Art History Alumni Series: Allison Glenn

Senior Curator and Director of Public Art Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Monday, February 07, 4:30 p.m.

Allison Glenn wearing black top and necklace.

Allison M. Glenn (MAHA 12) is a curator and writer deeply invested in working closely with artists to develop ideas, artworks, and exhibitions that respond to and transform our understanding of the world. Glenn’s curatorial work focuses on the intersection of art and publics, through public art, biennials, special projects, and major new commissions by leading contemporary artists. Recently, she received substantial critical and community praise for her curatorial work in the groundbreaking exhibition at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky titled Promise, Witness, Remembrance, an exhibition that reflected on the life of Breonna Taylor, centered on her portrait painted by Amy Sherald. The New York Times selected the exhibition as one of the Best Art Exhibitions of 2021.

This year, Glenn was listed as one of the 2022 ArtNews Deciders and on the 2021 Observer Arts Power 50 List. She is one of the curators for the Counterpublic triennial, opening April 2023 in St. Louis.

From 2018-2021, Glenn was Associate Curator, Contemporary Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, where she shaped how outdoor sculpture activates and engages Crystal Bridges' 120-acre campus. Connecting the impact that color has on perception and the body, Glenn organized Color Field (2019), an outdoor sculpture exhibition that activated a contemporary gallery and the lush North Forest. Featuring fourteen sculptures by eleven contemporary artists, including Sarah Braman, Sam Falls, Odili Donald Odita, and Jessica Stockholder, Color Field debuted at Crystal Bridges and traveled to Artis-Naples, the Baker Museum (2020) and University of Houston (2020-2021). Her outdoor sculpture exhibitions foreground artist-led conversations and institutional collaborations, including Rashid Johnson: The Bruising: For Jules the bird, Jack and Leni, and Bethany Collins: Cadences, a sound installation in Crystal Bridges North Forest. Glenn was a member of the curatorial team for State of the Art 2020, which opened simultaneously at Crystal Bridges and the Momentary. She was the venue curator for Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal… (2020) at Crystal Bridges.

Prior to working at Crystal Bridges, she was the Manager of Publications and Curatorial Associate for Prospect New Orleans’ international art triennial Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp. Previous exhibitions include Out of Easy Reach, which was on view simultaneously at DePaul Art Museum, Stony Island Arts Bank and Gallery 400, which traveled to Grunwald Gallery at Indiana University. In 2015, Glenn was a Curatorial Fellow with the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

Her writing has been featured in exhibition publications such as Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2015); Prospect 3: Notes for Now, Prospect New Orleans Triennial (2014); Fore, The Studio Museum in Harlem (2012), and she has contributed to Artforum, ART PAPERS, Hyperallergic, ART21 Magazine, Pelican Bomb, and Newcity, and a forthcoming essay in Marshall Brown: Recurrent Visions, published by Princeton Architectural Press (2021).

Glenn is a member of Madison Square Park Conservancy’s Public Art Consortium Collaboration Committee, and sits on the Board of Directors for ARCAthens, a curatorial and artist residency program based in Athens, Greece and the Bronx, New York. She received dual master’s degrees from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism and Arts Administration and Policy, and a Bachelor of Fine Art Photography with a co-major in Urban Studies from Wayne State University in Detroit.

Read more about Glenn's curatorial practice:

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The Art History Alumni Series features graduates of our MA and BA programs, who discuss their career trajectories after graduation and answer questions about work in a range of art fields: larger museums, biennials, project spaces, commercial galleries and academia.

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