MCA Denver announces Nora Burnett Abrams as next Director

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MCA Denver announces Nora Burnett Abrams as next Director
Since moving to Denver in 2010, she has organized over 30 exhibitions and authored or contributed to more than a dozen accompanying publications. Photo: Josie Skinner.

DENVER, CO.- The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver announced today that Nora Burnett Abrams will be the next Mark G. Falcone Director of the museum. The announcement was made by Mike Fries, Board Chair of the influential contemporary art museum that in the past five years has seen an increase in attendance of more than 200%, in large part due to Abrams’ contributions as the Ellen Bruss Curator and Director of Planning. She will begin her new role August 20th and at 41, is among the youngest directors in the country and joins a rising class of new museum leadership.

“After an extensive international search, the Board was unanimous in selecting Nora,” said Fries. “Over the last ten years, she has been instrumental in bringing MCA Denver to where it stands today as one of the most important cultural institutions in Colorado. Her distinct curatorial approach has proven time and again her ability to bring adventurous and compelling stories to light and to uncover previously unexamined facets of artists and their work. Nora’s unique appreciation for the special role MCA plays in the creative hearts and minds of Denverites and the next generation of museumgoers makes her the ideal candidate. We can’t wait to see where her visionary leadership takes us next.”

“I am honored to have been selected as MCA Denver’s next Mark G. Falcone Director,” said Abrams. “Having spent almost ten years at this institution, I am inspired daily by my colleagues and the creative energy in Denver. It is especially meaningful to succeed Adam Lerner who always encouraged me to stretch myself as a curator, conceive exhibitions that disrupt and break from convention and serve as a model for innovative thinking.”

Nora Burnett Abrams’ career began at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she worked on the Sol LeWitt on the Roof and Robert Rauschenberg: Combines exhibitions. Since moving to Denver in 2010, she has organized over 30 exhibitions and authored or contributed to more than a dozen accompanying publications.

Recent projects highlighted unusual or unknown episodes in artists’ careers such as Basquiat Before Basquiat (2017), which traveled to three other venues, as well as the first survey of Senga Nengudi’s R.S.V.P. sculptures (2014). She curated the first U.S. exhibition of Romanian painter Adrian Ghenie (2012) and an in-depth study of Ryan McGinley’s earliest photographs and never-before-seen Polaroids (2017). In 2018, Abrams organized a retrospective of artist Tara Donovan, which traveled to the Smart Museum at the University of Chicago. Her most recent project, Francesca Woodman: Portrait of a Reputation, opens in September and will present a group of rare prints taken by Francesca Woodman that have never been shown.

Abrams has taught art history at New York University and continues to lecture throughout the country on modern and contemporary art. She participated in the Center for Curatorial Leadership’s flagship program (2018) and she holds art history degrees from Stanford University (B.A.), Columbia University (M.A.), and a Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.

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