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Memphis Brooks Museum hires two new curators
Garrett, who has nine years of experience working in museums, was most recently the Bridget Riley Art Foundation Curatorial Assistant at The Courtauld Gallery in London, where she worked primarily with European Old Master paintings.

MEMPHIS, TENN.- The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art announced the hiring of Rosamund Garrett, Ph.D. as Associate Curator of European and Decorative Arts and the appointment of Kimberly Diana Jacobs as the museum’s inaugural Joyce Blackmon Curatorial Fellow in African American Art and Art of the African Diaspora. The Brooks Museum, the oldest and only encyclopedic arts museum in the Mid-South region, is located in the heart of Memphis.

Garrett, who has nine years of experience working in museums, was most recently the Bridget Riley Art Foundation Curatorial Assistant at The Courtauld Gallery in London, where she worked primarily with European Old Master paintings. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. at the Courtauld Institute of Art, which is world-renowned for the history of art and conservation. While Garrett’s specialty is medieval and Renaissance decorative arts and paintings, she has experience and interest in an array of media, including drawings, sculptures and textiles. Garrett most recently served as lead curator for Bloomsbury Art & Design at the Courtauld Gallery, co-wrote the exhibition catalog Late-Medieval and Renaissance Textiles, published by Sam Fogg in 2018, and co-wrote the catalog for a major exhibition, The Courtauld Collection. A Vision for Impressionism, which will be on view at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, in 2019.

Jacobs was most recently the assistant curator of performance at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) in Cape Town, South Africa. Jacobs has a master of arts degree in history from Jackson State University, and has helped organize exhibitions at museums including Zeitz MOCAA, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, and St. Louis Art Museum, where she served as a Romare Bearden Fellow. Her past projects include co-curating the exhibitions States of Grace, Anything but Civil: Kara Walker’s Vision of the Old South, and The Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art, which she helped organize in collaboration with Jackson State University and the Mississippi Museum of Art in 2012.

“After an international search, we found two stellar additions to our staff,” said Emily Ballew Neff, executive director of the Brooks. She added, “Dr. Garrett and Ms. Jacobs will accelerate the excellence and diversity of our curatorial programs now, and also as we ramp up plans for ‘Brooks on the bluff’ over the next five years. I look forward to their meaningful contributions to the reimagining of the 21st century art museum in Memphis.”

As associate curator of European and decorative arts, Garrett’s standards of excellence in research and writing will complement the Brooks’ tradition of fine art history scholarship. Garrett will support the needs of the museum’s ambitious collection and exhibition program, beginning with reinstallations and remixes of the Brooks’ holdings and the mid-2019 arrival of Bouguereau & America, a traveling exhibition that is co-organized by the Brooks and the Milwaukee Art Museum.

“Rosamund is already recognized internationally for her innovative research, erudition, fresh ideas, and commitment to advocating for the power of art in all communities. She has the talent, skills and experience to play a major role in reimagining how we perceive and understand Old Master art and its contemporary relevance, which will be critical now in our beloved home in Overton Park, and in the future along the banks of the storied Mississippi River.” said Neff.

“After spending only three days in Memphis, I decided to move across the Atlantic because of the Brooks’ dedication to the community and the energy of the city itself. I have always felt that curatorial work is public service, so this feels like the right museum to be in to serve an extraordinary city. Not to mention, there are some real jewels in the Brooks’ collection,” said Garrett.

In her role as the inaugural Joyce Blackmon Curatorial Fellow in African American Art and Art of the African Diaspora, a two-year fellowship subject to renewal for an additional year, Jacobs will work on acquisitions and exhibitions, and help the museum launch an affinity group for funding new acquisitions by artists of African descent.

The Joyce Blackmon Curatorial Fellowship in African American Art and Art of the African Diaspora provides representatives from traditionally under-represented backgrounds with specialized training and professional development opportunities and supports the goal of promoting inclusive, diversified museum programming. The fellowship is a first for the Brooks, which has the largest art museum holdings of photographs by Ernest C. Withers, and nearly 100 works by artists of African descent in its permanent collection, including works by Romare Bearden, Chakaia Booker, Elizabeth Catlett, Sonya Clark, Willie Cole, Glenn Ligon, Whitfield Lovell, Faith Ringgold, Malick Sidibé, Hank Willis Thomas, and Carrie Mae Weems.

“We are extraordinarily grateful to a friend of the Brooks for funding this essential role in the continuing development and acceleration of our focus area in African American art and art of the African Diaspora,” said Neff. “Without the generosity of our friend of the Brooks and Joyce Blackmon for lending her distinguished name to the fellowship,” Neff added, “we would be severely limited in our capacity to ensure that visitors to Memphis see the best and most important artworks and scholarship in the field.”

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