Walters Art Museum announces two major hires

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Walters Art Museum announces two major hires
Gina Borromeo. Photo: Michael DiQuinzio.

BALTIMORE, MD.- The Walters Art Museum announced today two major hires who will address important collection, conservation, research, and management areas. Dr. Gina Borromeo joins the Walters as Senior Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs and its Senior Curator of Ancient Art, and will be a member of the museum’s Leadership Team. She comes to the Walters from the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she served as Chief Curator and Curator of Ancient Art. At the same time, Earl Martin has been appointed the museum’s inaugural Deborah and Philip English Curator of Decorative Arts, Design, and Material Culture. He joins the museum from the Bard Graduate Center, where he has served as a curator—and in that role has been collaborating with the Walters on its recent Majolica Mania exhibition. Martin will begin his new role at the end of August, and Borromeo will start at the museum at the end of October.

“Gina and Earl bring a wealth of expertise and experience in their respective fields, which directly support some of the Walters’ most important areas of collecting and scholarship as well as our vision for the future,” said Julia Marciari-Alexander, the Andrea B. & John H. Laporte Director of the Walters Art Museum. “Gina’s leadership experience makes her an important addition to our team, across the array of curatorial, research, and other responsibilities. And those skills are in addition to her outstanding track record of bringing contemporary perspectives to ancient art collections. Likewise, we have gotten to know Earl through his excellent leadership of the enormously successful Majolica Mania project and are excited to welcome him to the museum.”

Dr. Gina Borromeo, Senior Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs, Senior Curator of Ancient Art

Dr. Borromeo comes to the Walters from the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design, where since 2003 she has served as Curator of Ancient Art, managing and interpreting its Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman collections. In that role, she planned and directed the reinstallation of the Greek and Roman galleries and the Egyptian galleries, and curated the exhibitions Rethinking the Romans: New Views of Ancient Sculpture, Dig the Museum, and Made for Eternity. Since 2020, she has served as Chief Curator and Curator of Ancient Art. She is currently co-curating an interdepartmental exhibition entitled Being and Believing in the Natural World.

At the Walters, Dr. Borromeo will take on several roles, working closely with the museum’s Executive Director and Leadership Team to envision its overarching artistic program in alignment with the museum’s Strategic Plan and DEAI goals (announced in March 2021 and posted on the Walters’ website). In her position as Senior Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs, she will be responsible for the museum’s conservation, technical research, and collections departments; publication and digital production; and the Walters’ other curatorial areas. In addition, she will serve as the senior curator for the Walters’ important collection of ancient art.

“I have long admired the Walters Art Museum’s stellar collection, especially of ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art,” said Borromeo. “And I look forward to getting to know the rest of the collection as well. I am equally passionate about the museum’s ongoing provenance research on the collection, as well as its creative thinking about new ways to make the collection, exhibitions, and programs accessible to all museum visitors. The privilege to lead these different areas at the Walters is an exciting opportunity to bring my many interests to bear on one of the country’s foremost museums, in a dynamic and culturally engaged community.”

Dr. Borromeo earned her Master of Arts and PhD in history of art and architecture from Brown University, during which time she was a Fulbright Scholar in Rome and a Samuel H. Kress Fellow. She has excavated in various archaeological sites in Greece, Israel, Italy, and Turkey, while contributing research articles to numerous publications.

Her research has focused primarily on the ancient contexts of Roman sculpture and the materials and techniques artists used in antiquity. Additionally, she has worked on cultural property issues and has been co-leading the RISD Museum’s repatriation of a now deaccessioned Benin head of an oba to Nigeria. Dr. Borromeo has also served on the Museums and Exhibitions Committee of the Archaeological Institute of America, and the Boards of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology and the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, both at Brown University.

Earl Martin, the Deborah and Philip English Curator of Decorative Arts, Design, and Material Culture

Since 2007, Earl Martin has worked at the Bard Graduate Center in New York, which focuses on the study of decorative arts, design history, and material culture. During his time there, he has curated Knoll Textiles, 1945-2010 and has overseen numerous other exhibitions, including: Fabricating Power with Balinese Textiles; John Lockwood Kipling: Arts & Crafts in the Punjab and London; Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture; Dutch New York Between East and West: The World of Margrieta van Varick; Shaker Design: Out of This World; and Majolica Mania: Transatlantic Pottery in England and the United States, 1850–1915.

“While I was aware of the Walters Art Museum’s important collections of decorative arts, it has been a joy to get more directly acquainted with both the museum and its team as we collaborated on the Majolica Mania exhibition,” said Martin. “In joining the museum, I am excited at the opportunity to study and work with these collections in more depth, and to bring a similar level of energy and excitement to future explorations of the arts of material culture. These historical objects have much to say about contemporary society, with deep relevance to many areas of our lives, our politics, and our connections to other peoples and cultures.”

Martin received a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and a Master of Arts from Parsons New School for Design and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. He serves on the board of the Potteries of Trenton Society, is a member of the American Ceramic Circle and the French Porcelain Society, and has been an editor and contributing author to numerous publications.

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