Neville Bryan Assistant Curator, Architecture and Design

Art Institute of Chicago Art Institute of Chicago Employer:
Chicago, IL, USLocation:
Mon, Nov 22 '21Posted on:


The Art Institute of Chicago shares its singular collections with our city and the world. We collect, care for, and interpret works of art across time, cultures, geographies, and identities, centering the vision of artists and makers. We recognize that all art is made in a particular context, demanding continual, dynamic reconsideration in the present. We are a place of gathering; we foster the exchange of ideas and inspire an expansive, inclusive understanding of human creativity.  

Position Summary

The department of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago collects and exhibits work that illustrates how architects and designers use creativity, imagination, and critical thinking to initiate change in society and culture. The collection is distinguished by its robust holdings of modern and contemporary architecture and urban design, with a particular strength in work by architects and designers practicing in Chicago, including Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham, Marion Mahony Griffin, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig Hilberseimer, Bertrand Goldberg, Stanley Tigerman, Douglas Garofalo, Jeanne Gang, and Amanda Williams. The department continues to expand its holdings of work by international contemporary architects, such as David Adjaye, Tadao Ando, Andreas Angelidakis, Tatiana Bilbao, Frida Escobedo, Andrés Jaque, Johnston Marklee, and Pezo von Ellrichshausen. Its design collection comprises important midcentury holdings by Charles and Ray Eames, Henry Glass, Charlotte Perriand, Charles Harrison, and the New Bauhaus/Institute of Design, as well as contemporary works of experimental and speculative design by Shigeru Ban, Dunne and Raby, Formafantasma, Hella Jongerius, Julia Lohmann, Christien Meindertsma, and Norman Teague, among many others.


Under the guidance of the chair, the assistant curator supports the department in caring for, researching, interpreting and producing content for, displaying, and growing the permanent collection of the department.

With support from the chair, the assistant curator proposes exhibitions, gallery rotations, and reinstallations for areas of specialty; performs research, writing, and interpretation for areas of specialty; produces and publishes content; conceives of, organizes, and develops publications and interpretive materials; and liaises with colleagues to develop compelling narratives, programs, and content for broad audience engagement.

The assistant curator communicates clearly and consistently with departmental colleagues about projects and timelines; mentors and collaborates with departmental interns, fellows, and volunteers; and engages in a collaborative role with Conservation and Science and Collections and Loans to review treatments and foster best practices for maintaining the areas of specialty within the collection. All of these efforts are supported by the assistant curator’s collaboration with the philanthropy team to cultivate relationships with donors, collectors, and committee members, as appropriate.

The assistant curator supports the chair’s strategic vision of the department; helps to enhance the visibility and reputation of the museum and develop community interest and support for the departmental collection; and supports the museum in its commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable institution.


Advanced degree in architectural, art, or design history or equivalent experience required.  Experience working in museums, galleries, and/or other curatorial capacities required; minimum of two to three years of experience required.  The ideal candidate should demonstrate:

  • a broad art historical foundation;
  • expertise, experience, and interest in pursuing a distinct area or areas relevant to expanding areas of the collection; emphasis on contemporary architecture and/or design, with a global perspective, is preferred
  • a record of scholarly achievement in the field and in areas of specialty;
  • a willingness to embrace the museum’s commitment to creating an inclusive and equitable institution;
  • an open-minded and collaborative approach to working and communicating with all colleagues across the museum;
  • and outstanding communication skills that demonstrate both scholarly ability and interest in public engagement.
  • Knowledge of foreign languages as appropriate to areas of specialty
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office and Google suites required; ability to learn museum-specific collection database

Physical Requirements:

  • Prolonged periods sitting at a desk and working on a computer; must be able to remain in a stationary position 90% of the time.
  • Occasionally moves about inside the office to access file cabinets, office machinery, etc.
  • Constantly operates a computer and other office productivity machinery, such as a copy machine and printer.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, ability to adjust focus, and the ability to sustain prolonged visual concentration.
  • Occasionally handles art.


We offer a competitive, comprehensive benefits package:

  • 5+ weeks of paid time off
  • Paid holidays (up to 14 days)
  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • Generous parental, caregiver, and medical leave benefits
  • Competitive retirement plan (up to 9% matching contribution)
  • Tuition remission and Tuition Exchange Program
  • Great employee discounts
  • Complimentary general admission to participating cultural institutions

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Closing Statement

Vaccination Expectation

Becoming vaccinated against COVID-19 is the most important contribution we as individuals can make to ensure our own safety and the safety of our museum and school community. All employees must complete an attestation and provide proof of their vaccination status, or request a medical or religious exemption within the first week of employment.

The Art Institute of Chicago is an equal opportunity, equal access employer fully committed to achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace. We believe in a staff culture that benefits from a wide range of experience, backgrounds, and career paths, and we encourage nontraditional candidates to apply.


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