Advisory Council member Susanne Ghez joined The Renaissance Society in 1973, and was the museum’s executive director and chief curator from 1974 to 2013. Under her guidance, The Renaissance Society has become internationally recognized as one of the most original and ambitious contemporary art museums in the United States.
Ghez has curated more than 160 exhibitions in the course of her career and edited numerous publications in conjunction with them. Her acclaimed curatorial program has consistently presented new-to-the-scene artists, including Louise Bourgeois, Jeff Wall, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Mike Kelley, and Kara Walker, who went on to become leading figures in the contemporary art world.
Ghez’s programming has included seminal exhibitions for many Chicago-based artists, yet her vision is as global as it is local; she has brought exhibitions to the Renaissance Society by artists from five continents. She also served from 1999 to 2002 as co-curator of Documenta 11, one of the best-known and best-established contemporary art exhibitions in the world.
Highly esteemed and prominent in her field, Ghez has received honorary doctorates from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the San Francisco Art Institute as well as numerous awards for curatorial excellence. She also has an extensive service record as an artistic advisor, having worked with Norway’s Contemporary Art advisory committee, Barcelona’s Museu d’Art Contemporani, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2013 she received The University of Chicago’s Benton Medal for Distinguished Public Service.