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Sara O’Keeffe was recently named the Nancy C. Meinig Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Philbrook Museum of Art. Courtesy/Bhadri Verduzco for Philbrook Museum of Art

Sara O’Keeffe, whose career includes stints at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum, has been named the Nancy E. Meinig Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Philbrook Museum of Art.

O’Keeffe comes to Tulsa after six years at the New Museum in New York, where she was associate curator. Prior to that, she was in the curatorial department of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sara to Philbrook,” said Philbrook Director Scott Stulen in a statement. “She brings extensive experience in a wide variety of contemporary practices, willingness to experiment and passion for art and artists. Sara’s collaborative spirit is an ideal fit for Philbrook as we build a more inclusive and relevant experience with an increased focus on Contemporary Art.”

During her time at the New Museum, O’Keeffe was part of the curatorial teams that organized “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon,” a group exhibition that investigated gender’s place in contemporary art and culture (with Johanna Burton and Natalie Bell, 2017) and “Triennial: Surround Audience,” a survey of early career artists that explored the effects of an increasingly connected world marked by corporate and governmental surveillance (with Lauren Cornell and Ryan Trecartin, 2015).

While at the New Museum, she oversaw the museum’s residency program with Burton. Through this program, she organized a number of events with artists working across fashion, music, dance and performance.

In 2016, she organized the New Museum’s first youth summit, “Scamming the Patriarchy,” developed by an emerging generation of artists, writers and activists. The summit included more than 20 workshops organized around five guiding principles — healing, self-love, skill building, political education and empowerment.

“Sara brings great depth, experience and forward-looking energy to the curatorial team at Philbrook and to the entire community,” said Philbrook Chief Curator Catherine Whitney in a statement. “Her programming and curatorial accomplishments, as well as her initiatives with living artists, are perfectly aligned with the directions in which we are moving.”

O’Keeffe’s first exhibition at Philbrook will be in the fall of 2020, exploring questions of identity and representation in the United States, drawing from the renowned collection of Beth Rudin DeWoody, which boasts work by today’s most groundbreaking emerging and established artists, including Diedrick Brackens, Mark Bradford, Anthea Hamilton, David Hammons, Howardena Pindell, Tschabalala Self, Pope.L, Faith Ringgold, Kara Walker and Kehinde Wiley.


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