VACNJ Bids Farewell to Mary Birmingham After More Than a Decade as Curator

Mary BirminghamSummit, NJ (January 28, 2022)—The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (VACNJ) announced today that Mary Birmingham will be stepping down from her position as curator, effective March 5, 2022, to pursue work as an independent curator.

“I am honored to have served as VACNJ’s first staff curator and I am grateful for the trust that Executive Director Melanie Cohn and the Board of Trustees placed in me in directing the Art Center’s curatorial program,” said Birmingham. “Their encouragement and support enabled me to present a wide variety of artists and artworks, showcasing some of the best and most compelling art of our time.

“I have always placed artists at the center of my practice; they inspire everything I do as a curator of contemporary art. Over the years, I have explored a variety of ideas and themes and have been privileged to work with artists across a broad spectrum, reflecting different aesthetic outlooks and lived experiences.”

Since being hired as VACNJ’s first staff curator in 2010, Birmingham has directed an ambitious program of contemporary art exhibitions and related events. She began her career as a cataloguer at the Whitney Museum and, after taking time off to raise her three children, she returned to her career and worked as a curatorial assistant at the Montclair Art Museum from 1993–2003 and the Director of Exhibitions at the Hunterdon Art Museum from 2007–2010. Birmingham has an MA in Art History from Hunter College and a BA in Art History from Seton Hall University. She is the author of Dynamic Impulse: The Drawings of Stuart Davis and numerous exhibition catalogues. Over the course of her career, she has organized more than 100 exhibitions—including more than 80 shows and projects at the Art Center—and has written and lectured on a variety of topics in American and contemporary art.

“I am grateful to have collaborated with so many amazing artists whose work has enriched and even improved our world. It has been my honor to share their work with our audiences through exhibitions that created new contexts for meaningful conversations about art,” Birmingham reflected. “I treasure all these experiences and relationships and take them with me as I move on to the next stage of my career.”

“As our first staff curator, Mary has tirelessly led the Art Center’s museum program for more than 11 years,” said VACNJ Executive Director Melanie Cohn. “The exhibitions she has organized have combined strong curatorial vision with fresh artistic voices. The Art Center is a better place because of Mary, and she will be greatly missed.”

VACNJ’s search for a new curator will begin on Monday, January 31, 2022