Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Names Kathryn Kanjo Chief Curator

Dr. Hugh M. Davies, The David C. Copley Director and CEO of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), announced that Kathryn Kanjo has been appointed the new Chief Curator and Head of the Curatorial Department, concluding a comprehensive international search. Kanjo is currently the Director of the University Art Museum at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and plans to assume her new responsibilities at MCASD on July 20, 2010.

“Kathryn Kanjo is an accomplished curator and a dynamic educator, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have her leading our curatorial department. Her passion for art, community outreach, and the curatorial process will be an asset, and her refined eye for emerging talent dovetails with our own initiatives to commission new work by both emerging and established artists,” said Davies. “Her exhibitions and acquisitions are consistently innovative and relevant, yet grounded in a significant art historical framework that reflects her knowledge of contemporary art. I can state with confidence that in Kanjo we have found the best possible fit for our institutional needs.”

Kanjo said, “I am honored to be leading MCASD’s curatorial team and pleased to be returning to San Diego. The Museum has had a special place in my heart since my curatorial beginnings at MCASD. Since that time the collection has grown significantly and with the opening of the expanded downtown location, the profile of the Museum continues to be on the rise. I am very excited to see where these possibilities will lead and look forward to helping advance the Museum’s momentum.”

Kathryn Kanjo has served as Director of the University Art Museum at the University of California, Santa Barbara, since 2006. Under her leadership, the University Art Museum has seen enhanced programmatic clarity with a structured schedule of permanent collection installations complemented by innovative rotating exhibitions. With particular focus on accessibility and increased exposure for the artwork, one of Kanjo’s initiatives was to increase program-related partnerships across campus and throughout the community. Her efforts in establishing funding priorities brought esteem to the institution with grants from the Henry Luce Fund, the Andy Warhol Foundation, The Getty Foundation, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Before joining the University Art Museum, Kanjo served for seven years (2000-2006) as Executive Director of Artpace San Antonio — a contemporary arts exhibition and educational foundation that invites visiting artists and curators for residencies and produces original exhibitions and installations. Under her direction Artpace experienced unprecedented growth, transitioning from a private operating foundation to an IRS-classified public charity and featuring more than 70 site-specific installations by artists such as Christian Jankowski, Ann Sofi Siden, and Do-Ho Suh, to name a few.

Prior to joining Artpace, Kanjo served as the Curator of Contemporary Art at the Portland Art Museum (1996-1999) where she managed a lively contemporary art program within the city’s general museum, and secured selected acquisitions by such artists as Robert Irwin, Michael Lazarus, Claes Oldenburg, Diana Thater, among others.

Coming full circle, Kanjo’s first curatorial appointment was at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego where she served as Assistant Curator (1992-1994) and later Associate Curator (1994-1995). During her initial tenure at MCASD, Kanjo oversaw and assisted with a number of exhibitions including Nancy Rubins: Airplane Parts and Building (1994), A Large Growth for San Diego (1995), Leonardo Drew (1995), Common Ground: A Regional Exhibition (1995-1996), and The Bull Story: An Installation by Jean Lowe and Kim MacConnel (1994-1995).

An accomplished scholar and author of numerous publications, Kanjo received her M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of Southern California and her B.A. in Art History and English Literature from the University of Redlands. Kanjo will move to San Diego with her husband, David Jurist, and their two children.


Founded in 1941, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in San Diego County. The Museum’s collection includes more than 4,000 works of art created since 1950. In addition to presenting exhibitions by international contemporary artists, the Museum serves thousands of children and adults annually at its varied education programs, and offers a rich program of film, performance, and lectures. MCASD is a private, nonprofit organization, with 501c3 tax-exempt status; it is supported by generous contributions and grants from MCASD Members and other individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Dr. Hugh M. Davies is The David C. Copley Director at MCASD.

Institutional support for MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.

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