WASHINGTON, DC.- The Smithsonian American Art Museum
announced that Abraham Thomas will join the museums staff as The Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge for its Renwick Gallery, its branch for contemporary craft and decorative art.
Since re-opening in November 2015, the Renwick has pointed to new directions in the field of craft. The inaugural exhibition WONDER attracted more than 730,000 visitors in its eight-month run, and created a sensation on social media. Thomass hiring will continue the Renwick Gallerys mandate for a revitalized program that combines tradition with contemporary design and programming.
We welcome Abraham Thomas, who will expand on the Renwicks new directions and established traditions, said Betsy Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. His deep knowledge of art and craft, management experience and history of transformational leadership are all significant for the Renwicks future.
He will begin work Oct. 31. Thomas will oversee acquisitions, exhibitions, research, publications, patron relations and a staff of six at the gallery.
I am thrilled to be joining the Renwick Gallery at such an exciting period during its history, said Thomas. Following the fabulous refurbishment of its landmark historic building and the tremendous success of the recent WONDER exhibition, this seems an ideal moment to join such a talented team. I look forward to working closely with the staff, as we continue to showcase the best examples of the established field, while also exploring contemporary shifts to investigate the increasingly expansive notion of what craft means today, and how it might evolve in years to come."
Thomas was director of the Sir John Soanes Museum in London from 2013 to 2015. While there, he created a new program of contemporary art and design commissions that responded to the museums historical collections and architectural spaces. He also oversaw a major restoration of the museums spaces and collection displays. From 2006 to 2013, he was curator of designs at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. There too, he developed contemporary elements of the program with exhibitions such as Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary (2012) and 1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces (2010). He curated the forthcoming exhibition High-Tech: Design in a PostIndustrial Age that will be presented in 2018 at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in the U.K. before touring internationally. He has published and lectured extensively on architecture, decorative arts, graphic design, photography and fashion. Thomas earned a bachelors degree from the University of Leicester in 2000.