Randall Griffey is new head curator at SAAM

Griffey replaces E. Carmen Ramos, who last year accepted a job as chief curator of the National Gallery of Art. He will assume his new role at the Smithsonian this summer.

Randall Griffey, since 2013 a curator in the contemporary and modern art department of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, is departing the institution to serve as head curator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. During his tenure there, he greatly increased the presence of works by women and people of color in the museum’s collection and in its presentations. In his new capacity at the Smithsonian, he will lead the museum’s curatorial program and will oversee a major reinstallation spanning three floors of the museum’s permanent collection galleries.

Head shot of Griffey wearng glasses, blue-checked shirt and dark sweater
Randall Griffey. Photo courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum

“Randy is one of the most dynamic curators and influential scholars in the field of American art today,” said Stephanie Stebich, the Margaret and Terry Stent Director, Smithsonian American Art Museum. “He is known as an exceedingly generous colleague as well as an agent of institutional innovation. I am confident that he will be a transformative leader in building our collections, mounting defining exhibitions, and rethinking the narrative of American art through the national collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.”

While at the Met, Griffey curated “Reckoning with Modernism,” part of the musueum’s sesquicentennial exhibition “Making The Met, 1870–2020,” and collaborated with Cree artist Kent Monkman to produce Monkman’s pathbreaking Great Hall Commission mistikộsiwak (Wooden Boat People), a colossal diptych of North America, since acquired by the Met for its permanent collection. Before arriving to the Met, he was a curator at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College from 2008 to 2011, serving there as as head of curatorial affairs in 2012. Prior to that, he was curator of American art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, from 1999 to 2008.

This is a lightly edited version of a post originally published by ArtForum on May 25, 2022.

Posted: 6 June 2022
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