Rachel Winter wants to make the museum a key part of everyone’s university experience: “University art museums are important spaces for innovation and collaboration that not only generate thought-provoking exhibitions, but can transform the ways students learn, and faculty teach.”
Rachel came to the MSU Broad Art Museum in 2022 from California, where she was working toward her Ph.D. in Art History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. As an art historian and curator of global contemporary art, she focuses on modern and contemporary art from West Asia and North Africa. Her ongoing research considers how art museums in the US and the UK became interested in the idea of contemporary art from the Middle East beginning in the 1970s. She is excited to bring this research to Michigan because it resonates with the state’s history as a home for many from the Arab world, including artists.
Since joining the museum, she curated the major exhibition Blind Spot: Stephanie Syjuco, which was supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Prior to that, she was part of the curatorial team that realized LaToya Ruby Frazier: Flint Is Family In Three Acts (2022), a collaborative, multi-site exhibition that brought the three acts of Frazier’s photographic series about the Flint water crisis to Michigan for the first time, and Zaha Hadid Design: Untold (2022), the largest retrospective of work by Zaha Hadid Design to date. Her future curatorial projects include The CORE, which also received support from the Terra Foundation for American Art, Samia Halaby: Eye Witness (2024), and exhibitions featuring weaver Kayla Mattes (2024), and painter Nabil Kanso (2025); for her project on Kanso, Winter was awarded the inaugural Salwa Mikdadi Research Award from the Association for Modern + Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran + Turkey.
Outside the museum, Rachel writes broadly about modern and contemporary art from the SWANA region, American art, and museums, and has published her research in Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art, and react/review: a responsive journal for art & architecture, which you can read on her academia.edu page. She is a faculty affiliate of MSU’s Muslim Studies Program, and a member of the Association of Art Museum Curators, the College Art Association, and the Association for Modern + Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, + Turkey. Outside the museum, you’ll find Rachel walking her dog, drinking coffee, and baking gluten-free treats.