The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville at the University of North Florida has hired Caitlín Doherty as its new director, effective March 20. Born in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland, Doherty holds master’s degrees in art history from the University of Edinburgh and in museum and gallery studies from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
Since January 2015, she has been chief curator and deputy director of curatorial affairs at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University. Among the exhibitions she curated at Broad MSU are “The Artist as Activist: Mahbubur Rahman and Tayeba Begum Lipi,” “2116: Forecast of the Next Century,” and “Moving Time: Video Art at 50, 1965-2015.”
From 2012 to 2015, Doherty served as exhibitions and speaker curator at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, where she organized major exhibitions of international contemporary art and design, including those on Middle Eastern photography, Egyptian-Sudanese artist Fathi Hassan, and Irish sculptor John O’Connor, and oversaw the school’s lecture series.
Doherty was the inaugural director of Lismore Castle Arts in Ireland from 2005 to 2008.
“Having worked in three academic institutions in Ireland, Qatar, and the U.S., I value the richness of intellectual resources and expertise found within a university context, as well as how much fun it can be!” Doherty said in a press statement.
“Caitlín possesses a truly creative and inspired intellect along with a practical business mind,” MOCA Board of Trustees Chair Charles Gilman III said.
MOCA’s permanent collection comprises more than 1,000 works from 1960 to the present with a focus on pieces from the museum’s own exhibitions. The museum’s selection of Doherty reflects its mission to connect in a broader, global art discourse.
“MOCA Jacksonville is … [committed] to the exploration of the world around us through the art, artists, and ideas of our time,” Doherty said. “It is also at a very important point in its development — much wonderful work has already been done at the Museum in areas such as exhibitions and education, and yet there is still the opportunity and desire for future growth and development, and for me that is hugely exciting.”
Doherty replaces Marcelle Polednik, who served as director from 2011 to 2016, and is now director of the Milwaukee Art Museum.