About the Program

Initiated in Fall 2003, the Nesnadny + Schwartz Visiting Curator Program brings distinguished curators to Cleveland to conduct one-on-one studio visits with local artists as well as deliver a public lecture. The program provides artists with professional exposure and critical feedback from accomplished art world professionals. 

Fall 2015 Visiting Curator

Adam Lerner is the Director and Chief Animator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver). Lerner is the curator of MCA Denver’s wildly successful touring retrospective of Mark Mothersbaugh’s work, Myopia, which will come to MOCA Cleveland in the summer of 2016 in a joint presentation with the Akron Art Museum. Among the most innovative curators working today, his projects have explored knowledge production, creativity, and value systems, often with a sense of humor and unabashed curiosity. His past exhibitions include West of Center (2012, co-curated with Elissa Auther), which looked at the art practices, political action, and collaborative life activities in the American West in the 60s and 70s, and From Russia with Doubt (2010) an exhibition of paintings (maybe real, possibly fake) in the style of the early twentieth-century Russian avant-garde, owned by amateur collectors Ron and Roger Pollard. Previously, Lerner was the founder and Executive Director of The Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar, until The Lab merged with MCA Denver in March 2009. He was the Master Teacher for Modern and Contemporary Art at the Denver Art Museum from 2001 to 2003, and he was the Curator of the Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, before coming to Colorado. He writes a monthly column in Birdy magazine about clothing with his dog Kristofferson.

Lerner will choose 4 regional artists for individual studio visits on October 14/15. All applicants will be invited to a reception with Lerner preceding his public lecture at MOCA Cleveland on Thursday, October 15 (details here).

How to Apply

Applicants must live in the Cuyahoga County or one of its six contiguous counties (Lorain, Medina, Summit, Portage, Geauga, and Lake). Applicants whose studios are more than 20 miles from MOCA Cleveland may be asked to present their work in a space provided at the Museum. All practicing artists are eligible to apply, as well as students in any year of MFA studies. Artists who were selected for a studio visit with the last Visiting Curator, Naomi Beckwith, are ineligible to apply for a visit with Lerner, but may re-apply for studio visits with future Visiting Curators. Applications must be submitted online. All materials must be compiled into a single PDF document, not to exceed 5MB. This PDF must be titled “artist last name_artist first name_NSVC Fall 2015”. Applications must include the following images and written information.

  • Up to ten (10) images, captioned with title, date, medium and dimensions
  • One-page Artist Statement
  • Up-to-date curriculum vitae, with current contact information including address, phone, and email

(If applicable) applicants may include one (1) video file, 5 minutes or less in duration. The video must be submitted as a link to an external hosting site (i.e. YouTube or Vimeo). A still from the video should be included as one of the 10 images, with a link to the hosting site directly below the still.

Please note applications not meeting these requirements or applications sent by email or hard copies mailed to MOCA Cleveland will not be reviewed. 

If you have any questions regarding the program, eligibility, or application guidelines, please contact Laura Ziewitz, Curatorial Assistant at


Applications for a studio visit with Adam Lerner will be accepted from September 15–October 5, 2015. Successful applicants will be notified by October 9, 2015. 



Naomi Beckwith (Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago)
Andria Hickey (Public Art Fund, New York)
Bartholomew Ryan (Walker Art Center)
Sarah DeMeuse (RIVET, independent curator)
João Ribas (MIT List Visual Art Center)
Ann Ellgood (Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden)
Franklin Sirmans (LACMA)
Ian Barry (The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College)
Laura Hoptman (New Museum)
Raphael Platow (CAC Cincinnati)
Douglas Dreishpoon (The Albright–Knox Art Gallery)
Gregory Volk (art critic, Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University)
Dan Cameron (CAC New Orleans)
Eleanor Heartney (Independent critic and author)
Katy Siegel (Hunter College, independent)
Valerie Cassel Oliver (CAM Houston)
David Pagel (LA Times critic and independent curator)
Amada Cruz (Artedia)
James Elaine (Hammer Museum)
Dominic Molon (MCA Chicago)
Shamin Momin (The Whitney Museum of American Art)