Director, Miller Institute for Contemporary Art; CMU Public Art Curator; Assistant Professor of Curatorial Practice
Elizabeth Chodos is the director of the Miller Institute for Contemporary Art at Carnegie Mellon. She joined the university in fall 2017 from Ox-Bow, school of art and artists’ residency (Saugatuck, Michigan), where she most recently served as executive and creative director. To date, Chodos has focused her career on promoting the work of contemporary artists through residencies, higher education, exhibitions and public programming, and she hopes to continue that at Miller ICA.
“I believe deeply that art has the power to transform and that contemporary art offers society a vehicle to participate directly in social change,” she said. “Miller ICA has a history of blending rigorous exhibition practices with higher education, and it is an honor to join the gallery and continue this work.”
Since it first opened 16 years ago, Miller ICA has evolved from regionally focused exhibitions to curating and presenting challenging contemporary work by national and international artists. Recently, Dan J. Martin, dean of the College of Fine Arts, updated the gallery’s direction to better reflect its benefits as an asset for the university. The gallery’s vision and focus was expanded from a conventional environment exhibiting work almost exclusively by external artists into a combined gallery, teaching and research space that creates targeted projects linked directly to the university’s curricular and creative/research interests.
Chodos said leading the Miller ICA into the future particularly appeals to her because of Carnegie Mellon’s reputation as a renowned research institution. The combination of a rich research environment and extensive arts programs is a setting, she said, that creates connections across fields and demonstrates how “arts, politics, science and technology intertwine and overlap.” She hopes to offer exhibitions and related public programming, publications and interactive web-based platforms that spark conversation about our society and topical issues that matter locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
She is dedicated to making Miller ICA “open to all,” helping to ensure that exhibitions and programming appeal to a diverse group of individuals who want to experience contemporary art that makes a statement about and truly affects our lives in today’s campus environment, community and the world.
She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., and earned her bachelor’s degree in art history and creative writing. She earned her master’s degree in a dual course of study: art history, theory and criticism, and arts administration. She also completed five internships during her undergraduate studies. Chodos started her career at Threewalls in Chicago, where she began as director of public programs and then served as executive director before becoming a board member. She co-founded Hand in Glove in 2011; it is a “siteless national organization,” which served as a gathering point by and for practitioners in the field of alternative art spaces, projects and organizations. She also co-founded and served as a board member for Common Field, a national alliance of and advocacy group for artist-centered visual arts platforms and their producers.
A board member for Alliance of Artists’ Communities, Chodos also has curated numerous exhibitions across the country, has served as a panelist and moderator for arts-related conferences, and is a contributor to arts publications.