Curator Profile: Elsa Longhauser

[caption id="attachment_2395" align="alignnone" width="577"]Above: Giorgio de Chirico, The Poet and his Muse, 1921. Image courtesy Santa Monica Museum of Art.[/caption]

“I wanted to help people understand the visual world so I had an idea to be the art reporter, like the weather man, and I wrote a letter to a television station…They didn’t answer my letter,” quips art aficionado Elsa Longhouser.

Although a position at a gallery gave Longhouser her entrée into the art world, elements of her charmingly unique career concept, conceived after graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, guide Longhauser in her role as curator of the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

But unlike the weatherman, Longhouser has the uncanny ability to predict successful trajectories for artists before others even know they exist. Six coveted spots at the Centre Pompidou’s Los Angeles:The Birth of an Art Capital 1955–1985 went to SMMoA early exhibition artists.

As one of three kunsthalle (non-collecting) museums in the United States, SMMoA has the ability to respond to current ideas and events. “It’s not just what’s in fashion, it’s changing the world by artistic expression, making one see something in a way they would not see it otherwise,” Longhauser says.

Longhauser’s curatorial goals are no less inspiring than the very artists she exhibits. She hopes to invite an international group of curators to SMMoA for a colloquium that would choose a new artist to be shown at SMMoA and around the world. It is no small thing that the visionary behind this concept is the same woman who thought the evening news could use an artsy makeover. Longhauser, more than a mere reporter of the arts, is an art anchor for Los Angeles and the art community. 


Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Bergamot Station G1.

2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica.