Lauren R. O’Connell is Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) in Arizona. O'Connell began her curatorial career at SMoCA and left the institution to pursue a M.A. in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. After curatorial positions at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) she returned to Arizona, where she worked as an independent curator until her current appointment.
Her primary curatorial practice focuses on the artist and the promotion of diversity, whether facilitating new works or uncovering extraordinary, yet underrecognized, histories. She has worked with numerous artists on new projects and commissions including Tarek Atoui, Will Brown (collective), Martin Soto Climent, Rana Hamadeh, Otobong Nkanga, Li Ran, Jean Shin, Forrest Solis, and Qiu Zhijie. O’Connell worked on major retrospectives for modern and contemporary artists including Hans Hofmann, Charles Howard, and Harvey Quaytman. Her new research focuses on women artists in the fields of abstraction and architecture. She is currently working on exhibitions with Diedrick Brackens, Nathan Lynch, and a year-long collection show of women artists titled Unapologetic.
O’Connell’s previous exhibitions and projects include Many Places at Once (Wattis Institute, 2014), Andy Warhol: Still Lifes and Portraits (BAMPFA, 2016), Asher Hartman and Cliff Hengst / MATRIX 264 (BAMPFA, 2017), 10 Artists/2000 Speculum (Creative Push, 2018), and Divergent Materiality (SMoCA, 2019). She worked with Lawrence Rinder on the inaugural BAMPFA exhibition Architecture of Life (2016) in the museum’s new Diller Scofidio + Renfro building. Her essays have been published online and in journals, such as Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, and in the publication Harvey Quaytman: Against the Static.