Joan Mitchell Foundation Names Sarah Roberts Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs

14May 15, 2024

Joan Mitchell Foundation Names …

TheJoan Mitchell Foundationtoday announced Sarah Roberts as its inaugural senior director of curatorial affairs, beginning in June. Roberts arrives to the freshly created role from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where she has worked since 2004, most recently as Andrew W. Mellon Curator and Head of Painting and Sculpture. In her new capacity, Roberts will oversee the foundation’s collection and archive. Also falling under her purview will be the Joan Mitchell catalogue raisonné project, as well as digital assets and rights and reproductions.

“[Roberts’s] collaborative approach and scholarly knowledge align with the foundation’s own focus and values, making her an outstanding fit for this new position,” said Christa Blatchford, the foundation’s executive director, in a statement. “Moreover, she has both the clear vision needed to convey Mitchell’s impact, and the professional and academic backgrounds necessary to oversee and implement our critical research work. As we approach Mitchell’s centennial anniversary, we are excited to have her as part of our team.”

Roberts specializes in postwar American art. During her nearly two decades at SFMoMA, she organized major surveys of artists including Louise Bourgeois, Frank Bowling, Joan Mitchell (cocurated with Katy Siegel), Robert Rauschenberg, and Amy Sherald, whose midcareer retrospective—the painter’s first—opens at the San Francisco museum this fall before traveling to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. As well, she served as research director and primary author of SFMoMA’s digital Rauschenberg Research Project, which makes scholarly research and documentation on the artist free to the public. Before joining SFMoMA, Roberts held various curatorial positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts; and the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. She holds a BA in sculpture and metalsmithing from the University of Texas at Austin and an MA in the history of art and architecture from Brown University, where she achieved ABD status as a Ph.D. candidate with research focused on abstraction and nationalism in modern British art.

“I look forward to thinking creatively with the excellent team at the foundation, and with curators, art historians, and conservators in the field to develop new research and scholarship on the many facets of Mitchell’s work that remain underexplored,” said Roberts in a statement. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to steward and further Mitchell’s profound ongoing legacy as one of the foremost painters of the twentieth century, including by shaping the direction of research and writing for the forthcoming catalogue raisonné.”