The San Jose Museum of Art has announced that Mónica Ramírez-Montagut has been named its senior curator.
Ramírez-Montagut is currently curator at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut. There, she was a primary contributor to the institution’s innovative exhibition program and organized (and co-organized) multi-disciplinary, community-focused exhibitions that featured an international array of artists, such as Bike Rides, Pretty Tough: Contemporary Storytelling, Kathryn Spence: Dirty and Clean, Fritz Haeg: Something for Everyone, the popular and critically acclaimed 2010 exhibition, KAWS, and 2011’s KAWS: Companion (Passing Through), now on view at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.
As senior curator, we’re told Ramírez-Montagut will head SJMA’s curatorial department, which is notable for its innovative approaches and community engagement. Ramírez-Montagut will join the staff at SJMA in June.
“I am thrilled to welcome Mónica to the San Jose Museum of Art and look forward to the imprint she will have on the Museum,” said Susan Krane, Oshman Executive Director. “Mónica’s broad interests and her enthusiasm for working collaboratively mirror SJMA’s current priorities—as does the international spectrum of her projects. She is a curator who is attuned to audiences and to community, as well as to serious scholarship. Her background in art, architecture, and design will newly enable SJMA to launch programs in areas we’ve targeted for strategic growth, areas that are particularly vital to Silicon Valley. She believes in the marriage of public events and exhibitions. With her passion for new ideas, her commitment to supporting regional artists, and her global perspective (with a special focus on Latin American art), Monica will be a wonderful and surprising voice at SJMA and in the greater Bay Area arts community.”
Ramírez-Montagut received her bachelor of architecture degree from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and her master of architecture and Ph.D. from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, ETSAB, in Barcelona. Prior to joining the staff of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in 2008, she was assistant curator of architecture and design at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. At the Guggenheim, Ramírez-Montagut was the coordinating curator for the exhibitions Zaha Hadid and Restoring a Masterpiece: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum and contributed an essay and curatorial support for Cai Guo-Qiang. She has served as the curator of collections and public programs at the Price Tower Arts Center (PTAC), Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and has also worked at the Queens Theatre in the Park, New York, and the Galerìa Carles Taché, Barcelona. In 2003-2004, she was program coordinator for the Mexico Now Festival in New York, a bilingual, city-wide festival that encompassed 35 venues and 150 events.
“I am honored to be joining such a talented and enthusiastic team of professionals,” said Ramírez-Montagut. “The San Jose Museum of Art’s mission to reflect cultural diversity and foster the innovative spirit of the region will be a daily inspiration and a task I will take to heart. I look forward to contributing to SJMA and bringing stimulating programs to the dynamic and vibrant community of the Bay Area, and I am excited to explore and become an active member of Silicon Valley and the West Coast.”
Ramírez-Montagut has frequently explored the intersections of art, design, and culture in her often-collaborative exhibitions. Bike Rides explored the growing relevance of bicycles in contemporary art and culture. Fritz Haeg activated the Aldrich’s front lawn with an edible garden. Her 2010 exhibition KAWS is the most comprehensive survey to date devoted to the work of street artist and designer Brian Donnelly, a.k.a. KAWS. Ramírez-Montagut edited the accompanying catalogue, which was published by Rizzoli International/SKIRA.
Her other publications include Revisiting the Glass House: Contemporary Art and Modern Architecture (Yale University Press) and essays in Claiming Space: Mexican Americans in U.S. Cities (UTEP) and Frank Lloyd Wright Mid-Century Modern (Rizzoli International Publications). Her awards include the 2007 Frances Smyth-Revenel Prize for Excellence in Publications Design from the American Association of Museums for the catalogue Zaha Hadid; “Best Architecture and Design Show-Second Place,” 2006, from the International Association of Art Critics for Zaha Hadid; and the 2005 Accent on Architecture Award from the American Architectural Foundation for Building It Wright! (a bilingual coloring book for children). In 2005 she received the Smithsonian Institute for Interpretation and Representation of Latino Cultures Fellowship from the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Latino Initiatives, Washington, D.C.
SJMA presents approximately ten exhibitions (including thematic installations of its growing permanent collection of modern and contemporary art) and some 50 public programs each year. SJMA is an acknowledged leader in interpretive practices, such as the creative use of technology for in-gallery education. Ramírez-Montagut’s experience and broad interests in art, architecture, and design, as well as in multi-disciplinary and international approaches, will be valuable to the implementation of the Museum’s strategic plan for exhibitions.
She will supervise the Museum’s highly skilled curatorial staff and be a pivotal member of the senior staff team.