Smart Museum: Lust, Love, and Loss in Renaissance Europe Exhibition Research Associate

Opportunity Description:

Reporting to the Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow at the Smart Museum of Art, the Smart Undergraduate Research Associate will provide academic research and curatorial support for the forthcoming exhibition Lust, Love, and Loss in Renaissance Europe, opening January 14, 2021 through March 21, 2021. In this exhibition, passion, violence, and virtue emerge as fundamental, intertwined elements in the artworks of Renaissance Europe. The objects on view—inspired by popular literary sources and created for private homes and personal consumption—illuminate the many ways that objects lay at the heart of cultural rituals and consuming desires through which relationships were formed, celebrated, and extinguished. Works of art from the Smart Museum of Art’s holdings of European art will be displayed alongside exceptional loans from several domestic institutional collections. Approximately 45 objects on view range in date from 1400 to 1700 and offer glimpses into the lives of artists and their audiences. They encompass works by Italian, German, French, Dutch, and Flemish artists, whose media range from oil and panel paintings to prints, sculpture, ceramics, and other luxury items. Gaining in-depth experience in the exhibition planning process, the Smart Undergraduate Research Associate will conduct artist and object research, compose notes for a variety of exhibition purposes, maintain the exhibition bibliography, help develop academic and public programming, support the production of wall labels, liaise with multiple museum departments, and other duties as assigned.

Opportunity term/commitment: This opportunity will begin in Fall 2020 with the potential for continuation during Winter 2021. Undergraduate researchers should anticipate dedicating approximately 10 hours per week to this opportunity. Given the dynamic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is anticipated that most of the associate’s work will be done remotely. (If things change and in-person/on-site work is required during the associate’s tenure, this will be discussed and worked out with the student based on their location, availability, and comfort with such work.)

Additional notes: All Smart Undergraduate Research Associates will be expected to participate in the 2021 University of Chicago Undergraduate Research Symposium during the Spring Quarter and the annual research scholars curriculum organized by the College Center for Research & Fellowships. The selected student will receive more information from the College about these expectations separately.

Primary Responsibilities: 

Principle responsibilities include working closely with the Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow to conduct curatorial research, manage the exhibition bibliography, create content for programming, maintain extensive communication, and provide logistical support as needed.

Minimum Qualifications and/or Eligibility Requirements: 

Undergraduate with coursework in art history and/or early modern European history, strong interest in art history and in exploring careers in art museums or other cultural organizations. Excellent writing and communication skills, close attention to detail, and a high degree of organization.

Open to all majors in the Humanities and Social Sciences, although this opportunity may best serve students in the Department of Art History.

Preferred Skills: 

Coursework in early modern European art history

Knowledge or skills gained from the experience: 

Application of rigorous research skills to a public museum context, in-depth knowledge of curatorial processes, professional experience in creating content for academic and public programming.  

Application Process: 

Email the following in *one* pdf. document to with the subject “Lust, Love, and Loss in Renaissance Europe URA Application”:

  • 350-word statement of interest in the research opportunity (this is not a cover letter but should detail why you are interested in the research experience, what particular research skills you may bring, what you hope to learn and how this may impact your future studies and/or research in the field);
  • Current curriculum vitae (academically focused resume) with the names and contact details of two references; and,
  • A copy of your unofficial transcript.

Application Deadline: 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Application Requirements: 

  • Submit CV
  • 350 Word Statement of Interest
  • Names of Two References
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • For more information on this opportunity, please contact: