Judith Dolkart appointed Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art

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Judith Dolkart appointed Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art
Dolkart currently serves as Deputy Director of Art and Archival Collections and Gund Family Chief Curator at the Barnes. Photo: Susan Beard.

ANDOVER, MASS.- Phillips Academy Head of School John Palfrey announced that Judith F. Dolkart of The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia has been appointed director of the Addison Gallery of American Art. Dolkart currently serves as Deputy Director of Art and Archival Collections and Gund Family Chief Curator at the Barnes. She will begin her new role at Andover in July.

Located on the campus of Phillips Academy, the Addison has one of the most important collections of American art in the country. Its exhibitions and related events are free and open to the public. Its broad and deep educational programming extends to the PA curriculum, as well as to public schools throughout the region.

“We are delighted to welcome Judith to Phillips Academy and the Addison community,” said Palfrey. “Judith is an accomplished curator and educator who believes deeply in visual literacy, cross-media learning, and the power of art to engage, persuade and provide transformative experiences. Her knowledge of art and art history combined with a commitment to making art accessible to audiences across all ages, experiences and backgrounds make her a superb choice for the Addison, a teaching museum committed to excellence in scholarship.”

Sidney R. Knafel ’48, chair of the search committee and chair of the Addison Board of Governors, remarked: “Judith stood out among an exceptional group of candidates from across the country. She will bring a global perspective to the Addison’s renowned collection of American art and will lead the Addison to an enhanced international position both as an art museum and as an educational site for Phillips Academy.”

An expert on the art and culture of 19th century France, Dolkart’s work has extended to artists as diverse as Andover alumnus Frank Stella ’54, William Glackens, Ellsworth Kelly and the British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare. Dolkart joined the Barnes as chief curator in 2010 and was promoted to deputy director and chief curator in 2012.

“I am deeply honored by this appointment,” said Dolkart. “The Addison—with its important collections and exhibitions, talented staff and the wonderful Museum Learning Center—offers tremendous opportunities for creative curricular collaboration at Phillips Academy. I am excited to begin work with the Addison staff, Andover faculty and students. To have this vital and rich resource at the heart of a secondary school offers an incredible opportunity to think innovatively about what and how we learn.”

The Barnes Foundation has a preeminent collection of Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings, as well as extensive holdings of old master paintings, African sculpture, Native American ceramics, jewelry and textiles, American paintings and decorative arts, and antiquities. It was established by Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.”

Dolkart previously served as associate curator of European Art at the Brooklyn Museum, which she joined in 2000 as assistant curator.

A published scholar, Dolkart has also shared her expertise as a lecturer at the college and university level. A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, she received an A.B. in fine arts in 1993 from Harvard-Radcliffe College. In 1997, she earned an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. During her 2013 fellowship in the Center for Curatorial Leadership, she was mentored by the director of the Harvard Art Museums and had a week-long residency with the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the history of art at UPenn.

Dolkart succeeds Brian Allen, who led the implementation of the Addison’s most recent strategic plan, a cornerstone of which was a multimillion dollar building renovation and expansion, and is now Director of the Museum and Vice President of the New-York Historical Society. The Addison is now home to a new Museum Learning Center, restored gallery space including state-of-the-art lighting, climate control and security, and expanded storage areas to accommodate the Addison’s collection, which has grown to more than 17,000 objects.

Palfrey thanked members of the Phillips Academy Board of Trustees and Addison Board of Governors for their wisdom and guidance, as well partners from Management Consultants for the Arts and each member of the search advisory committee. Knafel chaired the search committee, while Stephen Sherrill ’71, Phillips Academy trustee and Addison governor, served as vice chair.

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