Presenting Art and Artists - Howdy!

I am going to use this first post as a brief introduction. With my “ramblings,” I will offer some insight about how exhibitions are developed at RAM, what working with artists is like, and what curators think about.

First, let me share what being a Curator of Exhibitions means at RAM. Like any job, the exact duties are dependent on the particular place that you work and the background and knowledge that you bring to the position. Simply, I can say that I curate and organize exhibitions and run the exhibitions department. I am one of two curators at RAM and we are each responsible for the content of different types of shows and publications (more on that later) but, overall, I manage what happens in the gallery spaces. I have degrees in art history with an emphasis on contemporary art and for some time I have found myself drawn to what is identified as contemporary craft (generally works made from certain kinds of materials or with certain techniques or processes but this is actually a complicated definition). RAM is one of the top craft museums in the country and, additionally, has a significant collection of works on paper.

Basketworks: Cotsen Contemporary American Basket Collection
Installation image of a RAM collections-based exhibition,
Basketworks: The Cotsen Contemporary American Basket Collection.

Primary elements of my job include formulating exhibition ideas, writing, looking for artists and art, and coordinating all manner of variables from people to objects to ideas. These days most exhibitions at RAM are organized internally—this means that myself and/or the other curator come up with the idea and pick the artists and works for display.

To Wear or Not to Wear curated by me
and featuring the work of five artists from across the country.

Sometimes we feature a traveling exhibition—meaning that some other institution or person has put all of the elements together and we are one of the venues hosting the show.

Fran Allison neckpiece from A Pocket Guide to New Zealand Jewelry,
hosted by RAM but organized by two other institutions.

How we determine what kind of exhibition happens when has a lot to do with what art work is available, budgeting, and other programming that might happen at RAM.

This is just the “tip of the iceberg” so please stay tuned for more!



Lena Vigna
Curator of Exhibitions

Lena spends her days organizing artists and art, writing, and coming up with exhibition ideas that bring great objects and images to a region already rich in creativity. When she’s not looking for artists, she’s sure to be looking for vintage clothes and hats.