist-designed building with installation of colored glass windows, black and white marble panels, and redwood totem. © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation. Courtesy Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin.

The Art Institute of Chicago

As the Art Institute of Chicago mounts the first-ever solo museum exhibition of Bisa Butler’s work, we caught up with Dr. Erica Warren, associate curator of textiles, to discuss the details of Butler’s work—and the slow-looking they demand.

The interdisciplinary concerns of Bisa’s textile‐based practice open up countless possibilities for making cross‐material connections.

Bisa Butler, The Safety Patrol, 2018. Cavigga Family Trust Fund. © Bisa Butler.

Curator Erica Warren on What's Next for the Art Institute of Chicago > 

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Executive Director Cybele Maylone discusses how the museum supports emerging and underrepresented artists. 

"The Aldrich is a platform for artists at pivotal moments in their careers, and this mission is the driving force behind our exhibition program."

Frank Stella’s Stars, A Survey. The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, September 21, 2020 to May 9, 2021. Left, Jasper’s Split Star, 2017; right, Frank’s Wooden Star, 2014), Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen © 2020 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photography by Christopher E. Manning.

Executive Director Cybele Maylone on What's Next for the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum > 

The Hammer Museum

We checked in with Chief Curator Connie Butler to see how the Hammer Museum is planning ahead during uncertain times.

I don’t know what this crisis will bring in terms of artistic shifts but I do know that artists always respond to the social and political realities.

Installation view, Paul McCarthy: Head Space, Drawings 1963–2019, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, February 2 through May 10, 2020. Photography © Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Chief Curator Connie Butler on What's Next for the Hammer Museum >

The RISD Museum 

We spoke with the museum's director to hear about how the Rhode Island institution plans to further its mission at the nexus of the arts and education.

Regardless of one’s faith or religious beliefs, spending time with this object is incredibly calming, centering and provides a tremendous sense of global connection.


Japanese, Buddha Mahavairocana (Dainichi Nyorai), ca. 1150-1200. Museum Appropriation Fund. RISD Museum, Providence, RI.

Director John W. Smith on What's Next for the RISD Museum >


The High Museum 

The museum's new curator for Decorative Arts and Design shares her plans as the Atlanta museum prepares for reopening.

I think that highlighting the technical skill and design abilities of weavers and textile artists of all genders is long overdue.

Herter Brothers, Cabinet, ca. 1875. High Museum of Art, The Virginia Carroll Crawford Collection, 1981.1000.51.

Monica Obniski on What's Next for the High Museum >

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston 

The Director of The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, shares what makes her institution unique among similar museums.

I am energized by the vision of a more just future where art museums are central to a more honest and fuller understanding of ourselves, our history and our humanity.

ICA Boston Watershed building. © Anmahian Winton. Photo: F. Holzher.

Jill Medvedow On What's Next for The ICA Boston >

The Asian Art Museum

Head of Contemporary Art Abby Chen on the expansion and renovation—and the artworks that will re-introduce the museum to the public.

The whole space becomes a mechanism for framing or reframing how we think and experience what’s happening.

Lam Tung Pang, A Day of Two Suns, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Blindspot Gallery.

What's Next for the Asian Art Museum >

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Director Thomas P. Campbell on responding to the current moment and the new programs ahead for the Bay Area in 2021.

We will return to a core value of the institution’s founding, which is that we are the museums of the city of San Francisco.


The de Young Open: R.L. Butterfield, Rehabilitation of the Abandoned Metropolis, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

What's Next for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco >

The Museum of African Diaspora

Executive Director Monetta White looks ahead to the future of exhibitions in San Francisco's collaborative arts environment.

[Our] exhibitions interrogate various veins of complexity, as artists and curators approach contemporary issues resulting from historical diasporic movements.

Courtesy of the Museum of African Diaspora.

What's Next for the Museum of African Diaspora >

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 

Director Gary Tinterow on MFAH's major campus expansion and the museum's continuing role as a cornerstone of the Houston art scene.

Each museum in America has its own DNA, reflecting its parentage: the founders, their friends, and subsequent community members as the orbit of influence grows over time.

Lorraine O’Grady, Art Is … (Girlfriends Times Two), 1983/2009, c-print in 40 parts, edition of 8 + 1 AP, courtesy of Alexander Gray Associates, New York. © Lorraine O’Grady / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

What's Next for The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston >


The Blanton Museum of Art

Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs Carter Foster on what makes the Austin, Texas, museum a force in both the regional and international art scenes.

The Austin area draws visitors from all over the world, and many have Ellsworth Kelly’s 'Austin' on their bucket list — it’s become quite an art destination.


Ellsworth Kelly, Austin, 2015 (Interior, facing east). © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation. Photo courtesy Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin.

What's Next for the Blanton Museum of Art >

Miami Design District

Claire Breukel, curator at DACRA, shares the creative possibilities ahead for the city's public art and design collection.

I’ve learned that no one and no place is alike. In contrast, creativity as a non‐lingual and sensorial expression is unifying.

Urs Fischer, Bus Stop, 2017.

What's Next for the Miami Design District >

Anderson Ranch and MCA Denver

Two Colorado cultural institutions share how they are adapting to the challenges of a global crisis by continuing to engage with their local arts community.

MCA Denver wants to be a place where people can seek refuge from the stress of the current news cycle .

Courtesy of Anderson Ranch Arts Center.

What's Next for The Rockies: Anderson Ranch and MCA Denver >

Craft Contemporary

Exhibitions Curator Holly Jerger shared how the Los Angeles institution has adapted to evolving circumstances and which changes she thinks are here to stay.

I’ve found solace in the exhibition artists’ works. They remind me of how malleable and resilient we humans are, both physically and emotionally.

The Body, The Object, The Other, installation view, 2019. Photo: Blake Jacobsen.

What's Next for Craft Contemporary >

The Albright-Knox Gallery

We spoke with the Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director of the Buffalo Arts Institution to learn more about their plans for expansion and how they've strengthened community engagement.

The lessons we learn now will fortify our future.

In-progress detail from Works, from Home participating artist Ashley Johnson. Image courtesy of the artist.

The Albright-Knox Gallery >

Recommended Reading

In Conversation with Sophia Kinell > 

In Conversation with Sophia Kinell, Part II >