Amy Smith-Stewart has been named the new chief curator of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, becoming the first woman to lead the non-collecting institution since its founding in 1964. Smith-Stewart, curator at the Aldrich since 2013, has an established track record of showcasing the work of emerging and under-recognized artists. She replaces Richard Klein, who announced his departure in January after leading the museum for more than three decades.
“For nearly a decade, Amy Smith-Stewart has been a central voice in Aldrich’s exhibition programming, partnering with artists on shows that have captured the attention of our audiences and critics,” said Cybele Maylone, manager of Aldrich. “Being the museum’s chief curator is the next natural step in her leadership, and I’m thrilled to be working with her in this new role. »
Smith-Stewart began her career at the PS1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1) in Queens, New York, where she gave artists such as Aleksandra Mir, Adrian Paci, Mika Rottenberg and Taryn Simon their first solo exhibitions in a museum. After a brief stint as a curatorial consultant at the Mary Boone Gallery in New York, where she curated several group exhibitions showcasing new talent, she launched her own nomadic curatorial initiative on the city’s Lower East Side. . This project, which ran from 2007-2009, was partly concurrent with her 2006-2008 work as guest curator of the Peter Norton Collection. Smith-Stewart has also curated exhibitions at Socrates Sculpture Park and the Noguchi Museum, both in Queens, and served on the faculty of master’s programs at the School of the Visual Arts and Sotheby’s Institute of Art, both. At New York.
Since arriving at the Aldrich in 2013, she has curated forty-two exhibitions, including early solo shows by Genesis Belanger, Milano Chow, Lucia Hierro, Eva LeWitt and Jessi Reaves, and surveys of artists such as Harmony Hammond , Karla Knight, Suzanne McClelland, Ruth Root and Jackie Winsor. Smith-Stewart’s last exhibition, 52 artists: a feminist milestone, traces the evolution of feminist artistic practices over half a century. On view until January 8, 2023, the exhibition revisits Aldrich’s seminal 1971 exhibition curated by Lucy Lippard Twenty-six contemporary female artists, showcasing the work of the original exhibiting artists alongside that of twenty-six emerging female-identifying, non-binary artists.
Smith-Stewart already has plans for new initiatives at the museum. “It is a huge honor to be the first woman to head the exhibition department at Aldrich. The Aldrich has a long history of supporting visionary artists at critical times in their careers,” she said. “Next year, we will launch a new artist honorarium initiative and embark on a project to improve and modernize our campus to increase opportunities for artists and ensure better access to all communities. The artist is always at the center of The Aldrich. Together, with a creative and collaborative team, we will work to discover and amplify new and under-recognized voices in the field.