Photograph of two people wearing gloves holding up an art piece onto a beige wall. The person on the left is wearing a hat. The piece by Georgia O'Keeffe is a pastel of a large circular brown goat’s horn. The negative space in the center of the horn and around it are blue. To the left side of the horn is the edge of the goat’s white skull and eye-socket.



From Concept to Completion: Creating Exhibitions at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

February 20, 2024

Each year, tens of thousands visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum to experience its collections and rotation of gallery exhibits. But what does it take to carry an exhibition from concept to completion? Hear from Ariel Russell, Manager of Exhibitions and Installations, Tom Miller, Manager of Exhibition Design and Preparation, and Bess Murphy, Luce Curator of Art and Social Practice as they discuss how planning, collaboration, and creativity come together to successfully mount a visually compelling and engaging exhibit at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.  

This talk was recorded as part of our free ‘Mornings With O’Keeffe’ lecture series on the first Wednesday of every month.

About the Speakers:

Ariel Russell | Manager of Exhibitions and Installations at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Ariel Russell is responsible for managing and supporting the implementation of both onsite and traveling exhibitions. In addition to working closely with Collections and Interpretation Division staff to successfully complete exhibition projects across all exhibition spaces on a rotating basis, Ariel manages the production of interpretive materials as a member of the interpretation team. She also manages the summer intern program for the GOKM’s Santa Fe Campus. If you know of students looking for a summer internship, please reach out. 

Prior to joining the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in 2021, Ariel served as a Curatorial Assistant in the National Museum of the Marine Corp’s Art Collection in Triangle, VA, where she developed a strong practical background in collections management and contemporary curatorial practice. Ariel will graduate in December 2024 with a Master’s in Project Management from the University of Maryland Global Campus having previously earned her BA in Art History from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia.

Bess Murphy, Luce Curator of Art and Social Practice | Georgia O’Keeffe Museum:  

Bess Murphy joined the Museum in 2022 where she oversees exhibitions, programs, and initiatives bridging the museum and artists and community. Previously, she worked for eight years at the Coe Center for the Arts as Creative Director and Curator, where she worked with leading Native artists, community members, and students to develop programs and exhibitions. At the Coe, she worked on many artist-driven projects including the social engagement exhibition Giving Growth with Eliza Naranjo Morse and Jamison Chas Banks and the immersive project Function with Cannupa Hanska Luger. She also directed the Coe’s education programming. Bess received her PhD in Art History, with a focus on Native American 20th C. art, from the University of Southern California. She has taught Art History and Museum Studies at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and the Institute of American Indian Arts and has held positions at galleries, museums, art centers, and alternative artist-led art spaces.  

Tom Miller | Manager of Exhibition Design and Preparation at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Before joining the O’Keeffe team, Tom worked as a preparator for Exhibit Services at the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. Tom is an interdisciplinary artist, his practice includes video, sculpture, and painting. His artwork is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art-Tucson, the Lannan Foundation, the New Mexico Museum of Art, and the Tamarind Institute. James Kelly Contemporary Art and Zane Bennett Contemporary Art in Santa Fe have represented his work. Tom taught video and sculpture at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design from 2009 to 2018 where he was Head of Sculpture and Lead Faculty. He was a founding mentor for Outdoor Vision Fest the flagship event at the university. He holds an MFA from the University of Arizona and a BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design.