The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts has tapped Gretchen Wagner to head its curatorial program. Wagner, who holds a masters in art history from Williams College, comes to the organization after eight years at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, where she was assistant curator in the department of prints and illustrated books. Her work there involved organizing exhibits and writing the text for several of the museum’s exhibition catalogs.
Taking the curator position at the Pulitzer involves more than just changing jobs for Wagner. The cultural shift between the frenetic pace of New York City and the relatively laid-back atmosphere of St. Louis is dramatic. “I’m preparing myself for culture shock,” Wagner says, but she adds that she always knew she’d be returning to a slower-paced lifestyle like Wisconsin, where she grew up and received her BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
As curator, Wagner’s primary responsibility will be conceiving and organizing exhibits; she’ll also develop the museum’s programming and form mutually beneficial partnerships with other institutions. But, Wagner also has goals that stretch beyond the usual duties of a curator. Her intention to develop the museum’s social media and online presence, she says, is the first step in her initiative to expand the Pulitzer’s reach beyond St. Louis.