Mary Birmingham steps down as curator at the Visual Arts Center in New Jersey

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originally published: 01/28/2022

(SUMMIT, NJ) — The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (VACNJ) announced that Mary Birmingham will step down as curator, effective March 5, 2022, to continue her work as an independent curator.

“I am honored to have been the first curator at VACNJ and grateful for the trust that Executive Director Melanie Cohn and the Board have placed in me to lead the Art Center’s curatorial program,” Birmingham said. . “Their encouragement and support has allowed me to showcase a wide variety of artists and artwork, showcasing some of the best and most compelling art of our time.

“I have always placed artists at the center of my practice; they inspire everything I do as a contemporary art curator. Over the years I have explored a variety of ideas and themes and have been privileged to work with artists from a wide range, reflecting different aesthetic perspectives and lived experiences.

Since being hired as the first curator of VACNJ in 2010, Birmingham has spearheaded an ambitious program of contemporary art exhibitions and related events. She began her career as a cataloger at the Whitney Museum and, after taking time off to raise her three children, she returned to her career and worked as assistant curator at the Montclair Art Museum from 1993 to 2003 and exhibitions director at the Musée d’Art. art from Hunterdon from 2007 to 2010. Birmingham holds an MA in Art History from Hunter College and a BA in Art History from Seton Hall University. She is the author of Dynamic Impulse: The Drawings of Stuart Davis and many exhibition catalogs. During her career, she has curated over 100 exhibitions, including over 80 shows and projects at the Art Center, and has written and lectured on a variety of topics in American and contemporary art.

“I am grateful to have collaborated with so many incredible artists whose work has enriched and even improved our world. It has been an honor for me to share their work with our audience through exhibitions that have created new contexts for meaningful conversations about art,” said Birmingham. “I cherish all of these experiences and relationships and take them with me as I take the next step in my career.”

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“As the first staff curator, Mary tirelessly led the Art Center’s museum program for over 11 years,” said VACNJ Executive Director Melanie Cohn. “The exhibitions she curated combined a strong curatorial vision with new artistic voices. The Art Center is a better place thanks to Mary, and she will be greatly missed.

VACNJ’s search for a new curator will begin on Monday, January 31, 2022.


For more than 85 years, the New Jersey Visual Arts Center was exclusively dedicated to viewing, creating and learning about contemporary art. Recognized as a leading nonprofit arts organization, the Art Center’s acclaimed Studio School, acclaimed exhibitions, and educational outreach initiatives serve thousands of youth, families, seniors, and people with special needs each year. specials.

The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is located at 68 Elm Street in Summit, NJ. Gallery hours: Monday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please call 908.273.9121 to confirm vacation hours.

Significant support for the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is provided by the Wilf Family Foundation; Peter R. & Cynthia K. Kellogg Foundation; New Jersey State Council on the Arts; The domain of Pamela Hauptfleisch; and the Art Center community of supporters.

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