Valerie Cassel Oliver

Contemporary art is a primary driver of attendance and attention for art museums today. Museum goers line up for hours to score tickets to blockbuster exhibitions like Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms or to get into hot contemporary art museums like The Broad in Los Angeles, where you can watch the wait time tick up on a dedicated Twitter account.

Contemporary art can also be a bit confounding. But the eclectic and inclusive nature of art being made today has a lot to teach us about how to experience the world we live in.

Valerie Cassel Oliver, the VMFA's curator of modern and contemporary art, shares ways to open up the experience of contemporary art and ways the art of our times provokes important conversations.

So that’s what I mean about the art of our times. It is raw and oftentimes the artist exists as a conduit - maybe deliberately, maybe unconsciously - to really allow us to have a moment to step back and think collectively. . . . I strongly believe in that. Part of my job in working with living artists is to give them the platform to have those conversations.
— Valerie Cassel Oliver

Paige hosts the LookSEE podcast and is a freelance audio producer, an art lover, and a lifelong Richmonder. Her favorite place to be is in a museum. A close second is a bookstore.