Curator Mary Jane Jacob is professor and executive director of exhibitions and exhibition studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). She has been exploring art outside the museum context since 1990, organizing groundbreaking programs that test the boundaries of public space and the relationship of contemporary art to audience. Landmark projects have included Culture in Action in Chicago and Living Modern Chicago; Conversations at the Castle during the Atlanta Olympics; and, for the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, Places with a Past and Evoking History. She is the co-editor of several anthologies, including Chicago Makes Modern: How Creative Minds Changed Society (University of Chicago Press, 2012); The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists (University of Chicago Press, 2010); Learning Mind: Experience Into Art (University of California Press, 2009); and Buddha Mind in Contemporary Art (University of California Press, 2004). Jacobs was awarded a 2012 Curatorial Research Fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation to support her investigation of the history of site-specific art from the 1900s to today.
Jacob is a contributor to What Makes a Great Exhibition?, published by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage in 2006. She has also served as a Pew Fellowships evaluator (2012) and an exhibitions panelist (2004).