The Taubman Museum of Art announced the appointment of Karl Emil Willers, Ph.D., as the organizations new chief curator and deputy director of exhibitions and community engagement.
The community is invited to meet Dr. Willers through a live, virtual Zoom webinar Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, at 12:30 p.m. The conversation is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Registration is available online here
Willers comes to Roanoke with extensive experience as a museum curator and administrator, advanced scholarship in American and European art since the late 18th century, and thorough not-for-profit business training. His academic qualifications include a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University and M.B.A. in nonprofit organizations from Yale School of Management.
Most recently and since 2010, Willers served as director of the Nassau County Museum of Art on New Yorks Long Island where he successfully oversaw the planning, building and opening of the Manes Family Center for Art & Education, a multi purpose facility providing expanded galleries for contemporary art and new classrooms for museum education.
Other professional experiences include his work as executive director of the Newport Art Museum in Rhode Island, as curator for the Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz in New Yorks Hudson Valley, and as chief curator and curator of European Art at the Norton Museum in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Much of Willers career has centered on senior-level curatorial work and guiding advanced courses of study in museum training. Throughout the 1980s, he was downtown branch director at the Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan, where he worked closely with the museums prestigious Independent Study Program in graduate-level Curatorial Studies.
Following his doctoral work at Yale University where he wrote his dissertation on the late 19th-century French realist painter Gustave Courbet, Willers returned to the Whitney Museum in the late 1990s as associate curator and administrative coordinator for the millennial exhibition The American Century: Art and Culture 19002000.
His more recent curatorial projects include Rimer Cardillo: From the Río de la Plata to the Hudson River Valley, Kenny Scharf and Glamorous Graffiti, as well as The Paintings of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
These and other exhibitions that Willers has organized integrate inclusive artistic endeavors and diverse creative media into broad cross-cultural and interdisciplinary contexts.
A native of Texas who grew up in Auburn, Ala., and Nashville, Tenn., Willers noted, I very much look forward to joining the wonderful team at the Taubman Museum of Art in its pursuit of ambitious museum programs for Roanoke and communities throughout the Blue Ridge region.