Judith Tannenbaum

Judith Tannenbaum was named The RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) Museum’s first Curator of Contemporary Art in 2000. In 2002, she became the Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art, the Museum’s first endowed position, which she held until 2013.  She recently relocated to Philadelphia but continues her connection to RISD as Adjunct Curator.

Tannenbaum has organized numerous exhibitions focusing on painting, sculpture, video, and interdisciplinary work–with a particular interest in connections between visual art and performance and relationships among fine art, craft, and design. Exhibitions and publications for RISD include Arlene Shechet: Meissen Recast(2014); Painting Air: Spencer Finch (2012); Lynda Benglis (2010); Styrofoam (2008);Beth Lipman: After You’re Gone (2008); Wunderground: Providence, 1995 to the present (2006); Betty Woodman: Il Giardino dipinto (2005); Island Nations: New Art from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the Diaspora (2004); On the Wall: Wallpaper by Contemporary Artists (2003); and Jim Isermann: Logic Rules(2000).

From 1986 to 2000, Tannenbaum served variously as Curator, Associate Director and Interim Director for the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), University of Pennsylvania.  As Interim Director from 1989-90, she became the spokesperson for the defense of public funding for the arts and artistic freedom in relation to the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition originated by ICA.  Among the shows she curated for ICA are: Glenn Ligon: Unbecoming (1998); PerForms (1995);  Vija Celmins (1992); and Interactions (1991).

In January 2014, Tannenbaum was honored by the Frick Center for the History of Collecting for her contribution to the book Get There First, Decide Promptly: The Richard Brown Baker Collection of Postwar Art (Yale University Art Gallery/Yale University Press, 2011). The book won the Sotheby’s Book Prize for a Distinguished Publication on the History of Collecting in America.  She is curating What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present, an exhibition opening in September 2014  at the RISD Museum, and her article, “Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts: Judith Tannenbaum Honors a Twentieth Century Icon,” appears in the current issue of Ceramics/Art and Perception.