Ingrid Schaffner is a curator and writer, who has developed a highly detailed, research-based practice in the field of contemporary art.  Working for over fifteen years as an independent curator based in New York, she organized exhibitions, wrote scholarly essays, and criticism that coalesce around themes of archiving and collecting, photography, feminism, and alternative modernisms—especially Surrealism. As Chief Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), University of Pennsylvania, she has supervised the exhibition program since 2000. She also serves on the Graduate Committee at the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS) at Bard College.

Her current project is a first American survey of Jason Rhoades and the accompanying catalogue. She has organized monographic exhibitions at ICA of the work of artists Douglas Blau, Karen Kilimnik, Barry Le Va, and Polly Apfelbaum, the architect Anne Tyng, and the illustrator Maira Kalman. Past group exhibitions at ICA include:  Dirt On Delight: Impulses That Form Clay, The Puppet Show, Queer Voice, and The Photogenic, among many other shows. Working independently, she is the curator of Deep Storage: Collecting, Storing, and Archiving in Art (Siemens Kulturprogramm and Haus der Kunst, Munich); Julien Levy: Portrait of an Art Gallery, (Equitable Art Gallery, New York); The Return of the Cadavre Exquis (The Drawing Center); Jess: To and From the Printed Page (with Independent Curators International); Gloria: Another Look at Feminist Art of the 1970s (White Columns); and Chocolate! (The Swiss Institute).

Schaffner has written extensively on contemporary art and curatorial practice with numerous catalogue publications, reviews, and features, including an essay on “Wall Text” in Questions of Practice: What Makes a Great Exhibition? (Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative/Reaktion Books), and a monograph on Salvador Dali’s Dream of Venus: The Surrealist Funhouse from the 1939 World’s Fair (Princeton Architectural Press).

Schaffner earned a BA from Mount Holyoke College, an MA from New York University, Institute of Fine Arts, and was a fellow in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program.

(photo: Erin Leland)