The Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) recently announced the appointment of Kristen Gaylord as its Herzfeld Curator of Photography and Media Arts. Dr. Gaylord has worked for the past five years at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (the Carter) in Fort Worth, most recently in the role of Associate Curator of Photographs.
In her position at the Carter, Ms. Gaylord contributed to the scholarship, preservation, and expansion of the museum’s photography collection, which contains over 45,000 exhibition-quality prints. During her tenure at the museum, she curated a range of exhibitions featuring historic images and contemporary works, including Stephanie Syjuco: Double Vision (2022); Black Every Day: Photographs from the Carter Collection (2022); An-My Lê: On Contested Terrain (2021); Looking In: Photography from the Outside (2019); and Set in Motion: Camille Utterback and Art That Moves (2019). Additionally, Ms. Gaylord contributed to museum-wide initiatives such as co-managing a major redesign of its website; initiating projects like Art Work, which featured the voices of non-curatorial staff on collection gallery labels; and serving as the point person for the department’s DEAI analysis of the museum’s holdings.
Andrew Eschelbacher, Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Carter, told Glasstire, “It’s been a pleasure to work with Kristen during my time at the Carter… She has curated compelling exhibitions… that have allowed us to consider the Carter’s collection in a new light. She has provided leadership in highlighting major female artists working today by presenting nationally touring exhibitions of photographers An-My Lê and Christina Fernandez, and she has brought in a number of dynamic acquisitions that will continue to inform the way the Carter approaches photography for years to come. We will miss her here, but are incredibly excited for her new chapter at Milwaukee Art Museum.”
Of her time at the Carter, Ms. Gaylord told Glasstire: “I’m so glad to have landed five years ago at the Carter, when it was on the precipice of so many changes — some foreseen and some not! Since 2018 the museum has navigated an expanded curatorial team, a new photography vault, a new brand, a new website, a gallery renovation, a global pandemic, and a national conversation about racial injustice.”
She continued, “It’s been a challenging and wonderful experience, as the best jobs are, and I leave so grateful for the opportunities the Carter has given me and so thoroughly inspired and impressed by my coworkers. Thankfully, the museum world is a tight-knit one, and I’ll be seeing the great things my friends and colleagues from the DFW art community do for years to come!”
In her role as the Herzfeld Curator of Photography and Media Arts at MAM, Ms. Gaylord will oversee the study and exhibition of the museum’s collection of approximately 4,000 photographs as well as its collection of time-based media. According to a press release from the museum, Ms. Gaylord will guide the acquisition strategy and “rotate the Center’s exhibitions to showcase new acquisitions, share original research, and increase visitor engagement with the collection.”
Liz Siegel, Chief Curator at the MAM stated, “The Milwaukee Art Museum excels in the study and collection of 20th-century American photography, and we look forward to Kristen’s contributions to and expansion of this legacy. Kristen’s experience and passion for presenting the work of a wide range of photographers with varied perspectives and approaches to the medium make her a valuable addition to our team.”
Ms. Gaylord holds a BA in Art History and English Literature from Westmont College, and a MA in Art History and Archaeology, a Masters of Philosophy in Art History, and a PhD in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University (NYU). Prior to her work at the Carter, Ms. Gaylord served as the Beaumont & Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow in the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where she previously worked as a research assistant and a curatorial intern. From 2016-2017, Ms. Gaylord was the inaugural curator of the Duke House Exhibition Series at NYU. Additionally, she has taught at the Museum of the City of New York, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Kingsborough Community College, and NYU.
Ms. Gaylord’s last day at the Carter will be July 28, 2023, and she will begin her new position at MAM in September.