Joslyn curator sees 'amazing support' for arts in Omaha -
Published Monday, May 27, 2013 at 1:30 am / Updated at 8:01 pm
Get to know
Joslyn curator sees 'amazing support' for arts in Omaha
Karin Campbell
Occupation: Phil Willson Curator of Contemporary Art at the Joslyn Art Museum

Background: Worked as an independent curator before coming to Omaha. She curated five exhibitions for the 2011–2012 installment of the Espai 13 at the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona, Spain, an annual exhibition series initiated in the 1970s to showcase the work of emerging artists. She was the first American curator to organize the exhibitions.

Education: Bachelor's degree in art history and political science from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and master's in curatorial studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.

Family: Parents in Pittsburgh and an older brother who lives in Philadelphia with his wife.

Outside interests: Cooking, eating and all kinds of sports or exercise. Campbell is a runner, does kickboxing and practices yoga. For many years, she rowed, though she doesn’t any more.

Karin Campbell would never have known about the Omaha art scene had she not become a part of it.

Campbell, Joslyn Art Museum's Phil Willson Curator of Contemporary Art, came to the city a year ago for the first time and quickly decided that it was going to be her new home.

“There is amazing support for the arts here,” she said.

Karin Campbell

Campbell, who spent some time in Barcelona, Spain, before coming here, also likes the city's low cost of living and its friendly people — though she could take a pass on the weather sometimes.

So far, the 28-year-old Campbell has organized two exhibitions at Joslyn — last year's “Under Pressure,” which featured contemporary prints from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his foundation, and the current installation “Madame Curie,” a large-scale video piece of undulating botanicals by artist Jennifer Steinkamp. That show continues at the museum, which now has free admission, through June 9.

That free admission is something Campbell is excited about.

As a free museum, she said, Joslyn becomes open to anyone — families, artists and art educators included.

“Joslyn should play a big role in the city,” she said. “I am hoping we get more people talking about arts in general. It's a good moment for the arts in Omaha.”

She said she hopes the museum's free admission encourages gallery-goers to just pop in.

“They don't have to feel like they need to spend three hours here to get their money's worth,” she said. “If they want to come in and look at one painting for 15 minutes and then leave, they can. I hope people come in and leave inspired.”

Campbell also is excited about the next exhibition she's working on, which opens this fall.

“Legacy,” a show organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, features a selection of paintings, sculptures and works on paper from the collection of Emily Landau, a widely known collector of postwar art in the U.S.

Themes in the show include representation in the aftermath of Minimalism; gender and racial politics; and the “culture wars” of the 1980s.

The show features some big names, too: Andy Warhol, Glenn Ligon, Sherrie Levine, Agnes Martin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, John Baldessari, Kiki Smith and Ed Ruscha. It opens Sept. 28.

“It really is going to sing in our galleries,” Campbell said. “I am looking forward to seeing how it transforms the space.”

Campbell has at least one piece of advice for the city's art newbies or first-time Joslyn visitors: There's something for almost anyone inside Joslyn's encyclopedic collection.

“Even if you've never engaged with art, that's OK,” she said. “There's a chance you will see something you find beautiful or you want to know more about or that confuses you.”

First-time visitors can read wall labels or take a docent-led tour, she said, to get insight into the artwork.

“We want to be generous to our audiences,” she said. “Don't be afraid to ask questions.”

Contact the writer: 402-444-1069,

Contact the writer: Sarah Baker Hansen    |   402-444-1069    |  

Sarah writes restaurant reviews and food stories for the World-Herald.

Read more dining stories

Families from area shelters treated to meal at Old Chicago
Omaha police investigate two Sunday shootings
Sole big donor to Beau McCoy says he expects nothing in return
Firefighters battle brush fire near Fontenelle Forest
Sioux City riverboat casino prepares to close, still hoping to be saved
Omaha high schoolers to help canvass for Heartland 2050
Mizzou alumni aim to attract veterinary students to Henry Doorly Zoo
Grant ensures that Sioux City can start building children's museum
Party looks to 'nudge' women into public office in Iowa
For birthday, Brownell-Talbot student opts to give, not get
Two taken to hospital after fire at Benson home
Grace: Pipe organ concert a tribute to couple's enduring love
Omaha-area jails and ERs new front line in battling mental illness
Convicted killer Nikko Jenkins might await his sentence in prison
Kelly: 70 years after a deadly D-Day rehearsal, Omahan, WWII vet will return to Europe
Civil rights hearing to consider voting policies in Midwest
17 senators in Nebraska Legislature hit their (term) limits
It's a pursuit of pastel at Spring Lake Park's Easter egg hunt
Financial picture improving for city-owned Mid-America Center
No injuries after fire at midtown's old Mercer Mansion
29-year-old Omahan arrested for 22nd time in Lincoln
Police: Slaying of woman in Ralston apartment likely over drugs
Explosion near 29th, Woolworth damages vehicles
Omaha police arrest man, 19, accused in March shooting
Earth gets its day in the sun at Elmwood Park
< >
Kelly: 70 years after a deadly D-Day rehearsal, Omahan, WWII vet will return to Europe
A World War II veteran from Omaha will return this week to Europe to commemorate a tragedy in the run-up to D-Day.
Dickson’s Week in Review, April 13-19
On Twitter some guy tweeted that the spring game isn’t taken as seriously as a regular-season contest. What was your first clue? When the head coach entered waving a cat aloft?
Kelly: A California university president returns to her Nebraska roots on Ivy Day
The main speaker at today's Ivy Day celebration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a college president who grew up roping calves and earned her Ph.D. at the prestigious Oxford University in England.
Breaking Brad: Stuck in a claw machine? You get no Easter candy
I know of one kid in Lincoln who will be receiving a lump of coal from the Easter Bunny, just as soon as he's extricated from that bowling alley claw machine.
Breaking Brad: Mountain lion season's over, but the bunny's fair game!
Thursday was the last day of a Nebraska Legislature session. Before leaving town, legislators passed a bill to hold a lottery to hunt the Easter Bunny.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
< >
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »