The Brooklyn Museum Has Hired its First Full-Time Curator of Indigenous Art

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Darienne (Dare) Turner has been appointed the Brooklyn Museum’s first-ever full-time curator of Indigenous art. She is currently assistant curator of Indigeous art of the Americas at the Baltimore Museum, and takes up her new post in August. 

“The Brooklyn Museum’s collection is simply remarkable, and I am thrilled to work alongside brilliant colleagues and Native community members to share it with the public,” Turner said in a statement. “The opportunity to re-present a historic collection at an institution dedicated to rethinking representation was one I couldn’t pass up. The artworks in the museum’s care offer the keys to understanding who we are as living Native communities, and they highlight the ways in which Native people have thrived on this continent since time immemorial.”

An enrolled member of the Yurok Tribe of California, Turner earned a master’s degree in decorative arts, design history, and material culture from the Bard Graduate Center after studying comparative literature at Stanford University. While in Baltimore, she also taught graphic design at the Maryland Institute College of Arts. Her essay “Terrestrial Gateways to the Divine” was featured in the catalogue for the 2018-19 Bard Graduate Center exhibition “Agents of Faith: Votive Objects in Time and Place,” which the New York Times named one of the best art books of 2018. 

Turner will be charged with expanding the museum’s collection of Indigenous art, currently numbering over 13,600 objects whose origins span from the Southwest to California and from the Pacific Northwest to the Great Plains, and were made by peoples such as the Hopi, Zuni, Pomo, Maidu, Kwakwaka’wakw, and the Osage. She will also organize exhibitions.

“The Brooklyn Museum is committed to addressing the exclusion and erasure of Indigenous peoples,” said Anne Pasternak, the museum’s director, in a statement. “Drawing on her considerable expertise, Turner will help us think critically about our engagement with Indigenous communities and our important collection of Indigenous art.”

Turner becomes the fourth curator the museum has hired in the last year and a half, joining Stephanie Sparling Williams, curator of American art; Kimberli Gant, curator of Modern and contemporary art; and Ernestine White-Mifetu, curator of African Art.

 

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