10 Questions with Kathryn Kanjo


Kathryn Kanjo received her M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and her B.A. in Art History and English Literature from the University of Redlands. Her first curatorial appointment was at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) where she served as assistant and then associate curator from 1992 to 1995 and worked on projects including “La Frontera/The Border: Art About the Mexico/United States Border Experience” (1993), “inSITE94: Carlos Aguirre, Anya Gallaccio, Silvia Gruner, Yukinori Yanagi” (1994) and “Nancy Rubins: Airplane Parts and Building, A Large Growth for San Diego” (1995).

She returned to MCASD in 2010 as chief curator, organizing exhibitions including “Jack Whitten: Five Decades of Painting,” among others. In 2015, she was promoted to Deputy Director, Art and Programs.

Kanjo lives in San Diego with her husband, David Jurist, and their two children.

What is your hope for the MCASD galleries in La Jolla ?

My hope is that the space and the artwork contained within it meaningfully impact visitors. A museum is a place to tune in and take notice. MCASD should become the backdrop for important memories and (best!) a catalyst of enlightenment.

With the upcoming expansion, in particular, I want guests to value the relationships between the interior spaces and exterior site that the architect creates by sculpting galleries, framing views, shaping gardens, and expanding terraces.

Who or what inspires you?

Real life! I’m often struck by the quiet accomplishments of friends and acquaintances.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Wouldn’t it be fun to have my late father, aunt, and grandparents meet our children?

What are you currently reading?

It’s curious that in all of my recent reads the land seems to be in jeopardy.

In “Heat and Light,” Jennifer Haigh is back recounting Pennsylvania’s precarious relationship to energy production, from the shuttered coal mines of her fictional Bakerton and the melted reactors of Three Mile Island to a present day rumination on the lure of fracking.

In “The Excellent Lombards” by Jane Hamilton, a young girl sees the future of her family farm strained by development and changing times, while in Anna Quindlen’s “Miller’s Valley,” floodwaters and a government decision erase an entire town.

What is it that you most dislike?

The shortness of weekends.

What do you do for fun?

I take a good walk.

What would be your dream vacation?

Sunny and slow.

What clothing item in your closet will you never part with?

My navy raincoat from Portland.

What are your favorite comfort foods?

Our kids like my carbonara.

What is your motto in life?

Oh Lord! Please don’t let me be misunderstood.