Darby English Named Consulting Curator at The Museum of Modern Art

Art Press Release from United States. Published by MOMA on Friday 14 March 2014.

Darby English Named Consulting Curator at The Museum of Modern Art image

The Museum of Modern Art has hired Darby English as Consulting Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture, Director Glenn D. Lowry announced today.

Mr. English will continue in his full-time role as the Starr Director of the Research and Academic Program at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He is a leading scholar of American and European art with a specialization in works made by black artists. Working closely with Ann Temkin, The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, and curators across the Museum, Mr. English will contribute his expertise to the strengthening of the institution’s holdings in this area, and to the development of presentations within the collection galleries and the Museum’s exhibition program. He begins in this role this month.

Mr. Lowry said, “With a distinguished record as a professor, author, and curator, Darby English brings to the Museum a profound knowledge of modern and contemporary art. We already have several fascinating projects under discussion, and look forward to welcoming him this month.”

Michael Conforti, director of the Clark, noted that, “We are thrilled that Darby will be able to share his special expertise with The Museum of Modern Art, a museum with which we have regularly collaborated. I know that his scholarship and critical insight will be of enormous value to our colleagues there.”

Mr. English observed that, “My conversations with MoMA’s staff and trustees have left me deeply impressed by the Museum’s commitment to address this area reflectively and responsibly. I couldn’t be happier to begin this relationship.”

Over the last five years, the curatorial staff at The Museum of Modern Art has considerably strengthened the Museum’s holdings of works by black artists, and English’s appointment reflects a commitment to taking this initiative further. Among the first tasks he will undertake is an analysis of the Museum’s collection of works in this area, as well as the publication of a critical reader bringing together key texts documenting black artists’ work and its historical reception.

Appointed the Starr Director of the Research and Academic Program at the Clark in 2013, English leads the program’s international agenda of intellectual events and collaborations and oversees the Clark’s library and its active residential scholars program. From 2003 to 2013, English served on the faculty of the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago, where he taught modern and contemporary art and cultural studies. In 2010, he was awarded the University of Chicago’s Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. He also has received grants and awards from, among others, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/Creative Capital Foundation, and the Getty Research Institute.

Earlier this year, he delivered the Twenty-sixth Annual Hilla von Rebay Lecture at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. English is the author of the highly acclaimed How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness (MIT Press, 2007), a study focusing on the artists Kara Walker, Fred Wilson, Isaac Julien, Glenn Ligon, and William Pope.L. He is the co-editor of Kara Walker: Narratives of a Negress (MIT Press, 2003; Rizzoli, 2007), and is currently at work on the forthcoming 1971: A Year in the Life of Color (University of Chicago Press). He has served as co-curator for exhibitions on the work of William Pope.L (Art Institute of Chicago, 2007) and Kara Walker (Frances M. Tang Teaching Museum and Williams College Museum of Art, 2003). English has contributed essays to museum catalogues published by, among others, the Renaissance Society, the National Gallery of Art, the Smart Museum of Art, MoMA/PS1, and the Walker Art Center.

English holds a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from Williams College and a Ph.D. in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester.