Erin Lee Antonak Joins Contemporary Arts Center Team

UntitledNEW ORLEANS — The Contemporary Arts Center has announced the appointment of Erin Lee Antonak as multidisciplinary arts curator. Antonak joins the CAC to develop its multidisciplinary, visual and performing arts program. 

With more than 20 years of curatorial and exhibition design experience, Antonak has organized and curated shows in Europe, Asia, North America, South America and Africa. Also an exhibiting sculptor, Antonak started her career in New Orleans at the CAC with Curator David Rubin and at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, working under David Houston. She went on to work at the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, Delaware Museum of Art, and most recently the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Miss. She has a bachelor’s degree from Bard College and an Master of Fine Arts from State University of New York, New Paltz. 

Antonak studied museum exhibition planning and design at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and fine art at Lacoste School of the Arts in Lacoste, France. She is currently a Morse College Fellow at Yale University, and board chair for the Indigenous Women’s Voices Summit. She is a Wolf Clan member of the Oneida Indian Nation of New York. She spent her childhood visiting museums with Rita Chrisjohn, her artist/anthropologist mother, and Iroquois Chief Richard Shakowi Chrisjohn, her woodcarver grandfather.

“I am an Indigenous woman and I am a sculptor,” she said. “I grew up in an extended family of Haudenosaunee artists whose work was only ever displayed in natural history museums or in anthropological contexts. As I studied sculpture at Bard College and became more exposed to the contemporary art world,  I recognized the lack of representation of what I understood art to be. This realization led me to push for Native artists to be seen as living, evolving, and as important voices in the contemporary art world. I have worked on exhibitions in many museums and institutions over the years. I receive the most joy from working with under-recognized artists, creating space for them to tell their own stories, and helping emerging artists launch their careers. It is a great honor for me to bring my years of experience back to New Orleans to support its artists and to do what I can to share the stories of the city  and the region with the rest of the world.” 

Antonak said she is thrilled to return to New Orleans with her husband, Brian, whom she met in New Orleans 20 years ago, and their two children, Calder and Archer. 

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