A new role for Andrea Karnes
By Meda Kessler
Photo by Evie Bishop, courtesy of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Andrea Karnes, a familiar face at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, is now chief curator, a move announced in mid-November by museum director Marla Price.
Karnes has been on the museum staff since the 1990s, overseeing many popular exhibitions such as “KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS” in 2016. The show broke attendance records, and work by the Brooklyn-based artist is now part of the museum’s permanent collection. In 2017, she was named senior curator after the retirement of Michael Auping, who was chief curator from 1993 to 2017. We talked to Karnes then about how her first job had evolved into her dream job.
One of our favorite of Karnes’ exhibitions was 2013’s “México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990,” which examined contemporary Mexican art as it related to the country’s sociopolitical climate, including violence and revolution.
Karnes also was curator of the Modern’s intriguing FOCUS series for 10 years, 2005 to 2015, organizing 30 solo shows by artists such as Kehinde Wiley, whose work is also now part of the museum’s permanent collection upon Karnes’ recommendation.
Her current project looks at female painters whose focus is women as their main subjects. Opening May 15, the show will cover five decades of some of the most interesting portraits of women from around the world. It sounds like a great (belated) Mother’s Day outing to us.
As head of the curatorial department, Karnes will oversee the Modern’s exhibitions, organize special shows, work with guest curators and continue her work with acquisitions. She’ll also oversee the installation of the permanent collection.