Image by Raber Umphenour

I am a curator and art historian specializing in modern and contemporary art, as well as nineteenth-century American and African American art. I earned both my Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Art History from Indiana University at Bloomington, and I completed the J. Paul Getty Leadership Institute for Museum Management. For 35 thirty years I worked professionally as an art museum director and curator until 2008, when Emerson College invited me to assume the Henry and Lois Foster Chair in Contemporary Art Theory and Practice, and to hold the position of Distinguished Curator-In-Residence. The Foster Chair was the first endowed chair at Emerson College. As the Foster Chair I teach a series of senior seminars in nineteenth century, modern and contemporary art. In my capacity as the Distinguished Curator-in-Residence I work to develop the public presence of the visual arts as part of Emerson College’s arts profile.

image: Peter Harris Studio Boston

The signature of Emerson’s visual art goals is the creation of a public art gallery that opened on November 1, 2016, the Emerson Urban Arts, Media Art Gallery with an exhibition-performance of Oliver Herring’s series of Areas for Action. This is Emerson College’s venue for the visual arts and presents exhibitions and programs that focus on performance and media arts. Emerson Urban Arts is part of a larger public visual art program consisting of the Media Art Gallery, the Paramount Urban Screen, the Huret & Spector Gallery, and temporary public arts projects. Visit the other sections of this website for more information about these programs.


Previously, as the Chief Curator of the Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin (6/05-8/08), I managed a curatorial department of 50 in a museum with a $13m annual budget. I was responsible for a collection of over 25,000 works of art, an archive of over 20,000 pieces, and an active temporary exhibition program. As the curator in charge of modern and contemporary art, I curated or coordinated a series of exhibitions of international stature including such artists as Francis Bacon, Gilbert & George, Bruce Nauman, and Andy Warhol. I raised over $2m to realize my acquisition plan, acquiring works by such artists as Bruce Conner, Robert Duncanson, Sol LeWitt, Mary Lucier, Nam Jun Paik, David Reed, James Siena, and Amy Sillman. In addition, I guided the institution through AAM Subsequent Accreditation, 2007-08.

As The Henry and Lois Foster Director of The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, (1998-2005) With a budget of approx. $1.5m and a staff of six, I managed the finest collection of modern and contemporary art in New England (approx. 7,000 works of art), and the museum’s exhibition program. The Rose introduced such contemporary as Yun-fei Ji, Barry McGee, Roxy Paine, and Robin Rhode and made acquisitions by such artists as Thomas Demand, William Kentridge, Anri Sala, and Fred Tomaselli. I directed the two-phase expansion and renovation of The Rose, conducting the capital campaign and conceiving the architectural program. Phase I ($5m, 8,000sf), designed by Graham Gund, architect, opened 2001. Phase II ($15m, 26,000sf) designed by Shigeru Ban, architect, was postponed due to the financial crisis.

As the Curator (1982-89) and then Director (1989-98) of the Washington University Gallery of Art, St. Louis, I leveraged the excellent collections and the scholarly reputation of the University to produce an internationally recognized program in nineteenth century, modern and contemporary art. With a budget of approx. $1m, a staff of 6, and a collection of approx. 16,000 works of art, I established the first exhibitions endowment (1984), organized the first international exhibition (1987), and curated a series of touring exhibitions that earned awards. I led the museum through AAM Accreditation (1988) and re-accreditation (1998). I raised over $2.4m for acquisitions and purchased works by Arakawa, John Baldessari, Thomas Cole, Jenny Holzer, and Barbara Kruger. In addition, I developed the Architectural Program for the Gallery of Art (50,000 sf) with architect Fumihiko Maki for a $60m Visual Arts & Design Center, Washington University (1997-98) that opened as the Kemper Museum in 2006.

As the Curator of The Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana (1979-82), I organized the exhibitions and acquisitions programs leading towards a new $7m, 45,000 sf museum by Walter Netsch, Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, Chicago, within a Louis I. Kahn arts complex, for which I helped to develop the architectural program and raise funds. I acquired a group of American Impressionists from Indiana and built the collection of prints with an NEA grant, including such artists as Chuck Close, Richard Estes, James Rosenquist, and Andy Warhol.

I continue to work as an independent art historian and curating and publishing exhibitions internationally. My exhibitions, publications, and projects have earned grants and awards from the American Association of Museums, Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD), the Gerda Henkel Stiftung, the Henry Luce Foundation, and etant donnes. My exhibitions that have been recognized in such periodicals as the The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Artforum, and Flash Art. And, I have earned critical distinctions such as the Best Gallery Show of the Year from the Boston Globe, and the International Art Critics Association, Boston Chapter, Best Monographic Exhibition, for Roxy Paine (2002). In addition, my exhibition of Robert S. Duncanson was part of the Atlanta Olympics (1996), and the book was selected by Choice magazine (American Library Association) as an Outstanding Academic Book for 1994.

Further information is available on the various pages of my website.


Link for current resume PDF File