Following a nation-wide search, Emerson College today announces Dr. Leonie Bradbury has joined the college’s School of the Arts as the Foster Chair in Contemporary Art Theory and Practice and Distinguished Curator-in-Residence. Professor Bradbury will teach in the Department of Visual & Media Arts in addition to curating and directing the Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery, administering the Huret & Spector Gallery, and serving on the School of the Arts Public Art Think Tank.
As a pragmatic visionary and a leading curator of contemporary art, Bradbury has excelled in roles at academic and cultural institutions and built a strong reputation as an astute reader of contemporary culture. In her distinguished career, she has curated innovative exhibitions that explore wide-ranging topics, such as copyright, biotechnology, data networks, social activism, and civic engagement.
Her curatorial programming includes solo and group exhibition projects that feature a range of established artists of national and international note, including Gregory Crewdson, Tom Friedman, Jenny Holzer, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu, and Matthew Ritchie. Two of her exhibitions have received awards from the Association of International Art Critics (AICA): A New Order: Appropriation Art in the Digital Age (second place, 2006) and Electric Wasteland: Urban Art from L.A. (first place, 2008). Bradbury says she is passionate about creating platforms for artists to share their work and ideas through the thoughtful design of public programs, such as symposia, workshops, and lectures, as well as the facilitation of direct interactions between artists, exhibitions, and their audiences, both on campus and beyond.
Originally from the Netherlands, Bradbury began her studies at the University of Amsterdam. She went on to complete a B.A. in Art History specializing in Art Nouveau from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and she holds an M.A. in the History of Art and Architecture, specializing in 20th-century art, theory, and criticism, from Boston University. Additionally, she earned a Ph.D. in Visual Arts: Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Art Theory at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, Portland, Maine, specializing in network theory and its intersections with art history and contemporary artistic practices. Her current research examines the role of the artist in the innovation ecosystem.
Previously, Bradbury served as the director and curator of the Galleries at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts, for 11 years, where she taught both critical and professional practice as part of the senior fine art capstone experience, and initiated a number of courses focused on the business of art.
She most recently served as the director of art and creative initiatives at HUBweek, a Boston-based innovation festival that explores intersections of art, science, and technology and their social impact. In that capacity, she organized two large-scale, outdoor exhibitions of public art on Boston’s iconic City Hall Plaza that included participatory projects, a 360-degree full dome experience, digital projections, performance art, and shipping container murals. Additionally, she organized a dynamic performing arts program that included live music, contemporary dance, live virtual reality drawing, dancing robots, and a broad range of DJs.
About Emerson College
Based in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has 3,780 undergraduates and 670 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its experiential learning programs in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, the Netherlands, London, China, and the Czech Republic as well as its new Global Portals, with the first program launching this fall in Paris. The College has an active network of 39,000 alumni who hold leadership positions in communication and the arts. For more information, visit emerson.edu.