Olga Viso is the Selig Family Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs at Phoenix Art Museum (PhxArt), where she leads the Museum’s curatorial division. She oversees the curatorial staff across all collecting areas, the collections and exhibitions management teams, and the departments of education and engagement. As a specialist in modern and contemporary art, she serves as the lead curator responsible for exhibitions and acquisitions in this area. A seasoned arts leader, curator, and scholar with a focus on Latin American/Latinx contemporary art, Viso has over 30 years of experience working both as a curator and a museum administrator. As PhxArt’s Selig Family Chief Curator, Viso works closely with Jeremy Mikolajczak, the Museum’s Sybil Harrington Director and CEO, the Board of Trustees, and members of PhxArt’s executive leadership team to set and implement the Museum’s institutional vision.
In 2022, Viso joined the Museum as a part-time curator-at-large and a senior curatorial advisor, developing original exhibitions, overseeing new artist commissions, and advising on overall acquisitions and curatorial strategies. Her most recent exhibition, Juan Francisco Elso: Por América, opened at El Museo del Barrio in New York City before traveling to Phoenix, where it is presented in dialogue with highlights from the ASU Art Museum’s signature collection of contemporary Cuban art.
Viso assumed the role of Selig Family Chief Curator in June 2023, expanding her curatorial work engaging with and presenting the leading artists of today, including highlighting the creative contributions of Arizona-based practitioners. She collaborates with PhxArt leadership to develop various initiatives designed to amplify the institution’s role as a cultural anchor and convener for the Greater Phoenix community and the Southwest.
In addition to her work at PhxArt, Viso acts as senior advisor at ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, where she develops academic partnerships for the university with art museums (including PhxArt). She also supports the ASU-LACMA master’s fellowship program in art history, a collaboration between the university and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that invests in the advancement of museum professionals of color already working in museums.
Before joining the Museum, Viso served as executive director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis from 2007–2017, during which time she oversaw the integration of the Walker’s main campus with the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and expanded the multidisciplinary art center’s renowned program and collections. Prior to that, she spent 13 years as director and curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. She has organized and curated numerous landmark solo and group exhibitions, with major monographic artist surveys including Everything, a 30-year retrospective of work by Guillermo Kutica (2010); Ana Mendieta: Earth Body, Sculpture and Performance 1972–1985 (2004); and Jim Hodges: Give Me More Than You Take (2013). Viso has also held positions at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. In 2013, Viso was appointed by President Obama to the National Council on the Arts. Viso is an emeritus member of the Association of Art Museum Directors and was an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Fellow in Residence 2019–2020. She served on the Board of the Andy Warhol Foundation from 2008-2016. Viso received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rollins College and her Master of Fine Arts in art history from Emory University.