Maura Reilly is a New York-based curator and writer who has dedicated her career to contemporary art in/of/from the margins. During the 1990s, she managed Laurie Anderson’s studio, wrote reviews for Art in America, worked as an educator at the Museum of Modern Art, curated exhibitions at pop-up sites, conducted salons for artists and writers, taught art history, while completing her master’s and doctorate in art history, from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, under the mentorship of Linda Nochlin.
Since then she has held Senior Curator positions at the American Federation of Arts and Location One, both in New York City, and perhaps, most notoriously, was the Founding Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she conceived and launched the very first exhibition and public programming space in a U.S. museum devoted exclusively to feminist art. While there she organized several exhibitions, including the critically acclaimed Global Feminisms, co-curated with Linda Nochlin, the permanent reinstallation of The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago, Ghada Amer: Love Has No End, and Burning Down the House, among others.
Some of Reilly’s recent curatorial projects include Miriam Schapiro, A Visionary (2016), Pace Gems: Selections from the Linda Pace Collection (2014), Nayland Blake: Behavior (2010), Carolee Schneemann: Painting, What It Became (2009), and Richard Bell: Uz vs. Them, the artist’s first retrospective which traveled throughout the US from 2011-13, accompanied by a major monograph.
She has authored numerous books and articles on contemporary art, with recent publications including an edited volume, Women Artists: The Linda Nochlin Reader (Thames & Hudson, 2015) and Curatorial Activism: Toward an Ethics of Curating (Thames & Hudson, 2017).
Reilly has taught at several universities in the US and Australia—including Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Pratt Institute, Vassar College, Sydney College of the Arts, and Queensland College of Art, Griffith University in Brisbane, where she served as Chair and Professor of Art Theory.
Reilly is a founding member of The Feminist Art Project (TFAP) — an organization dedicated to fighting discrimination against women in the art world and society at large. She is also a founder, along with Helena Reckitt and Lara Perry, of fCU (Feminist Curators United), a network of curators and scholars dedicated to developing feminist curatorial practice through the sharing of ideas and resources, with programs encompassing public events, publications, and mentorships.
Reilly is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including ArtTable’s Future Women Leadership Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Caucus for Art, and in 2016, she was voted one of the 50 most influential people in the art world by both Blouin Art Info and Art & Auction.
Since 2005, she has worked as Chief Curator and Executive Director of the National Academy Museum & School in New York City.