Lauren R. O’Connell

Title: Curator of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale Arts

Artist Affiliation: Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

  Lauren R. O’Connell is curator of contemporary art at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA). Before coming to SMoCA, O’Connell worked independently and held curatorial positions at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She received a M.A. in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and a B.A. in Classics and Art History from the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Her curatorial practice focuses on working with living artists and the promotion of inclusion, whether facilitating new works or uncovering extraordinary, yet under-recognized, histories. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include Diedrick Brackens: ark of bulrushes (2021), Mimi O Chun: It’s all cake (2021), Language in Times of Miscommunication (2022), and a post-humous retrospective on color field painter Dorothy Fratt (2023). O’Connell has worked with numerous artists on new projects and commissions including Tarek Atoui, Kristin Bauer, Diedrick Brackens, Will Brown (collective), Martin Soto Climent, Otobong Nkanga, Jean Shin, Forrest Solis, and Qiu Zhijie.

O’Connell is adjunct faculty in the School of Art at Arizona State University. In 2019, she was invited to create the seminar course “Curating the Contemporary,” the first curatorial class presented by the University. The course includes an introduction to the history of exhibition making, discussion about ethical and equitable practices, and instruction on the practical aspects of curating, such as artist studio visits and writing exhibition proposals.