Claremont, Calif. (January 17, 2017)—Pitzer College alumna Kimberli Gant ’02, a curator, art historian and expert on the African diaspora, has been named the McKinnon Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA. Charged with overseeing the museum’s art collection from the mid-twentieth century to the present day, Gant starts her new role on January 17.
“With her bold vision, international perspective, scholarship and verve, Kimberli Gant will be a valuable addition to the Chrysler Museum’s outstanding curatorial team,” Director Erik Neil said in a press release. “She brings strong academic credentials and a breadth of professional experience.”
Gant is described as a curator “known for trenchant exhibitions.”
Prior to the Chrysler, Gant was a Mellon doctoral fellow in the Department of Arts of Global Africa at the Newark Museum, where she curated the exhibition Wondrous Worlds: Art & Islam Through Time & Place. She has curated a number of other exhibits across the country, including A Lifelong Adventure: Brandywine Workshop Prints from the Green-Christian Collection at the John Warfield Center for African & African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas and There is No Looking Glass Here: Wide Sargasso Sea Re-Imagined for Deutsche Bank America in New York.
From 2005 to 2010, Gant was the curator of exhibitions and public programs at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts in Brooklyn, NY, where she initiated a high school and college internship program and graduate school curatorial fellowship.
Gant earned her BA in art history at Pitzer College. She received her master’s degree in art history from Columbia University and is completing her dissertation on photographic depictions of Lagos, Nigeria, at the University of Texas at Austin. At UT Austin, she worked at the university’s Center for the Art of Africa & Its Diasporas and was the 2012 inaugural curatorial fellow at The Contemporary Austin. She also received a fellowship to participate in the CCL/Mellon Foundation Seminar in Curatorial Practice, which she said solidified her desire to creating and shaping museum collections.
Gant grew up in the Chicago area surrounded by works of art and exposed to the art world. Her parents, who are collectors, took Gant and her sister to art fairs around Chicago. Initially, she wasn’t all that interested in the paintings, sculptures, and arts and crafts that populated her childhood, but as soon as she took her first art history course in college, she was hooked.
“I love how life and art influence and inspire each other across time and geography,” Gant said.
At the Chrysler, Gant will be responsible for the study, care, interpretation and presentation of the museum’s modern and contemporary art.
“I’m really looking forward to presenting international artists whose work I love and admire to new audiences, as well as reconceptualizing the current collection and galleries at the Chrysler,” Gant said. “There are also some really amazing local collections that I’m excited about getting to know and connecting with the museum’s collection.”
The Chrysler Museum of Art has a nationally recognized collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the largest glass collections in America. Launched by a gift from Walter Chrysler, Jr., the son of the car company founder, the museum aims to “enrich and transform lives” through exposure to great works of art. General admission is free at both the museum and its Perry Glass Studio.