For Immediate Release: April 11, 2018
Stanford, CA—The Cantor Arts Center is pleased to announce that Aleesa Alexander, currently the Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow in Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has accepted the position of Assistant Curator of American Art at the Cantor. Alexander, who will start in September, served as an assistant and catalogue contributor on a number of significant exhibitions, including the upcoming Met exhibition, 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.
“We are delighted that Aleesa will be joining the Cantor team and are eager for her to share her deep knowledge of American art, particularly her exciting work in bringing attention to the contributions of African American artists, as well as so-called ‘outsider artists,’” said Susan Dackerman, the Cantor’s John & Jill Freidenrich Director. Alexander also will participate 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, who is completing her dissertation at the University of California, Santa Barbara, also contributed catalogue entries to the much-acclaimed show currently 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.
“An expanded field of American art, in its manifestations inside the museum and academia, is essential to any comprehensive understanding of the history of artwork made in this country,” Alexander said. “I am excited to bring my expertise to the Cantor Arts Center in order to develop innovative exhibitions and campus programming surrounding the work of American artists.”
The addition of Alexander to the Cantor’s curatorial team will allow the museum to expand its American art offerings, which has been a primary goal of Dackerman’s since her arrival at the Cantor last year.