Buffalo, NY – Today the Albright-Knox Art Gallery announced the promotion of Cathleen Chaffee to the position of Chief Curator. The position has been vacant since Douglas Dreishpoon, after sixteen years at the museum, stepped down from his position in April 2014 to become Chief Curator emeritus.
After joining the museum as Curator in January 2014, Chaffee was promoted to Senior Curator in June 2015. During her time at the museum she has taken on increasing responsibility both within the Curatorial Department and the Leadership Team of the Albright-Knox. In her new position as Chief Curator, Chaffee will oversee the museum’s Curatorial Department and staff.
In less than four years, Chaffee has facilitated many important acquisitions of art for the museum’s collection and has curated numerous exhibitions, including the current mid-career survey of the work of Joe Bradley (through October 1, 2017); Shade: Clyfford Still / Mark Bradford (2016); Erin Shirreff (2016), the artist’s first large-scale American museum exhibition (co-curated with Jenelle Porter, ICA Boston); the mid-career survey Eija-Liisa Ahtila: Ecologies of Drama (2015–16); Looking at Tomorrow: Light and Language from The Panza Collection, 1967–1990 (co-curated with Douglas Dreishpoon, 2015–16); and Overtime: The Art of Work (2015), dedicated to modern and contemporary representations of work and workers. Currently, Chaffee is organizing the first museum survey of Tony Conrad’s artwork, Introducing Tony Conrad: A Retrospective, to be presented at the Albright- Knox and the University at Buffalo Art Galleries in March 2018 (with Rachel Adams, Senior Curator, University at Buffalo Art Galleries).
Her project exhibitions at the Albright-Knox have often been the artists’ first solo exhibitions in an American museum. These include Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj: Studies for A Minor History of Trembling Matter (2017); Eric N. Mack: Vogue Fabrics (2017); Jacob Kassay: OTNY (2017); Willa Nasatir (2017); Matt Hoyt: Recent Past, 2010–2016 (2016–17); Marie Lorenz: Ezekia (2016); David Adamo (2015); and Ellie Ga: It Was Restored Again (co-curated with Godin-Spaulding Curator & Curator for the Collection Holly E. Hughes, 2014). Along with Deputy Director Joe Lin-Hill and Godin-Spaulding Curator & Curator for the Collection Holly E. Hughes, Chaffee also co-curated Screen Play: Life in an Animated World (2015), a revelatory global survey of the use of animation in contemporary art.
Chaffee received her PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in 2013, and her master’s degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London in 2001. She completed her undergraduate studies at Ithaca College. Her writing on contemporary art has been published widely in books and exhibition catalogues, including the Albright-Knox catalogues for Joe Bradley, Shade: Clyfford Still / Mark Bradford, Erin Shirreff, and Eija-Liisa Ahtila: Ecologies of Drama, as well as in magazines such as ArtForum, Frieze, Contemporary, Art Asia Pacific, Mousse, Tema Celeste, and Manifesta Journal.