THE NEXUS OF ART and community is central to the work of curator Allison Glenn. She is taking on a new role that will fuel that focus, bringing contemporary art to broader audiences through public art initiatives.

After stints in New Orleans, Bentonville, Ark., and Houston, Glenn is headed to New York City where she is joining the Public Art Fund as senior curator.

Glenn is a member of the curatorial team organizing the second edition of Counterpublic. Opening in April 2023, the triennial is a “civic exhibition that weaves contemporary art into daily life” in St. Louis, Mo.

Inspired by the life of Breonna Taylor, “Promise, Witness, Remembrance” at Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky., brought Glenn national attention and praise from the local community.

She guest-curated the group exhibition last year working in collaboration with Taylor’s family; Louisville artists, activists, researchers, and mental health professionals; and a national advisory panel of curators, scholars, relatives of victims of police murder, and artists Amy Sherald and Theaster Gates, both of whom contributed artwork to the exhibition.

Public Art Fund collaborates with artists to stage ambitious exhibitions, installations, and public programming throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Glenn’s appointment at Public Art Fund was announced on May 11. She officially started at the nonprofit today.

“Among her generation, Allison Glenn has emerged as a leading curatorial voice,” said Nicholas Baume, artistic and executive director of the Public Art Fund, said in a statement. “Allison brings the creative and critical thinking of a visionary curator together with a powerful perspective on our artistic moment that is also grounded in scholarship. She’s a champion of artists–and of public art–with deep relationships and a wealth of experience. Her contribution to Public Art Fund and to the field of public art promises to be extraordinary.”

“Among her generation, Allison Glenn has emerged as a leading curatorial voice. Allison brings the creative and critical thinking of a visionary curator together with a powerful perspective on our artistic moment that is also grounded in scholarship.” — Public Art Fund Director Nicholas Baume

A CURATOR AND WRITER, Glenn joined the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in the role of senior curator and director of public art last August. After a brief tenure, CAM Houston announced her departure in February.

Previously, Glenn spent three years at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, where she served as associate curator for contemporary art (2018-21). Among her major projects, she organized “Color Field” (2019), an outdoor sculpture exhibition in the museum’s North Forest and co-curated “State of the Art 2020,” presenting works by 61 artists from across the nation at Crystal Bridges and The Momentary, the museum’s satellite venue in Downtown Bentonville. At Prospect New Orleans, Glenn was curatorial associate and publications manager for the citywide contemporary art triennial, Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp (2017-18).

Earlier in her career, Glenn was a director at Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago. She has contributed to several publications and catalogs, participated in public conversations, and serves on the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s Public Art Consortium Collaboration Committee, and the board of ARCAthens, a curatorial and artist residency program based in Athens, Greece, and the Bronx, N.Y.

Glenn studied at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich., where she received a BFA in photography with a co-major in urban studies. Then she earned dual master’s degrees in modern art history, theory and criticism and arts administration and policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

A NATIONAL LEADER in the public art space, Public Art Fund is debuting new projects with African American artists. Opening tomorrow, “Leilah Babirye, Hugh Hayden, Dozie Kanu, Tau Lewis, and Kiyan Williams: Black Atlantic” will feature commissioned works by five artists installed along the Brooklyn Bridge Park waterfront, a former shipping port.

Later this year, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is collaborating with Public Art Fund and the Studio Museum in Harlem on commissions by artists Nina Chanel Abney and Jacolby Satterwhite. The site-specific works will inaugurate the New York Philharmonic’s new David Geffen Hall in October.

Glenn said she was looking forward to joining the groundbreaking nonprofit. “Public Art Fund has been at the forefront of commissioning artists to create dynamic public art for New York City for over four decades,” she said in a statement.

“The history and legacy is immense and impactful. With recent projects, like Global Positioning, Public Art Fund is charting a new path toward deeper engagements with artists, colleagues, and audiences. It’s an absolute honor to join such an incredible team at this remarkably pivotal moment.” CT


IMAGE: Allison Glenn. | Photo by Jenny Risher, Courtesy Public Art Fund, NY


“State of the Art 2020” was published to accompany the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art exhibition Allison Glenn co-curated. “Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp” documents the New Orleans triennial for which Glenn served as publications manager.


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