Friends Lecture Welcomes Mia’s Contemporary Art Curator

Gabriel Ritter: “Portraying Communities: Aliza Nisenbaum and the Care of Representation”

On Thursday, October 12, Gabriel Ritter will speak at Mia as part of the Friends Lecture Series.

Gabriel Ritter, Curator of Contemporary Art; June 2016
Gabriel Ritter, Curator of Contemporary Art; June 2016

Ritter has worked at Mia since May 2016 but already he has accomplished a great deal as the curator and Head of the Department of Contemporary Art. He has organized an encyclopedic re-installation of the contemporary permanent collection galleries in collaboration with L.A.–based artist Dave Muller. The installation Now Where Were We? has prompted conversations with visitors of all ages. The recently closed retrospective of famed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro’s “At Home with Monsters” drew enormous crowds largely due to Ritter’s close collaboration with del Toro. This summer brought New York–based Aliza Nisenbaum to Mia as its artist-in-residence. Working with Ritter, Nisenbaum created large-scale canvases representing individuals and community groups in the neighborhood surrounding Mia, on view in her exhibition “A Place We Share.” Ritter, a specialist in postwar and contemporary Japanese art, is currently working on the first U.S. museum survey of Japanese artist Shinro Ohtake.

“It is my responsibility to expand the collection and the narrative of art history, to better reflect the diversity and inequity of the world in which we live,” he says. He intends to “look beyond the western canon to non-western artists and foregrounding underrepresented artists—female artists, artists of color, and those who openly identify as LGBTQ-through acquisitions, exhibitions, and research.” Also, Mia looks forward to further “cultivating a regional identity,” placing focus on artists working and living in the Upper Midwest region.

From the University of California, Los Angeles, Ritter received his BA in art history and Japanese, and an MA and PhD in art history. He has also completed a Japan Foundation Doctoral Fellowship at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. He comes to Mia from the Dallas Museum of Art, where he was the assistant curator of contemporary art.

Free tickets are available starting September 15 to Friends members through or 612.870.6323. Tickets are available September 17 for the general public. Overflow seating in the Wells Fargo Community Room.

Generous support for “Now Where Were We?” is provided by the Mary Ingebrad-Pohlad Charitable Foundation. 

 Major Sponsor:


This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Additional generous support provided by Eric and Celita Levinson.