SALEM, MASS.- The Peabody Essex Museum
announced the appointment of Austen Barron Bailly as the museum's first George Putnam Curator of American Art. Bailly joins PEM's curatorial team following her post as the head of the American Art department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and previous positions held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Wildenstein & Co., Inc. in New York.
Selected for her interdisciplinary and adventuresome curatorial approach, Bailly joins PEM at the cusp of the museum's landmark $650 million campaign and expansion project. In her curatorial capacity at PEM, Bailly will lead the development of a multi-faceted American art program focusing on exhibitions, new interpretation in the galleries, and expanding the museum's collection which currently includes paintings, decorative arts, photographs, folk art, and textiles representing over 300 years of New England and American art and culture."
Austen brings a fresh and exciting perspective to the field that will greatly accelerate and enhance the museum's presentation of American Art in the years to come," said Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, PEM's James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes Chief Curator.
A native of New Orleans, Bailly earned her PhD in art history from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her MA from Williams College. She will begin her new position as PEM's George Putnam Curator of American Art in January, 2013. George and Nancy Putnam are long-time PEM Trustees who have made an indelible contribution to the museum's future with their endowment of Bailly's position, and that of a future Curator of Fashion and Textiles, for whom a national search is in progress.
PEM announced a comprehensive $650 million Campaign in October 2011, designed to advance the museum's mission to celebrate outstanding artistic and cultural creativity in ways that transform people's lives. To date, the museum has received gifts and pledges totaling $570 million. The Campaign includes a $350 million addition to the current $280 million endowment, $200 million for a 175,000-square-foot expansion designed by Rick Mather Architects, and $100 million to support creative new installations of the collection, several infrastructure improvements to existing facilities and other advancement initiatives.
The $350 million endowment increase will cover all increased operating and program costs for an expanded facility; support continued development of the museum's distinctive exhibitions, publications, curatorial and education programs; and enable continuation of a strong financial base.
The expansion, set to open in 2017, will add up to 75,000 square feet of new galleries; a new restaurant and roof garden; new public program and education space; and essential improvements to collections storage, exhibition processing and conservation functions.