Seattle Art Museum names new curator of modern and contemporary art
Seattle Art Museum's new curator of modern and contemporary art, Catharina Manchanda, brings a lively background to the job.
Seattle Times arts writer
The Seattle Art Museum has a new modern-art curator. Catharina Manchanda has been named as SAM's Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, replacing Michael Darling, who left SAM last summer to become chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
Manchanda is originally from Stuttgart, Germany, where she earned her B.A. in art history, English and German. In the early 1990s, she moved to the U.S. to pursue postgraduate studies, earning an M.A. in art history from University of Delaware and a Ph.D. in art history from City University of New York.
In what Charlie Wright, the chairman of SAM's board of trustees, calls a "happy coincidence," Manchanda moved with her family to Seattle last summer, so she is "already somewhat familiar with the art community here." Her previous museum posts include Senior Curator of Exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts (at the Ohio State University in Columbus) and curatorial positions at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum (St. Louis), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Her specialties include contemporary German art (she has written extensively on Gerhard Richter) and photography. She brought "Harry Shearer: The Silent Echo Chamber" to the Wexner, a fascinating video study of news anchors, pundits and public personalities during their off-the-air time, which also came to Seattle's Henry Art Gallery last fall.
Manchanda will oversee modern and contemporary art programs and collection at all three SAM branches: SAM Downtown, Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park. Robert Storr, Dean of the Yale School of Art, with whom Manchanda worked on two Richter exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art, says of her, "She has that rare mix of qualities required of a curator charged with operating in the new international art scene: intellectual seriousness, aesthetic open-mindedness combined with a discerning critical mind, and singular skill at working with artists."
That latter talent should come in handy. With SAM's assistant curator of modern and contemporary art, Marisa Sánchez, Manchanda will work closely with local collectors and artists.
Her tenure begins on Aug. 17.
Michael Upchurch: email@example.com
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