Ingrid Schaffner Named Curator at the Chinati Foundation

Ingrid Schaffner in an artillery shed housing Donald Judd’s 100 untitled works in concrete at the Chinati Foundation. Photo by Rowdy Dugan.Ingrid Schaffner in an artillery shed housing Donald Judd’s 100 untitled works in concrete at the Chinati Foundation. Photo by Rowdy Dugan.

The Chinati Foundation is pleased to announce that Ingrid Schaffner has assumed the newly created position of Curator. Schaffner will oversee the museum’s permanent collection, exhibitions, residency program, publications, and scholarship. She began her new role in February 2020.

“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.”

“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, America’s most 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.”

About Ingrid Schaffner

Ingrid Schaffner is an American curator and writer, whose work coalesces around themes of archiving and collecting, photography, feminism, and alternate modernisms. As curator of the 2018 Carnegie International, at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Schaffner presented major installations by artists and collectives, including El Anatsui, Alex Da Corte, Zoe Leonard, Postcommodity, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, along with “Dig Where You Stand,” a new look at the museum’s permanent collections by Koyo Kouoh, all within an overarching ethos of “Museum Joy.”

From 2000 through 2015, Schaffner directed the exhibition program as chief curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the University of Pennsylvania, where she increased the rigor, diversity, and popular appeal of its program. She facilitated artists as curators, with exhibitions by Kara Walker, Virgil Marti, and Christian Marclay and brought attention to under-recognized artists, little-explored themes, and emerging practices within contemporary art. Her ICA exhibitions include: Barry LeVa, Accumulated Vision; Dirt on Delight: Impulses That Form Clay; Anne Tyng: Inhabiting Geometry; Queer Voice; and Jason Rhoades, Four Roads.

Schaffner’s work has been recognized with awards from the International Art Critics Association (AICA) 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.

Her belief that writing about art should be lively and engaging as well as acutely researched informs her many publications, including: Deep Storage: Collecting, Storing, and Archiving in Art (Prestel) and Julien Levy: Portrait of an Art Gallery (MIT Press). She is co-authoring a history of Skowhegan, the summer art program in Maine, founded by artists for artists in 1946.

About the Artistic Program at the Chinati Foundation

The Chinati Foundation opened to the public in 1987. Among the earliest works installed were Donald Judd’s 15 outdoor works in concrete and 100 works in mill aluminum in two converted artillery sheds. The collection and museum have grown to include works of art by thirteen artists sited across thirty-four buildings on 340 acres. Stewarding the permanent collection is at the core of every aspect of Chinati’s artistic program and mission. 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.

The annual Chinati Weekend, held every October since 1987, is the occasion of exhibition openings, lectures, and performances. Periodic symposia dedicated to aspects of the museum’s permanent collection have included: Art in the Landscape (1985), Art and Architecture (1998), It’s All in the Fit: The Work of John Chamberlain (2006), Donald Judd’s Writings (2008), and the Chinati Foundation Master Plan (2017), along with related publications. The Chinati Foundation Newsletter is a scholarly journal, published annually.

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.