Kathleen Berzock

Kathleen Berzock

Kathleen Bickford Berzock (Ph.D., Art History, Indiana University, 1995) is Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, where she provides artistic leadership of the museum’s exhibition program and collection strategy in support of the museum’s cross-cultural and interdisciplinary mission. Berzock has a strong interest in museum practice and history, particularly in regard to African art. She was curator of African Art at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1995 – 2013. There she oversaw the development and display of the museum’s African art collection and presented internationally acclaimed exhibitions, including Benin—Kings and Rituals: Court Arts from Nigeria (2008) and For Hearth and Altar: African Ceramics from the Keith Achepohl Collection (2005), for which she also authored the scholarly catalogue. She was also research assistant for African art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1993-1995). She is co-editor (with Christa Clarke) and contributor to the volume Representing Africa in American Art Museums: A Century of Collecting and Display (2010), which includes essays on the history of thirteen museum collections and through them chronicles the shifts in meaning and public perception of African art in this country. Other museum publications include Benin: Royal Arts of a West African Kingdom (AIC, 2008) and The Miracles of Mary: A 17th Century Ethiopian Manuscript (AIC, 2002).

Approaching mid-career I was searching to understand how to articulate the experiences and skills, beyond my curatorial specialization, that I had accumulated over two decades of curatorial work. I was ready for bigger responsibilities and a more influential leadership role in an institution. CCL gave me a roadmap to accomplish this, and so much more.