Suzanne Weaver named Curator of Contemporary Art at Speed Museum

Suzanne Weaver. Image courtesy Speed Art Museum.

Suzanne Weaver. Image courtesy Speed Art Museum.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Speed Art Museum has appointed Suzanne Weaver to the post of Curator of Contemporary Art.

Weaver comes to the Speed from the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), where she has served as Associate Curator of Contemporary Art since 1995.  She will join the Speed’s staff in mid-January, 2009.  

Speed director Charles L. Venable said of the appointment, “Having known Suzanne for more than a decade, I am confident that she is an exceptionally good fit with the Speed’s ambitious plans for its contemporary art program. Over the next few years the museum hopes to enhance its collecting, exhibitions, and educational program in the field, while expanding the building to accommodate its growing collection of contemporary art.”

During her tenure at the DMA, Weaver helped to advance the contemporary art program and raise its profile in the international, national, and local contemporary art arenas.

Additionally, Weaver played an integral role in the museum’s international emerging artist series – titled ‘Concentrations’ – pushing the series to a new level of ambition and experimentation. Her last Concentrations exhibition was the world premiere of Phil Collins’s monumental, visually stunning video trilogy ‘the world won’t listen,’ which was accompanied by a cross-disciplinary catalog distributed by Yale University Press.

In 2003 Weaver organized the exciting and risky Come Forward: Emerging Art in Texas, an exhibition that celebrated emerging Texas artists.    

In her time as Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Weaver was responsible for organizing more than 21 shows, giving several artists their first museum solo exhibitions in the United States. From this group, artists have emerged as finalists for Tate Britain’s Turner Prize and the Guggenheim Museum’s Hugo Boss Prize, as well as winners of the Venice Bienniale’s Golden Lion award. Holding a reputation for finding especially promising emerging artist and introducing artists before a consensus is formed, Weaver has exhibited artists such as Mariko Mori, Doug Aitken, Anri Sala, Maureen Gallace, Daniel Roth, and Charline von Heyl, who have later gone on to have highly acclaimed international careers.

Concerning Weaver’s acquisitions, Venable said, “Her ability to spot talent before others do has enabled her to make great acquisitions early on in the career of an artist. Weaver’s acquisitions for the DMA have been exceptional, including significant works by Laurie Owens, Anne Chu, Thomas Demand, Mark Handforth, Mona Hatoum, Josiah McElheny, Jack Pierson, Thomas Ruff and Texas artists Jeff Elrod, Robyn O’Neil, John Pomara and Eric Swenson. In only a decade, she helped to build an internationally significant media-based collection that  includes large-scale installations by Bill Viola (his  masterpiece, The Crossing), Doug Aitken, Shirin Neshat, Paul Sietsema, Jane and Louise Wilson and most recently, Collins’ the world won’t  listen, and single-channel works by  Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Bruce Conner, Anri Sala, and Simon  Martin.”

Before joining the DMA, Weaver served as a National Endowment for the Arts Curatorial Intern and then Curatorial Associate of Contemporary Art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and Exhibition  Coordinator at The Center for Research in Contemporary Art, University of  Texas at Arlington. She also served as editor-in-chief of Circa, the Texas-based journal of  contemporary art. Weaver earned a B.S. in Human Development from the University of Maine, Orono in 1980; and a M.A. in Art History from the University of North Texas, Denton in 1992.

Weaver commented about joining the Speed Art Museum, “I am thrilled to be coming to the Speed. There is a lot of potential, talent, and energy at the museum and in the community of Louisville. I am looking forward to working with Charles, the Speed’s staff and patrons, as well as people in the community to make the museum’s contemporary art program more exciting, relevant, and meaningful.”

About the Speed: A national leader in arts education, serving over 30,000 children each year, the Speed Art Museum has repeatedly been voted Kentucky’s best museum and is considered one of the top 10 sites each Kentuckian should visit. The Speed honors its mission to bring great art to our communities through its distinguished collections and as the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s number one venue for international art exhibitions.

The Speed Art Museum is located at 2035 South Third Street in Louisville. Other features of the museum include a hands-on Art Learning Center for families, a café and gift shop. Gallery hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Sunday 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays. For general information, call 502-634-2700 or visit