Lauren Schell Dickens Promoted to Senior Curator at San Jose Museum of Art

Release date 
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Susan Sayre Batton, Oshman Executive Director of the San José Museum of Art, announces that Lauren Schell Dickens has been promoted to Senior Curator of SJMA’s dynamic exhibition program. On staff since joining the Museum as curator in 2016, Dickens most recently co-organized the first major mid-career survey of Rina Banerjee with Jodi Throckmorton of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, a ground-breaking exhibition accompanied by a full catalogue that will travel to three additional venues after it closes October 6 at SJMA. Dickens has also spearheaded several major solo exhibitions of note, including Undersoul: Jay DeFeo and Diana Al-Hadid: Liquid City, both of which featured accompanying publications. Upcoming exhibitions include With Drawn Arms: Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith, and the first museum exhibition of Bay Area ceramicist Woody De Othello, opening simultaneously at SJMA on November 1, 2019.  In addition, Dickens has worked collaboratively on several group exhibitions, most recently Other Walks, Other Lines, which featured a new performance commission with artist Brendan Fernandes. Other curatorial projects include a permanent public mural commission with The Propeller Group and muralist El Mac, recognized by the City of San José with the 2018 Creative Impact Award. Dickens also organized Diana Al-Hadid: Delirious Matter as a guest curator for the Bronx Museum in 2018.­

As staff liaison to the Acquisitions Committee, Dickens has led several key acquisitions to SJMA’s growing permanent collection, championing works by Ian Cheng, Rina Banerjee, and Hito Steyerl among others.  Dickens also initiated SJMA’s partnership with Facebook in support of a new monthly series that offers free admission, and is co-founder of SJMA’s junior patron group Contemporary Curator’s Circle.

Prior to working at SJMA, Dickens was a curatorial consultant at the National Gallery of Art where she worked on the exhibition and online catalogue for The Serial Impulse: Gemini G.E.L; and was assistant curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, where she organized Question Bridge: Black Males (2013) and worked on projects and performances with artists such as iona ROZEAL brown, Andrea Fraser, and Ellen Harvey.  Previously, Dickens worked in the curatorial departments at the Jewish Museum, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Dallas Museum of Art; and has organized independent programs with Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, New York; ISE Cultural Foundation, New York; and Pro Arts Gallery, Oakland, California.

Dickens holds a BA in American Studies from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, and an MA in Modern Art: Critical Studies from Columbia University, New York.  She was born in San José and grew up in Sonoma County. 


SJMA is located at 110 South Market Street in downtown San José, California. The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11am to 5pm and until 8pm or later on the third Thursday of each month. As of Friday, February 1, 2019, SJMA is also free to all on the first Friday of each month from 5–9pm. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and free to members, college students, youth and children ages 17 and under, and school teachers (with valid ID). For more information, call 408.271.6840 or visit