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Making Collections Matter:
A Symposium

Fri, Sept 23, 2022
10 am–4:30 pm

Floor 3, Susan and John Hess Family Gallery and Theater

This day-long symposium focuses on the historical formation, current uses, and future possibilities of modern and contemporary art museum collections. Bringing together curators and scholars who are engaged with and thinking critically about museum collecting practices, the sessions consider how collections are built, who they serve, and how they can be sustainably stewarded now and in the future.

10–10:30 am | Welcome and Introduction  
Jane Panetta, Nancy and Fred Poses Curator and Director of the Collection, and Kim Conaty, Steven and Ann Ames Curator of Drawings and Prints, Whitney Museum of American Art

10:30 am–12 pm | Session 1: Collecting in Practice
How are institutions approaching the task of reframing and advancing what modern and contemporary art museum collections can be?

  • Sydney Briggs, Director of Collections and Exhibitions, and Connie Choi, Associate Curator, Permanent Collection, The Studio Museum in Harlem
  • Katherine Jentleson, Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art, High Museum of Art 
  • Pavel Pyś, Curator of Visual Arts, Walker Art Center
  • E. Carmen Ramos, Chief Curatorial and Conservation Officer, National Gallery of Art

Moderated by Kim Conaty, Steven and Ann Ames Curator of Drawings and Prints, Whitney Museum of American Art 

12–1 pm | Lunch Break

1–2:30 pm | Session 2: Collection Use
How are museums thinking creatively and expanding the definition and boundaries of how collections are used?

  • Asma Naeem, Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Chief Curator, Baltimore Museum of Art
  • Paulina Pobocha, Associate Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art
  • Jamaal Sheats, Associate Provost of Art and Culture, Director and Curator of Galleries and Assistant Professor of Art, Fisk University

Moderated by David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Initiatives, Whitney Museum of American Art 

2:30–3 pm | Coffee Break 

3–4:30 pm | Session 3: Collecting for the Future
What are the ethical implications and practical considerations of building and caring for collections now and in the future?

  • Naomi Beckwith, Deputy Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, Guggenheim Museum
  • Cheryl Finley, Inaugural Director, Atlanta University Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Spelman College, and Associate Professor, Cornell University, and Amy Whitaker, Associate Professor of Visual Arts Administration, New York University
  • Candice Hopkins (Carcross/Tagish First Nation), Executive Director & Chief Curator, Forge Project
  • Alex Kitnick, Assistant Professor of Art History and Visual Culture, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College 
  • Pilar Tompkins Rivas, Chief Curator and Deputy Director, Curatorial and Collections, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

Moderated by Jane Panetta, Nancy and Fred Poses Curator and Director of the Collection, Whitney Museum of American Art

Making Collections Matter: A Symposium is part of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Collection Strategic Plan initiative, funded by a major grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.


The Susan and John Hess Family Theater is equipped with an induction loop and infrared assistive listening system. Accessible seating is available.

This program will be recorded and made available on the Whitney's YouTube channel.

Learn more about access services and programs.

COVID-19 vaccination and face coverings are not required but strongly recommended. Book tickets in advance and review our visitor policies.

Sunrise

Sunset

A 30-second online art project:
Sara Ludy, Tumbleweeds

Learn more

Learn more at whitney.org/artport