Chinati Foundation names Ingrid Schaffner as curator

MARFA — The Chinati Foundation announced last Thursday that Ingrid Schaffner will assume the newly created position of curator. Schaffner will oversee the museum’s permanent collection, exhibitions, residency program, publications and scholarship. She begins her new role this month.

“We are thrilled to have Ingrid Schaffner join Chinati in this newly established and vitally important role,” says Director Jenny Moore. “It is an exciting time for Chinati. The Museum of Modern Art retrospective brings new perspectives to Donald Judd’s art. Chinati is a place to explore the fullness of Judd’s vision as an artist interested in architecture and design, as a preservationist and an iconoclast. Ingrid is an outstanding curator, highly esteemed in the field for making an incredible range of exhibitions, from expansive surveys to revelatory solo shows. We look forward to having Ingrid’s talent and expertise shape this next phase of Chinati’s history.”

Schaffner is an American curator and writer, whose work coalesces around themes of archiving and collecting, photography, feminism and alternative modernisms.

“Donald Judd’s concept for the Chinati Foundation was curatorial: to permanently site works of art within a dynamic of exhibitions, scholarship, artists residencies and events,” says Schaffner.

“I’m delighted to join Jenny Moore and work with the Chinati team and board of trustees to amplify the capacity of the curatorial to keep us looking and thinking about art, architecture and the land in Marfa. It is an honor to build on the curatorial legacy established by Judd, work that continued with Director Emerita Marianne Stockebrand and Rob Weiner, through to the spirit at Chinati today.”

Donald Judd established the Chinati Foundation in 1986 as a museum made by and for artists. Judd’s concept of a new situation for art, where work would be permanently installed on a large scale according to the wishes of the artists themselves within the context of the distinct light and land of far West Texas, sets Chinati apart as a unique and pioneering institution. Schaffner comes to Chinati with a distinguished history of working closely with artists on the installation and exhibition of their work, including opportunities for artists to act as curators themselves. She is recently the curator of the 57th Carnegie International, a historic survey of contemporary art.

Schaffner joins Chinati at a significant moment. In 2017 the museum completed its first master plan and has launched a comprehensive campaign to fund the priorities it identifies, including buildings and land restoration, meeting the needs of a growing number of visitors and building Chinati’s endowment. Given the scope of these initiatives, Chinati’s leadership deemed it critically important that a new position be created focused specifically on the museum’s artistic program. Says Moore, “The curatorial position strengthens Chinati’s mission to preserve and present Judd’s vision for many years to come.”

Schaffner’s work has been recognized with awards from the International Art Critics Association and grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Schaffner attended the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program and holds a master’s degree in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.

As curator, Schaffner will work closely with the Chinati team and leadership to develop possibilities to expand the permanent collection and actively build upon the diverse special exhibitions program begun by Judd in 1987. Over the years, exhibitions at Chinati have encompassed Guatemalan toys and textiles, drawings by Mondrian and prints by Dürer, polyurethane foam sculptures by John Chamberlain, as well as a camera obscura by Zoe Leonard, Charlotte Posenenske’s modular cardboard unlimited editions, and a site-specific wall painting by Bridget Riley.

Other facets of Chinati’s artistic program that Schaffner will oversee include the artist in residence program, also started by Judd, which brings approximately six emerging or established artists to work in Marfa for a period of two to three months, and public programs such as lectures, concerts, and dance and theatrical performances.