Harvard Art Museums Appoints Horace D. Ballard Associate Curator of American Art


HARVARD ART MUSEUMS announced the appointment of Horace D. Ballard, who will be Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. Associate Curator of American Art. Ballard arrives from the Williams College Museum of Art, where he is Curator of American Art. His appointment to Harvard is effective September 1.

“Horace’s scholarship and his vision for conservation, combined with his experience of engaging and teaching in university museums, make him an ideal addition to our team at a critical time,” said the director. of Harvard Art Museums, Martha Tedeschi, in a statement.

“My colleagues and I are delighted to welcome him and look forward to working closely on the ongoing redesign and reframing of our galleries and collections, with the aim of presenting new perspectives on the definition of American art for the 21st century. “

Curator Horace D. Ballard specializes in the artistic and visual cultures of the United States as well as 17th and 18th century art from the British, Portuguese and Spanish colonies of the Americas. His research interests include the history of photography, portraits of the Atlantic world in the 18th and 19th centuries, artists Thomas Eakins and Benjamin West, and the material and visual cultures of religion. | Photo by Jeneene Chatowsky

BALLARD JOINED The Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA), Williamstown, Mass., As Assistant Curator (2017-19) and became Curator of American Art. He also teaches, as an affiliate professor in the Joint Graduate Program in Art History at the nearby Williams and Clark Art Institute.

During his tenure at WCMA, Ballard curated six exhibitions, including ‘Landmarks’ (2020), an investigation that examined’ how human beings have used photographic processes to orient and define themselves in relation to the natural and built environment ”; “James Van Der Zee: Collecting History” (2019); “Possible months: queer foto vernaculars” (2018-19); and “Sam Gilliam in Dialogue” (2018).

Upcoming projects include “To Shape a Moon from Bone” (2022), a posthumous investigation of sculptor Mary Ann Unger (1945-1998) and The Emancipation Project (1863-2023), which Ballard co-organizes with Maggie Adler at Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas.

Previously, Ballard held positions at the Monticello / Thomas Jefferson Foundation Historic Site; as curator of education at the Birmingham Museum of Art; educator at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum;
at the Yale University Art Gallery; and the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia.

“My colleagues and I are delighted to welcome (Horace Ballard) and look forward to working closely on the ongoing redesign and reframing of our galleries and collections, with the aim of presenting new perspectives on the definition of American art for the 21st century. “
– Martha Tedeschi, Director of Harvard Art Museums

BALLARD BRINGS unique academic training to its curatorial practice. He obtained a double BA in English Literature and American Studies from the University of Virginia (2006); an MAR in Religion and Visual Culture from the Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School (2010), and also holds a Masters (2012) and PhD. (2017), Degrees in American Studies and American Visual Culture from Brown University.

The Harvard Art Museums are a collective of three museums and four research centers whose collections total approximately 250,000 objects through mediums; extend from Antiquity to the Middle Ages and from the modern era to the present day; and represent American, European, Asian, Mediterranean, Near Eastern, Islamic and later Indian art.

Curator, professor and theologian, Ballard joins the European and American Art Division of Harvard Art Museums, where he will oversee the collection of pre-20th century American paintings, sculptures and decorative arts and work with colleagues from museums on exhibitions and acquisitions. It will also identify opportunities for collaboration with other Harvard entities, including academic programs in American and African American Studies and the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology.

“I believe in the vast potential of university museums to sharpen the ethics of our attention,” Ballard said in a statement.

“Harvard Art Museums have long been a laboratory for innovative and multidisciplinary approaches to the material and visual cultures of human civilization. I spent time in collections as a graduate student, and experienced first-hand the power of art to inspire empathy, wonder, and socio-political change. The field of American art is in a period of calculation and reflection; I am delighted to be joining the Harvard Art Museums at such an exciting time. CT

LEARN MORE Horace D. Ballard recently spoke with curator Antwaun Sargent at the American Folk Art Museum in New York. look here

To learn more about Harvard Museums and the related curriculum, see “The Art of Conservation: Paul J. Sachs and the Museum Course at Harvard” and “Harvard’s Art Museums: 100 Years of Collecting.” From Harvard University Press, “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration” by Nicole R. Fleetwood, was recently published.

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