Campus News

Adams named associate curator for UB Art Galleries


Published March 5, 2015

Rachel Adams

Rachel Adams

Rachel Adams, a curator with an eye for fresh young contemporary artists who work in a wide range of media, has been named associate curator of the UB Art Gallery in the Center for the Arts (CFA).

Adams began on March 2. She takes up the post held for 11 years by Sandra Q. Firmin, who was named director of the CU Art Museum, University of Colorado, Boulder.

Adams is expected to help maintain a dynamic forum for contemporary art by planning and executing exhibitions, projects and events, and commissioning artists for the annual site-specific installation in the CFA’s Lightwell Gallery, whose 40-foot-high walls culminate in skylights that flood the gallery with natural light.

Adams also will provide curatorial training for a graduate assistant in the Department of Art, which is responsible for exhibitions in the CFA’s second-floor CFA gallery.

“I enjoy working across departments and collaborating with staff and community,” Adams says. “My areas of research include the crossover between contemporary art and architecture, video and new media practices, with a special focus on artists working and performing in the landscape.”

“We are excited that Rachel is joining us,” says Sandra Olsen, director of the UB Galleries. “Her dedication to engaging a broad audience, including students, UB faculty and staff, the local community and the broader public, will strengthen the galleries’ pedagogical mission to serve both the university and the people of Western New York.”

Adams has eight years of curatorial experience and has organized lecture series, film series and public art projects as well as exhibitions.

She currently works as an independent curator and in that capacity has planned and executed exhibitions with national and international artists at many venues, among them The Contemporary Austin, Austin, Texas; Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, Portland, Oregon; testsite Austin, which helps writers and curators develop collaborative projects; Artspace 108, which specializes in pop-up exhibitions; and Greene Exhibitions, Los Angeles.

Adams has worked with a number of artists, including architect/artist Seher Shah, whose first solo museum exhibition she curated; Icelandic performance artist and director Ragnar Kjartansson; filmmaker Amie Siegel; sculpture and installation artist John Grade; and multimedia artist Richard T. Walker.

She is co-founder of the Field Constructs Design Competition in Austin, which will select and sponsor eight temporary installations by designers, architects, landscape architects and artists that will be sited at the Circles Acres Nature Preserve in Austin.

Her publications include exhibition catalogues for Prospect 3, the third New Orleans’ contemporary art biennial; Constructed Landscapes, an exhibition by Shah; and Homestretchbody, an exhibition of collaborative work by Adams and New York-based installation artist Justin Cooper.

She also contributed to the book “A Fresh Look: Observations of Artistic and Social Practices in Urban Farming,” a collection of works discussing intersections of contemporary art and urban agriculture, and is a contributing writer for Art + Culture Texas,, Art Papers, Modern Painters and Texas Architect.

Adams received a bachelor of fine arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a master’s degree in exhibition and museum studies from the San Francisco Art Institute.