What does it mean to be defined as “American” within museums today? Artworks in the museum’s current exhibition American Perspectives speak to America’s complex social, political, and artistic histories and the issues that have shaped art and society in the United States past and present. Join curators Sylvia Yount, Layla Bermeo, and Kimberli Gant as they reflect on the changing landscape of American art and how they are actively re-envisioning more expansive and inclusive narratives within each of their respective institutions. A Q&A session will follow moderated by Emelie Gevalt, Curator of Folk Art.
Space is limited and advance registration is required. Please consider making a donation when you register to support ongoing virtual programming.
After registering for the program, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions and the Zoom link for joining the program via computer or mobile device at the end of the email under “Additional Information.” Closed captioning will be provided. Please email publicprograms@folkartmuseum.
Sylvia Yount is the Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator in Charge of the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she is responsible for the administrative and curatorial oversight of the department of historical African American, Euro American, Latin American, and Native American art, from the colonial period to the early-twentieth century. Before moving to the Met, she held curatorial leadership positions at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in Richmond, and the High Museum of Art, in Atlanta. She began her curatorial career at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, in Philadelphia. In addition to completing pivotal collection reinstallations at her former institutions, Yount has organized major exhibitions on Cecilia Beaux, Maxfield Parrish, and American modernism, among other topics focused on women and artists of color in regional and national contexts. She is currently co-curating exhibitions of historical Native arts, Winslow Homer, and the late nineteenth-century New York art world. Yount lectures and publishes widely on late nineteenth- and twentieth-century American art and culture as well as on issues of curatorial responsibility and museum practice.
Layla Bermeo is the Kristin and Roger Servinson Associate Curator of Paintings, Art of the Americas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Before joining the MFA in 2016, she co-curated the Black History/Art History Performance Art Series at Harvard University, held curatorial fellowships at the Williams College Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and served as a guest curator at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. At the MFA, Layla has co-organized Collecting Stories: Native American Art (2018-19), curated Frida Kahlo and Arte Popular (2019), and mentored a team of youth curators who developed the current exhibition, Black Histories, Black Futures. She holds a BA from Northwestern University and graduate degrees from the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art and Harvard University. Last year, WBUR, a National Public Radio News Station, named Layla as one of the 25 millennials of color impacting art and culture in Boston.
Kimberli Gant is the McKinnon Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA. She was previously the Mellon Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Arts of Global Africa at the Newark Museum, in Newark, NJ, and has held curatorial positions at UT’s Warfield Center for African & African Diaspora Studies, The Contemporary Austin, and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA) in Brooklyn, New York. Her many exhibitions include Wondrous Worlds: Art & Islam Through Time & Place (2016), De-Luxe (2012), There is No Looking Glass Here: Wide Sargasso Sea Re-Imagined (2010), and Johannesburg to New York (2008). Her scholarly work has been published widely in journals, exhibition catalogues, and academic books including Anywhere But Here: Black Intellectuals in the Atlantic World and Beyond (2015). Kimberli received her PhD in Art History from the University of Texas Austin, and holds both an MA and BA in Art History from Columbia University and Pitzer College.
Support for 2020 remote public programs is provided by Art Bridges and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
Image: Installation detail of American Perspectives: Stories from the American Folk Art Museum Collection; photo by Olya Vysotskaya.