SAN MARINO, Calif.— The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens announced today that Dennis Carr has been named Virginia Steele Scott Chief Curator of American Art. In his current role as Carolyn and Peter Lynch Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Carr has been recognized for working to expand the collection of Latin American and Native American works as well as for curating exhibitions that explore non-Western influences on art made in the United States. Carr will join The Huntington in January, where he will oversee a collection of items from the colonial period to the present that encompasses paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, and works of decorative art.
“American art is one of the great strengths of our collection, and we want to build on the extraordinary platform we have by expanding the narratives in our galleries and allowing more voices to help us tell the story,” said Christina Nielsen, Hannah and Russel Kully Director of the Art Museum at The Huntington. “Dennis is well poised to further that aim. He has made extraordinary strides exploring America in the broadest sense and has proven he can think creatively and inclusively. I’m confident he will help us amplify our strengths while helping us consider what is meant by ‘American’ going forward.”
Carr has served as a curator at MFA Boston since 2007. His accomplishments there include the 2010 Art of the Americas Wing, for which he was part of the curatorial team for a major reinstallation that reoriented American art with a hemispheric focus. He also furthered efforts to expand the collections of American, Latin American, ancient American, and Native American art. His recent exhibitions include “Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia” (2015), “Collecting Stories: Native American Art” (2018), and “Cecilia Vicuña: Disappeared Quipu” (2018). He was a 2019 fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership in New York.
“I am thrilled with this opportunity to develop and activate The Huntington’s important collection of American art,” said Carr. “It contains not only a superb selection of works representing a range of media and voices, but it is also a relatively young collection, flexible in terms of its range, and ripe for growth and new interpretations. Furthermore, I look forward to exploring new ways of engaging with the diverse artistic ecosystem of greater Los Angeles.”
Carr will take the helm from James Glisson, Bradford and Christine Mishler Associate Curator of American Art, who has been serving as chief curator on an interim basis since April 2018. “I want to commend James’ superb stewardship of the collections,” said Carr, “and can’t wait to begin working with experts like him across the art, library, and botanical collections at The Huntington.”
About the American art collections
Since receiving a major gift from the Virginia Steele Scott Foundation in 1979, The Huntington has become a premier center on the West Coast for American art from the colonial period to the present. Highlights of the collection include Mary Cassatt’s Breakfast in Bed; Frederic Edwin Church’s Chimborazo; Edward Hopper’s The Long Leg; Harriet Hosmer’s marble Zenobia in Chains; Andy Warhol’s Small Crushed Campbell’s Soup Can (Beef Noodle); and Charles White’s Soldier.
The Huntington regularly adds new works to the collection, and this year acquired a group of 32 colorful etchings made between 2005 and 2014 by four artists—Louisiana Bendolph, Mary Lee Bendolph, Loretta Bennett, and Loretta Pettway—who are part of the Gee’s Bend group of quilters.
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About The Huntington
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found online at huntington.org
The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Road., San Marino, CA, 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It is open to the public Wednesday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Tuesdays. Information: 626-405-2100 or huntington.org.