The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, today appointed Ruth Erickson the museum’s Barbara Lee Chief Curator and director of curatorial affairs, effective June 1. She will replace Eva Respini, who has occupied the role since early 2015. Respini, who recently curated and cocommissioned Simone Leigh’s Golden Lion–winning US Pavilion at the 2022 Venice Biennale, will return to the ICA as a guest curator for the museum’s March 2024 exhibition of Firelei Báez, the artist’s first institutional survey.
“I am positively elated that Ruth Erickson will serve as the ICA’s Barbara Lee Chief Curator and director of curatorial affairs,” said ICA director Jill Medvedow. “As an art historian and a humanist, Ruth will lead with a keen eye, open heart, and clear vision for justice and the ways in which art, artists, and museums can make meaning, build community, and inspire hope and change.”
Erickson since 2018 has served as Mannion Family Senior Curator at the ICA. She joined the museum in 2012 as a research fellow for the exhibition “Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–57.” Prior to her arrival at the museum, she was a fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia from 2008 to 2010; before that, she was curator at Burlington City Arts in Vermont from 2004 to 2007. She holds an MA and a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Pennsylvania and earned her BA at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. The recipient of a 2021 Center for Curatorial Leadership Fellowship, she is most recently the curator of “To Begin Again: Artists and Childhood” and “A Place for Me: Figurative Painting Now” (both 2022), and “Guadalupe Maravilla: Mariposa Relámpago,” which will open at the ICA Watershed on May 25. The exhibition takes as its theme issues of community and care and will feature a major new commission by the artist: a colossal vibrational healing instrument made from a repurposed school bus.
“I am thrilled to expand my work at the ICA, a place I know well and love deeply,” said Erickson. “I look forward to building upon a decade of collaboration with artists and colleagues across the museum to deepen and expand our engagement with audiences, amplify the impact and visibility of our permanent collection, and advance new art and ideas through commissions and significant exhibitions.”