AMHERST, MASS.- The Mead Art Museum
at Amherst College announced the appointment of Dr. Vanja Malloy as its new curator of American art, effective July 15, 2014. Malloy will oversee the Mead Art Museum's program for American art, including researching the collection, developing exhibitions, and proposing new acquisitions. In addition, she will oversee a forthcoming multiple-author catalogue of the museum's flagship collections of American paintings and sculpture.
Malloy comes to the Mead from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where she was the Chester Dale Fellow in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. A graduate of Duke University with a bachelor's degree in art history, Malloy earned her master's degree in American fine and decorative arts from Sotheby's Institute of Art in New York, and received her PhD from the University of London's Courtauld Institute of Art in June. Her dissertation, titled "Rethinking Alexander Calder: Astronomy, Relativity, and Psychology," is currently undergoing revision for publication.
Malloy's previous publications include articles on Calder, reviews of exhibitions in the United States and Europe, and a book review for the journal Metascience. From 2013 to 2014, she served as consultant for a forthcoming Calder show in England. She has also lectured widely on twentieth-century art, and delivered papers at conferences internationally. Her teaching experience includes leading discussion classes for both undergraduate and graduate courses on art and art theory at the Courtauld Institute of Art, and serving as a gallery educator to public and school groups at The Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery.
In New York, Malloy gave guided tours of special exhibitions at the Met in 2010, and was a New York Citywide Monuments Conservation Fellow in 2009. From 2007 to 2009, she worked at Gerald Peters Gallery in New York, researching and cataloguing a wide selection of nineteenth-century American paintings and sculpture.
Malloy considers herself both an art historian and a science historian. "I'm delighted to be joining the Mead Art Museum as curator of American Art," she said. "I'm drawn to Amherst College's long-standing strengths in art history and science and to its liberal arts foundation, and hope to foster interdisciplinary collaborations between the Mead and Amherst's scientific departments and institutions."
"Vanja Malloy's deep interest in the intersection of science and art makes her an especially good choice as the Mead's new curator of American art," said Carol Clark, William McCall Vickery 1957 Professor of the History of Art and American Studies at Amherst, and a member of the search committee.
The search committee was chaired by Dr. Elizabeth Barker, director of the Mead Art Museum, who said that "all of us at the Mead, and in the many college departments that participated in the search, share a sense of excitement at the prospect of bringing a scholar and curator of Dr. Malloy's academic breadth and intellectual agility to Amherst. We look forward to her innovative and engaging projects in the years ahead."
Established with funds bequeathed by William Rutherford Mead (Amherst College Class of 1867), a partner in the architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White, the Mead Art Museum holds the 19,000-object art collection of Amherst College. Its collection of nearly 6,000 works of American art ranks as one of the finest and largest in an academic institution. The collection is particularly strong in historical portraiture, including portrait miniatures, as well as late 19th-century landscape painting, and features outstanding works of American Impressionism, Tonalism, and Modernism. Celebrated works include John Singleton Copley's Benjamin Blackstone, Jr. and Eleanor Phipps Blackstone, Charles Willson Peale's James Peale Painting a Miniature, Thomas Cole's The Past and The Present, Asher B. Durand's Landscape, Composition, Afternoon, Rembrandt Peale's Self-Portrait, John Frederick Kensett's The Fawn's Leap, Eastman Johnson's Confidence and Admiration, Martin Johnson Heade's Red-Tailed Comet (Hummingbird) in the Andes, George Inness's Virginia Sunset, Willard Metcalf's Gloucester Harbor, Thomas Eakins's Head of a Cowboy, Winslow Homer's The Fisher Girl, Robert Henri's Salome Dancer, George Bellows's Anne in Black Velvet, Charles Hassam's Flags on the Friars Club, Rockwell Kent's Clover Fields, Ralston Crawford's Nacelles Under Construction, Josef Albers's Homage to the Square, Frank Stella's Of Whales in Paint, in Teeth, &c., and Elizabeth Murray's Sunshine.
The collection also includes fine holdings of American furniture and silver; a representative collection of American drawings and prints, especially strong in works from the Painter-Etcher Movement; and a strong collection of photography, with deep holdings of work by canonical American modernist photographers. Compelling subgroupings of Mexican folk art, Haitian art, and a few Native American objects (most of which are held by a different college museum) round out the American collection. Objects from the museum's respected collection of American art are frequently requested for loan, and former Mead curators of American art have gone on to positions at the Art Institute of Chicago, Portland Museum of Art (Maine), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.