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The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCa) recently announced two new curatorial appointments. Susan Cross will join the curatorial staff, bringing 15 years of experience, 10 of which were earned at the Guggenheim Museum. Nato Thompson has been at Mass MoCa since 2001, and has been promoted from assistant curator. Thompson is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and garnered much attention for the exhibition "The Interventionists" last year.

“Nato and Susan are both deeply committed to helping artists realize new work, which is at the very core of MASS MoCA’s mission,” said Joseph Thompson, Mass MoCa director.

"It is no secret I think MASS MoCA is the best museum in the country. I'm very proud to be a member of this amazing team," said Thompson in the Mass MoCa press release.

Cross brings an impressive history to Mass MoCa, summarized in their press release:

Cross has edited and authored numerous publications, including The Buren Times and Bruce Nauman: Theaters of Experience, and Changing Perceptions: The Panza Collection at the Guggenheim Museum. She served as juror for the Guggenheim's prestigious Hugo Boss Prize for Contemporary Art in 2004 and has been on the screening committee for the Hamptons International Film Festival for the past four years. Working with the Guggenheim Young Collectors committee, Cross has supported the work of numerous young artists, including Stephen Dean, Spencer Finch, Koo Jeong-a, Jonathan Monk, Rivane Neuenschwander, and Robin Rhode. Cross earned her BA from the University of Virginia. Her first project at MASS MoCA will be to oversee the installation of House of Oracles, the massive Huang Yong Ping retrospective which opens at MASS MoCA on March 18, 2006.

Currently working on an exhibition entitled Ahistoric Occasion featuring works by Jeremy Deller, Yinka Shonibare, Dario Robleto, Paul Chan, and Allison Smith, Nato Thompson has been responsible for several major exhibitions and commissions at MASS MoCA including Becoming Animal: Contemporary Art in the Animal Kingdom and last year’s group exhibition The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere. Major works commissioned for Thompson’s shows include Mark Dion’s Library for the Birds of Massachusetts and Ann-Sofi Siden’s QM Museum for Becoming Animal and six new works for The Interventionists. Thompson is the author of exhibition catalogs for The Interventionists (for which he received the College Art Association Art Journal Award for Distinguished Writing in 2005) and Becoming Animal. Both catalogs are distributed by MIT Press.

Thompson, whose career is much shorter, has proven that Mass MoCa is the ideal outlet for his curatorial vision. From the press release:

Thompson has been involved in many community organizations as a volunteer since relocating to North Adams from Chicago in 2001 including serving as the chairman of the board for the Contemporary Artists Center for two years. He advises several national and international arts organizations including Creative Capital, Art in General, and the Vera List Center for Art and Activism, and writes for numerous periodicals including tema celeste, Parkett, Piet Zwart, Art Journal, and the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. Thompson is a graduate of UC Berkeley and received an MA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

With only six years under it's belt, Mass MoCa has shown to be a powerful force for contemporary art in New England. Both Cross and Thompson promise to be great additions to this institution, shaping its growing vision, and contributing in immeasurable ways.


An Interview with Nato Thompson by Joanne Pasila, BRS issue #14


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