The Art Institute of Chicago invites applications for two postdoctoral fellowships, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, for outstanding scholars who have recently earned PhDs (or equivalent degrees from foreign universities) and wish to pursue curatorial careers in art museums.

The Art Institute of Chicago is a renowned, encyclopedic art museum housing one of the world’s most important permanent collections, including many iconic works of leading artists, and mounting approximately 30 exhibitions at year. These three-year Fellowships will provide curatorial training and will support scholarly research related to the collections and projects of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Asian Art and the Department of Photography.

Spanning the history of the medium from its beginning in 1839 to the present, the Art Institute’s photography collection contains works of many of the medium’s celebrated practitioners. The collection originated in 1949, when Georgia O’Keeffe donated the Alfred Stieglitz Collection. The acquisition of the Julien Levy Collection, a gift of more than 200 photographs by Edward Weston, and purchases of the work of Paul Strand, Eugéne Atget, and André Kertész have made the department’s collection of modern masters one of the strongest in the world. The Mellon Fellow for Photography will conduct in-depth research on the permanent collection in consultation with the department’s Chair, and will be invited to curate at least one exhibition or rotation from the permanent collection.  The results of the Fellow’s research will be published on the Art Institute’s website and could also result in a small museum publication.  Specialization in the history of photography is required.

The Art Institute’s distinguished Asian art collection comprises works spanning nearly five millennia from China, Korea, Japan, India, south Asia, and the Near and Middle East. It includes 35,000 objects, many of great archaeological and artistic significance, including Chinese bronzes, ceramics, and archaic jades; Chinese and Japanese textiles; Japanese screens and paintings; Indian and Persian miniature paintings; and Indian and Southeast Asian sculpture. The collection of Japanese woodblock prints is one of the finest in the world.  The Mellon Fellow will report to the departmental Chair and will work with him on the research of the Classical and Early Modern Chinese paintings collection that will be published as an online, peer-reviewed scholarly catalogue. The successful candidate will specialize in Chinese painting, and will have written and oral proficiency in Chinese.

Fellows will be fully integrated into either the Asian Art or Photography Department. They will have the opportunity to work on a wide range of activities and with colleagues across the museum, including curatorial, conservation, education, registration, imaging, and administrative staff. They will have access to the collections, to the museum’s research libraries and local university libraries, and other professional privileges accorded the museum’s curatorial staff. Mellon Fellows will deliver at least one public lecture each year.

Mellon Fellows will receive a stipend, plus benefits, research funds, and a travel allowance. The two Fellowships are scheduled to commence in Fall 2016.


To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter summarizing your interest and experience; curriculum vitae; and a concise statement describing your area of research and its potential relationship to the museum’s collections.  The deadline for this application is May 9, 2016.

You can submit an application via our employment page:

Click “external applicant”

Scroll down to the Mellon Postdoctorate Curatorial Fellowship positions listed towards the top of the page.

Mellon Postdoctorate Curatorial Fellowship – Photography  #9113

Mellon Postdoctorate Curatorial Fellowship – Asian Art – #9112

Follow the step by step instructions in submitting your application (you must register first).

Additional Materials:

  • Three letters of recommendation (submitted independently by referees) and one copy of a published paper or writing sample, no longer than 5,000 words, should be sent to:

Joanne Engelke

The Department of Human Resources
The Art Institute of Chicago
116 South Michigan Avenue, 12th floor
Chicago, IL 60603-6110

The Art Institute of Chicago is an equal opportunity, equal access employer fully committed to achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Job Information
  • Chicago, Illinois, 60603, United States
  • 27459741
  • March 18, 2016
  • Mellon Postdoctorate Curatorial Fellowship
  • The Art Institute of Chicago
  • Curator
  • No
  • Temporary
  • 1-2 Years
  • Ph.D.
  • None

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