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16 Jan 2013

Valérie Rousseau Appointed Curator of 20th-Century and Contemporary Art

Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice, Executive Director, today announced the appointment of Dr. Valérie Rousseau as Curator of 20th-Century and Contemporary Art, responsible for continuing and expanding the Museum’s initiatives in the field of art created by the self-taught, associated with folk art and art brut. This will include planning exhibitions; expanding the collection; research; organizing public programs and scholarly symposia; advising on the Museum’s other education initiatives (school and family programs); and writing exhibition catalogs. She will work closely with Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions Stacy C. Hollander.

Dr. Radice commented, “We are pleased that Valérie is joining the staff of the American Folk Art Museum. Dr. Rousseau is a significant voice in the field, with more than fifteen years of academic and professional experience. Her incisive and refined approach to folk art in its many forms, as well as her scholarly focus on the history of self-taught artists as a discipline within the larger field of art—whether on the university level or within the art community—makes her ideally qualified. As the director of a variety of projects, including exhibitions, publications, and symposia, she has brought to light significant learning in this still burgeoning and fertile area. And even more, she brings a truly global perspective to the discipline.”

Dr. Rousseau will begin her work with the Museum on February 14, 2013. Born in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli (Québec), Canada, she has conducted several studies and projects in this art field, both in North America and abroad, in collaboration with many organizations and museums. In recent years, she acted as an independent curator and scholar, as well as the program director at the Outsider Art Fair (2012 and 2013).

She has organized exhibitions and written catalogs for a number of institutions and galleries on such artists and topics as A.C.M, James Castle, Henry Darger, Guo Fengyi, Sava Sekulić, Charles Steffen, Stas Volyazlovsky, Soviet TASS propaganda posters, and the recent exhibition Collectors of Skies, featuring the work of Janko Domsic, Victor Hugo, Zdenek Kosek, Vik Muniz, Dorothy Napangardi, and Achilles G. Rizzoli. Rousseau also organized the traveling exhibition Richard Greaves: Anarchitect, which was presented in Lausanne at the Collection de l’Art Brut, as well as Bill Anhang at the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, Montréal, and Papa Sorgente and the Great Antonio at the Darling Foundry, Montréal.

Dr. Rousseau lectures internationally and is the author of numerous catalogs, essays, and articles. Of particular note is Vestiges de l’Indiscipline: Environnements d’Art and Anarchitectures, published by the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau.

In 1998 Rousseau cofounded the Société des arts indisciplinés (SAI), Montréal, the first Canadian organization devoted to documenting, studying, and presenting the works of self-taught artists. She served as director and curator until 2007. There she established significant archives on the topic.

Rousseau was awarded her PhD in art history at the Université du Québec à Montréal, in 2012. Her PhD studies also included seminars at La Sorbonne-Université Paris 1. There she examined the concept of folk art and institutional theories of art. She received a masters in cultural anthropology at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris, France) in 2007, working on artists’ personal museums and the art brut collection of Jean Dubuffet. In 1998, she received a second masters, in art theory, at the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Dr. Rousseau is an affiliated researcher at the LAHIC (iiAC-CNRS, Paris) and serves on the International Committee of the College Art Association.

Dr. Rousseau noted: “The American Folk Art Museum has championed the works of self-taught artists with a constant and impressively high standard of programs. A significant presence in the field, the Museum was the first in the U.S. to devote itself solely to folk art. Its unique, rich, and comprehensive collection spans three centuries of visual expression and creativity by the self-taught and those often considered on the “outside.” The personal and often idiosyncratic visions of a number of the artists are compelling and challenge our view of art in our time. I am very excited to join the team of this historical and seminal institution, and to contribute to the excellence and specialization in the collection, research, and exhibition of these works.”


Image: Valérie Rousseau.


Oval Tea Canister
Artist unidentified


Dr. Christian Bucher
Jacob Maentel (1778–?)


Judith Scott (1943–2005)