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Karen Moss is an art historian, curator, educator and writer based in Los Angeles. Currently, she is Acting Vice Dean for Critical Studies and teaches in the MA Curatorial Program at USC Roski School of Art and Design. Additionally, she is Adjunct Professor in the MFA program at Otis College of Art where she has been the Consulting Curator for Talking to Action
, an exhibition of socially engaged artists from Los Angeles and Latin America that is Otis’ participation in the Getty Foundation’s PST LA/LA initiative. Previously Moss held senior curatorial and education positions at Orange County Museum of Art; San Francisco Art Institute; Santa Monica Museum of Art, and Walker Art Center. Earlier in her career she worked at MoCA, Los Angeles, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum. Moss received her BA in art history/studio art from UC Santa Cruz and MA and PhD in art history from University of Southern California. She has authored numerous exhibition publications and articles for art magazines and scholarly journals.
Previously, Moss was Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Programs and Curator of Collections at Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) from 2005 - 2010. She co-curated State of Mind: New Art from California Circa 1970
for the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time
initiative in 2011 and subsequently the exhibition travelled to the UC Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archives, the Belkin Gallery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver; SITE Santa Fe, the Bronx Museum of Arts, and the Smart Museum, University of Chicago. Some of her other OCMA exhibitions included: 15 Minutes of Fame: Portraits from Ansel Adams to Andy Warhol
(2010) Illumination: The Paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Pelton, Agnes Martin and Florence Pierce
(2009); Disorderly Conduct: Recent Art in Tumultuous Times
(2008) and Art Since the 1960s: California Experiments
(2007-08). Moss was co-curator and catalogue essayist for the 2006 California Biennial
and organized artists’ residencies, performances and public programs for the 2006, 2008 and 2010 biennials.
Prior to OCMA, Moss was Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs at San Francisco Art Institute (1999-2004) where she curated exhibitions such as Sharon Lockhart/Kelly Nipper, James Siena, Topographies,
and The World on Its Head: Contemporary Belgian Art
and organized Touch: Relational Art from the 1990s
with Nicolas Bourriaud. Moss also did international residencies with artists Ghada Amer, Tania Bruguera, Lee Bul, Wim Delvoye, Pierre Huyghe/Philppe Parenno, Los Carpinteros and Rikrit Tiranvanija.
As Director of Education and Community Programs and curator at the Walker Art Center (1995-1999) she curated Performance in the 1970s: Experiencing the Everyday, Art of the 1960s: Media is the Message
, co-curated Visitor’s Voices: Recomposing the Collection
, and also organized many artist residences and public programs.
Moss was the first Director of Programs at the Santa Monica Museum of Art (1989-1993) where she curated exhibitions such as Altered Egos: Making As Another
and Kim Abeles: Encyclopedia Persona
and organized Art in the Raw
the museum’s inaugural site-specific installations that evolved into SMMOA’s Artists’ Project Series. Earlier in her career she was an Assistant Curator at MOCA, Los Angeles (1985-87) and attended Whitney Independent Study Program in Art History and Museum Studies.
Moss has a B.A. in studio art and art history from U.C. Santa Cruz, and did her graduate work in art history at U.C. Berkeley and University of Southern California, where she is completing her PhD. in art history. She has taught undergraduate and graduate level art history, critical theory and curatorial studies at art schools and universities including Cal State University, Long Beach, Otis College of Art and Design; San Francisco Art Institute, and University of Southern California. Moss has authored numerous museum exhibition catalogues, written guest essays for arts publications, and contributed to scholarly journals.