Catherine Futter named to new leadership position at KC museum

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – During opening week for two special exhibitions at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the museum has announced that Catherine L. Futter – responsible for both exhibitions – has been promoted to the Louis L. and Adelaide C. Ward Senior Curator of European Arts.

The new title reflects a greatly expanded role for Futter as she heads a newly created division overseeing three existing departments: Arts of the Ancient World, European Paintings and Sculpture, and Architecture, Design and Decorative Arts, which includes American Decorative Arts.

In addition to her new role as head of a large curatorial division, Futter is currently steering the museum’s wider discussion of a cultural district, a conversation that involves concepts for 10, 20 to 30 years from now in Kansas City’s Midtown/Plaza area. She is the curator for the original exhibition Jump In! Architecture Workshop and responsible for the Nelson-Atkins presentation of Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity. Also, she is co-curator of A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America, which opens March 28.

Futter is a graduate of Duke University, where she concentrated in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, with a focus on Italian Renaissance paintings. She earned her doctorate from Yale University and developed a specialization in American and European decorative arts from 1850 to the present. In 2002, she joined the Nelson-Atkins as Curator of Decorative Arts. She curated a major international loan traveling exhibition, Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at World’s Fairs, 1851-1939, that opened at the Nelson-Atkins in 2012.

She has been critical in bringing contemporary artists into the Nelson-Atkins programs with celebrated and innovative exhibitions such as Resting Places Living Things: Designs by Michael Cross; Forever, an installation by Clare Twomey; The Future of Yesterday: Photographs of Architectural Remains of World’s Fairs by Ives Maes; and Presence & Absence: New Works by Tom Price.

In more recent years, her title expanded to include Architecture and Design, as her projects stretched to include stewardship of the museum’s cultural district initiative. Futter also is a member of the museum’s Strategic Leadership Group, and she was a Fellow in 2014 with the Center for Curatorial Leadership.