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GRI appoints LeRonn Brooks, Curator of Modern and Contemporary African American Art
Dr. Brooks will specialize in African American art. Photo: Kay Hickma.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Getty Research Institute announced today the appointment of LeRonn P. Brooks as Associate Curator for Modern and Contemporary Collections, specializing in African American art. Brooks fills a position newly created as part of the Getty Research Institute’s African American Art History Initiative, an ambitious program launched last year to establish the Getty Research Institute as a major center for the study of African American art and art history.

“LeRonn P. Brooks brings an informed, critical voice to the Getty Research Institute’s curatorial department and is a welcome addition to our scholarly community,” said Mary Miller, director of the Getty Research Institute. “I am looking forward to working with him as he helps build collections for research on 20th-21st century American art history. His mandate – to help develop our research and resources on African American art history and connect them to our other collecting areas – is vitally important at the GRI and I’m certain he is the best person for the task.”

Brooks is currently a faculty member at Lehman College in New York. He brings broad curatorial experience to the Getty, having curated the Racial Imaginary Institute exhibition On Whiteness, which included artists Cindy Sherman, Glenn Ligon, Ken Gonzales-Day, Kate Greenstreet, Titus Kaphar, Mel Chin, Baseera Khan, and Toyin Ojih Odutola, among others. He also organized a related performance series and symposium. For the Bronx Council on the Arts, Brooks curated the 2016 exhibition Bronx: Africa which exhibited the work of 25 early and mid-career Bronx-based African artists.

“With the African American Art History Initiative, the Getty Research Institute is making a strong, long-term commitment to the field of African American art history and hiring a talented scholar to build and develop our collections and related programs is a major part of that effort,” said Andrew Perchuk, deputy director of the Getty Research Institute. “LeRonn Brooks’s career has emphasized collaboration and interdisciplinary studies, an approach that we value as we work with partner institutions and living artists to promote advanced research in African American art history and, ultimately, a fuller and richer picture of American art.”

As a member of the modern and contemporary collections curatorial team at the GRI, Brooks will help to build collections and to present programs related to African American art. This will include acquiring art historical and artists’ archives and other original sources and documents. Brooks is the first full-time staff member hired at the GRI under the new African American Art History initiative. The GRI also plans to hire a bibliographer to build the research library’s holdings. The GRI currently supports annual graduate and post-graduate research fellowships as well as a program to conduct oral histories of notable African American artists, scholars, critics, collectors and art dealers. The GRI will partner with other institutions to digitize existing archival collections and collaborate on joint conferences, publications, and research projects. Brooks will be an integral part of these projects and related research initiatives.

“I have found it beneficial to use my scholarship, understanding of historical contexts and curatorial practice, to examine the intersections between representations of African-American visual cultures and society,” said Brooks. “I look forward to working alongside amazing colleagues doing similarly important and timely work at the Getty.”

Brooks earned a Doctorate of Philosophy, Art History, from City University of New York and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Hunter College. He has served as Assistant Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Lehman College. He has published numerous articles, papers, and catalog essays including articles in BOMB Magazine, the International Review of African American Art, and for the Aperture Foundation, as well as catalog essays for the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, the Mississippi Museum of Art, the Spelman Museum of Art, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. He has participated in panels and lectures at museums and universities throughout the United States and Europe.

“I’m delighted to welcome LeRonn Brooks to our curatorial team,” added Marcia Reed, Chief Curator at the Getty Research Institute. “He is a talented and dynamic art historian with a deep knowledge of the diverse contributions of African American artists to art history and an inspired passion to share that knowledge with others. Given the interdisciplinary nature of his research, writing, and programming, his practice is well-suited to developing the GRI’s collections, creating rich research resources for a vibrant academic community.”

Brooks will begin his position at the Getty Research Institute in June 2019.

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