The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University has hired Elliot Josephine Leila Reichert as its first Curator of Contemporary Art. In addition to conceiving and executing a vision for contemporary art at the museum and cultivating a collection in that area, Reichert will serve as an advisor on public art at the university.
Reichert will relocate from Chicago, Illinois, where she has worked as a curator, editor, and researcher since 2006. She has organized exhibitions at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University; Artpace, San Antonio; Chicago Artists Coalition; and Beirut Art Center, Lebanon. In addition to her curatorial experience, Reichert has published extensively on contemporary art and has served as editor of Northwestern Art Review, The Left Front: Radical Art in the “Red Decade,” and New City. She received her BA in Art History from Northwestern University and two MA degrees, one in Arts Administration and Policy and another in Modern and Contemporary Art History, from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Although the museum’s collection contains many modern masterpieces, including a seminal work by Pablo Picasso, a complete set of Marcel Duchamp’s Readymades, and a drip painting by Jackson Pollock, a curatorial area dedicated to contemporary art did not previously exist. In 2017, the museum began a $30 million renovation that created expanded space for the display of art, including the first gallery dedicated to the exhibition of new media, such as video works of art. Four new centers for engagement and learning were also established: Education, Conservation, Curatorial Studies, and Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. The Center for Curatorial Studies will serve as a collaborative nerve center for IU students to learn about curatorial practice. Foregrounding contemporary art reflects the museum’s teaching priorities by encouraging discussion on relevant issues and current events from diverse perspectives. Since contemporary art often reaches across various media and disciplines, it also offers the potential for expanded partnerships with other schools on campus, such as music, science, and the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design. The Eskenazi Museum of Art is already at the forefront of emerging technologies used to assist in the understanding of art, including its work with the Virtual World Heritage Lab and IU’s School of Informatics on 3D imaging and virtual reality.
Upon news of her hire, Reichert commented, “I am thrilled to join the team of the Eskenazi Museum of Art at the beginning of this exciting chapter in its long history. Under the leadership of David Brenneman, I will fulfill our mission as a teaching museum by bringing a diverse array of contemporary art and artists to IU. I strongly believe that engaging with contemporary art is a crucial component of a complete and meaningful education.”
David A. Brenneman, Wilma E. Kelley Director of the Eskenazi Museum of Art, remarked, “We are thrilled to welcome Elliot Josephine Leila Reichert as our inaugural Curator of Contemporary Art. As our reimagined museum prepares for reopening, we understand the important role that contemporary art can play in connecting people with art. This new curatorial area illustrates our commitment to advancing our mission of being a leader among university teaching museums, and Elliot will help us expand our reach. We are grateful to IU alum Linda Watson, her husband, Joe Moravy, and Judy and Gregg Summerville for their generosity in funding this inaugural position at the museum.”
Of Reichert’s hire, Linda Watson commented, “We are excited to have Elliot’s experience to assist in building a contemporary art program that will engage and attract IU students and the community.”
Reichert will begin her work at the Eskenazi Museum of Art this spring, just as the museum is preparing for its grand reopening in the fall. Linda Watson, Joe Moravy, and Judy and Gregg Summerville are long-time supporters of the museum. Linda Watson and Judy and Gregg Summerville are also members of the museum’s National Advisory Board.