Mary Jane Jacob staged retrospectives and key surveys of American and European artists in the 1980s during her tenures as chief curator of the Museums of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Los Angeles. Since 1990 she has worked as an independent curator, organizing programs that test the boundaries of public space and the relationship of contemporary art to audiences. These include: the site-specific exhibition “Places with a Past” (Charleston, 1991); experimental, community-based public art programs “Culture in Action,” (Chicago, 1993) and “Points of Entry” (Pittsburgh, 1996); and “Conversations at The Castle” (Atlanta, 1996) that traversed artistic, curatorial, and educational practices. During the last decade she also served as Consulting Curator for The Fabric Workshop and Museum, initiating over twenty artists’ experimental projects and a touring exhibition of major installation works.
Ms. Jacob is now organizing “Evoking History: Listening Across Cultures and Communities,” a local and international community initiative of the Spoleto Festival USA (2001-2003). Concurrently she is Curator for Program Development of “Awake: Art and Buddhism, and The Dimensions of Consciousness,” a consortium effort based in the Bay Area and aimed to explore the relationship between the creative, perceiving, and meditative mind which will culminate in exhibitions and other public activities in 2003-2004. She is also undertaking several public art projects around the U.S. Mary Jane Jacob teaches at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is on the graduate faculty of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, New York.