Barbara Tannenbaum is Curator of Photography at the Cleveland Museum of Art, where she recently organized the largest museum show of the work of Hank Willis Thomas; DIY: Photographers and Books, a groundbreaking exhibition on print-on-demand photobooks; American Vesuvius, comprising Emmet Gowin and Frank Gohlke’s photographs of Mount St. Helens; and a solo show of Lois Conner’s images of Beijing. Before coming to Cleveland, she spent 26 years as chief curator of the Akron Art Museum, where she organized over 80 exhibitions including the first large-scale international exhibition chronicling women’s historic achievements in photography; Ralph Eugene Meatyard: An American Visionary; and the first solo museum shows of Adam Fuss, Aminah Robinson, and Chakaia Booker. Tannenbaum has edited and authored numerous publications including books on Meatyard (Rizzoli) and highlights of the Akron Art Museum’s collection and, in 2010, Detroit Disassembled: Photographs by Andrew Moore.
Before entering the museum world, Tannenbaum was Executive Director of OxBow Summer Art School in Saugatuck, Michigan, and taught art history at Oberlin College, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Wyoming. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Michigan and a B.A. from Reed College. Among her awards is the 2010 Distinguished Career Award from the Association of Midwest Museums.