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Stanford University


Elizabeth Kathleen Mitchell

Burton and Deedee McMurtry Curator and director of the Curatorial Fellowship Program

Elizabeth Kathleen Mitchell

Mitchell has been the Cantor’s curator of prints, drawings, and photographs since she joined the museum in the fall of 2010. Her specialization is the intersection of printmaking and medical science in Enlightenment Britain. Most recently, she has been evaluating the permanent collection of art on paper and expanding it by acquiring photographs by artists from Africa and the Middle East, and prints by male and female African American artists. In 2017, Mitchell oversaw Rodin: The Shock of the Modern Body, the reinstallation of the Cantor’s collection of sculpture by Auguste Rodin, and in 2018 she co-curated Betray the Secret: Humanity in the Age of Frankenstein with Alex Nemerov, Art & Art History Department chair and Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities.

As director of the Cantor’s Curatorial Fellowship Program, Mitchell supervised three emerging curators who undertook major exhibition projects during their two-year terms. Their accomplishments include re-envisioning how the museum represents African art in its galleries, collaborating with faculty and students to curate the exhibition Ink Worlds: Contemporary Chinese Painting from the Collection of Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang while also generating its related catalogue, and partnering with Mitchell to curate Rodin: The Shock of the Modern Body. In 2019, Mitchell will also supervise a new curatorial fellow for the Indigenous Arts of the Americas.

Other exhibitions Mitchell has curated include: When Artists Attack: Honor Daumier and La Caricature, 1830-1835 (2012), Drawn to the Body: French Figure Drawings from the Cantor Arts Center Collection (2013), Lee Friedlander: The Cray Photographs (2013), and Carleton Watkins: The Stanford Albums (2014). She also installed the 2014 travelling retrospective Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video and, in 2015, taught Stanford undergraduate students in a seminar on Jacob Lawrence that resulted in the class curating the exhibition Promised Land: Jacob Lawrence at the Cantor. A Gift from the Kayden Family.

She received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2006 and, before coming to the Cantor, was assistant curator of prints and drawings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander

Assistant Curator of American Art

AleesaAt the Cantor, Alexander is bringing attention to the contributions of African American artists, as well as so-called “outsider artists.” She also is participating in a new initiative with Marci Kwon, assistant professor, Department of Art & Art History, to expand the collection of works at the Cantor by Asian American artists, many of whom worked in the Bay Area beginning in the late 19th century. Alexander has already expanded the Cantor’s American art offerings with acquisitions, exhibitions, and programming. She is organizing the exhibition The Medium Is the Message: Art since 1950 and is responsible for bringing the upcoming traveling exhibition Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze, which is coming  to the Cantor in the fall.  She also is bringing artist Lonnie Holley to campus for a week of programs, teaching, and a concert.

Before coming to the Cantor in September, 2018, Alexander was the Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow in Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While there, she served as an assistant on a number of significant exhibitions, including History Refused to Die: Highlights from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation Gift. The exhibition includes work by self-taught artists, drawn from the world’s largest collection of art by African Americans in the southern United States.

Alexander, who received her doctorate from the University of California, Santa Barbara, also contributed catalogue entries to the much-acclaimed show recently on view at the National Gallery of Art, Outliers and American Vanguard Art. In conducting research for her dissertation, “Unaccountable Modernisms: The Black Arts of Post-Civil Rights Alabama,” she spent months traveling and researching in Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina cultivating direct relationships with living artists in the region.