Saisha Grayson is a curator, writer, art historian and teacher focused on the intersections of contemporary art, performance, film, video, feminist politics, and cultural activism. In March 2018, she was named Curator of Time-Based Media at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) in Washington D.C., where she is working on exhibitions, collection-building and performance art and moving image programming. In May 2018, she completed her Ph.D in art history at the Graduate Center, CUNY, having successfully defended her dissertation, Cellist, Catalyst, Collaborator: The Work of Charlotte Moorman.
From 2011 until February 2016, she was Assistant Curator at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she provided key support on each of the Center’s special exhibitions, including the award-winning Materializing ‘Six Years:’ Lucy Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art and Chicago in LA: Judy Chicago's Early Work, 1963-1974. She served as organizing curator of the Museum’s presentation of Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey (2013), curated the site-specific exhibition, Chitra Ganesh: Eyes of Time (2014) and co-curated the large, experimental group exhibition Agitprop! (2105-16). Prior to her tenure at the Museum, Grayson freelance curated around New York, and worked as a communications consultant for a variety of museums and arts institutions.
Recently published writing include the catalogue for Archival Alchemy: South Asian Women’s Creative Collective 20th Anniversary Visual Arts Exhibition, essays on Andrea Geyer for her catalogue Travels on a Slender Thread, on Tracey Moffatt in Moving Image Review and Art Journal (MIRAJ) and on Chitra Ganesh in n.paradoxa. Grayson provided editorial assistance on the catalogue Nayland Blake: Behavior (2008), the monograph Ghada Amer (2010); and coauthored the catalogue essay “Pinaree Sanpitak: Quietly Floating” (2010) with Maura Reilly. Despite her contemporary focus, her art historical interests stretch across the centuries, as demonstrated by her first peer reviewed article, “Disruptive Disguises: The Problem of Transvestite Saints for Medieval Art, Identity, and Identification” (2009).
She is a contributor to Art History Teaching Resources, a knowledge sharing platform she helped initiate while at CUNY. She taught in the art history department at Queens College, and has guest lectured at Sarah Lawrence College and The New School. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including an Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellowship at the Graduate Center, a research residency at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, NL and predoctoral fellowships from SAAM, the Vartan Gregorian Dissertation Fellowship from the Graduate Center and the American Council of Learned Societies/Luce Foundation.
She received her MA in Contemporary Art & Curatorial Studies from Columbia University and BA from Sarah Lawrence College.