Director Marla Price has announced María Elena Ortiz as new Curator at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Clare Milliken as Assistant Curator; and the promotion of Alison Hearst to Curator. The curatorial team at the Modern is under the direction of Chief Curator Andrea Karnes.

Director Marla Price comments, “We are delighted to welcome María Elena Ortiz to Fort Worth! I am looking forward to important contributions from each of these women as we connect our community with the most significant and compelling art and ideas of our time.”

Chief Curator Andrea Karnes notes, “We are so fortunate to expand and enrich the Modern’s curatorial team with the additions of María Elena Ortiz and Clare Milliken, and the promotion of Alison Hearst. The benefits of new voices and multiple perspectives within our department will reverberate to the community, the art world, and beyond.”

 Ortiz began her role as Curator at the Modern on August 1. She comes to Fort Worth from the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), where she was curator and organized several exhibitions, including Allied with Power: African and African Diaspora Art from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection, The Other Side of Now: Foresight in Caribbean Art, Teresita Fernández: Elemental, American Echo Chamber: José Carlos Martinat, william cordova: now’s the time, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz: A Universe of Fragile Mirrors, Ulla von Brandenburg: It Has a Golden Sun and an Elderly Grey Moon, Firelei Báez: Bloodlines, and Carlos Motta: Histories for the Future, among others. Her exhibitions have traveled to prestigious institutions such as the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; El Museo de Barrio, New York; and DePaul Art Museum, Chicago.

At PAMM, Ortiz founded and spearheaded the Caribbean Cultural Institute (CCI)—a curatorial platform dedicated to Caribbean art. During her tenure in Miami, she worked to diversify the museum’s collection, securing works by Simone Leigh, Bisa Butler, Bony Ramirez, and others. She developed significant public programs, such as At the Crossroads: Critical Film and Video from the Caribbean and Latinx Art Sessions, along with other symposia related to exhibitions.

Formerly, Ortiz was curator of contemporary arts at the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros in Mexico City. Along with her catalogue contributions, she has contributed to writing platforms such as the Davidoff Art Initiative, Fluent Collaborative, Curating Now, and Terremoto Magazine. In 2014, she was awarded the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC) and Independent Curators International (ICI) Travel Award for Central America and the Caribbean, and she received the Emerging Curator Award from the Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California, in 2012.

María Elena Ortiz comments, “I am thrilled to be joining the Modern—a museum with an impressive collection and robust exhibition history. This is a vibrant time to be in Fort Worth, a city with exciting cultural initiatives. I am looking forward to engaging, collaborating with, and contributing to this rich history.” 

For future projects at the Modern, Ortiz will use her expertise and experience to curate exhibitions that highlight artists from Latin America, the Caribbean, and African diasporic communities

Curator Alison Hearst is currently organizing I’ll Be Your Mirror: Art and the Digital Screen, a thematic group exhibition surveying more than 50 years of groundbreaking works relating to screen culture. Featuring 51 artists and approximately 60 works, the exhibition will be on view at the Modern beginning February 2023 and will be accompanied by a major publication. 

From 2015 to 2022, Hearst was the curator of the Museum’s FOCUS exhibition series and has presented solo exhibitions of artists including Jamal Cyrus, Thomas Demand, Martine Gutierrez, Jill Magid, Joyce Pensato, Analia Saban, Lorna Simpson, Fred Tomaselli, Mario García Torres, and Stanley Whitney, among others.

Hearst curated the twenty-year survey Robyn O’Neil: WE, THE MASSES, which opened in fall 2019. She also organized Donald Sultan: The Disaster Paintings, which traveled to the Lowe Art Museum, Miami; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; and Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln. Hearst served as assistant curator of the major exhibitions Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s and México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990

In addition to her FOCUS publications, Hearst is the editor and contributing author of I’ll Be Your Mirror: Art and the Digital Screen (forthcoming) and Donald Sultan: The Disaster Paintings, and she was a a contributing author to México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990 , Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s, and Katherine Bernhardt: Swatches.

Clare Milliken joined the Modern as Assistant Curator in March 2022. She has contributed to texts for the upcoming exhibitions Modern Masters: A Tribute to Anne Windfohr Marion and I’ll Be Your Mirror: Art and the Digital Screen. In the future, she looks forward to curating FOCUS exhibitions. 

Before coming to the Modern, Milliken was the curator at the Green Family Art Foundation, Dallas. She was instrumental in launching the foundation’s exhibition space in October 2021. Having an in-depth knowledge of the collection, Milliken worked alongside guest curator Aindrea Emelife on the inaugural exhibition, Black Bodies, White Spaces: Invisibility & Hypervisibility. The exhibition—which featured paintings by Amoako Boafo, Jordan Casteel, Deborah Roberts, Amy Sherald, and Henry Taylor– explored how Black artists use the pictorial language of figuration to discuss, critique, and engage with the complexities surrounding Black identity.

Before her departure to join the Modern, Milliken curated Women of Now: Dialogues of Memory, Place & Identity. This group exhibition explored how emerging women artists synthesize a sense of place, memory, and identity to shape a discourse on the contemporary female experience. The exhibition featured artists including Ana Benaroya, Rachel Jones, Hannah Levy, Jenny Morgan, and Anna Park.

Before returning to her native Texas in 2020, Milliken spent six years in New York. After graduate school, she worked at Phillips Auctioneers for three and half years in the Photographs Specialists department. Responsible for cataloguing the department’s consigned artworks, Milliken researched and inspected more than 1,500 photographs, including works by Diane Arbus, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Sally Mann, Robert Mapplethorpe, Irving Penn, Man Ray, Cindy Sherman, and Hannah Wilke.

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