BOSTON, MA (August 6, 2014)—Today, Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), has announced two new curatorial appointments: Kathryn Gunsch, Teel Curator of African and Oceanic Art, and Emily Stoehrer, Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry. 

Kathryn Wysocki Gunsch assumes her new role on Sept 22, 2014, and will be responsible for the MFA’s growing collection of art from Africa and Oceania. A noted scholar of the ancient Kingdom of Benin, she will oversee the MFA’s recent acquisition of 32 Benin objects from the Robert Owen Lehman Collection and the new Benin Kingdom Gallery. She will also oversee the recently re-installed Arts of Africa Gallery, which features more than 70 works from across the continent, and the upcoming Arts of the Pacific Gallery, which explores an array of objects from the islands in and around Indonesia, Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia. Gunsch comes to the MFA from the Baltimore Museum of Art, where she served as Department Head for the Arts of Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Pacific Islands. She has held numerous teaching and museum positions throughout her career, including serving as an adjunct instructor at Johns Hopkins University and New York University, and working as Associate Curator for African Art at the Baltimore Museum of Art. She completed her Ph.D. at New York University in 2012, with a dissertation on the famed Benin bronze plaques. Gunsch replaces long-time curator Christraud Geary, who retired in 2013 after 10 years at the Museum. Geary was the Museum’s first Curator of African and Oceanic Art, and is now Teel Senior Curator Emerita.

“I am delighted to welcome Kathryn to the MFA,” said Rogers. “As an expert in art of the Benin Kingdom, Kathryn will be essential in furthering scholarship in this area, allowing us to educate visitors from Boston and all over the world about the fascinating history of these extraordinary objects and the people who made them.”

Emily Stoehrer will be responsible for a jewelry collection that spans 6,000 years and features adornments that represent a wide array of materials, techniques and functions. Objects range from Neolithic Chinese jade to Ancient Egyptian beadwork to gems and jewels from top 20th-century designers. The Museum’s jewelry collection boasts over 20,000 pieces, including the most comprehensive collection of 20th-century studio jewelry ever assembled.  Her first major initiative is curating the jewelry featured in Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen, which opens September 9, 2014. The exhibition focuses on how jewelry and clothing contributed to the iconic style of several major stars of the 1930s and 1940s, including Gloria Swanson, Anna May Wong, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West and Joan Crawford. Stoehrer will also oversee the MFA’s Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation Gallery—one of only a few at major US museums solely dedicated to jewelry—which offers a flexible rotating space for the display of jewelry from all cultures and time periods. Currently on view is Gold and the Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia, an exhibition of the MFA’s world-class collection of ancient Nubian adornment—the most comprehensive outside Khartoum. Stoehrer has been a consultant in the MFA’s David and Roberta Logie Department of Textile and Fashion Arts since 2013, and Professor of Fashion and Program Director of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Boston’s Fisher College since 2010. Prior to Fisher, she was an MFA Curatorial Research Associate, working on the exhibition Gems, Jewels, and Treasures: Ancient to Modern (2011) and assisting with the documentation and photography of more than 10,000 Asian costume and textile objects in the collection. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Salve Regina University (RI) and completed her Masters in Fashion & Textile Studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology (NY) in 2007. 

“As one of the first encyclopedic museums to appoint a curator of jewelry, the MFA is committed to displaying these objects—including pieces from many diverse cultures and time periods—in new and interesting ways,” said Rogers. “Emily brings a strong foundation in the fashion arts to this key position. Her talent and passion for the subject will make her an exceptional advocate for the jewelry arts here at the MFA.”

Stoehrer succeeds Yvonne Markowitz, who was appointed Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry when the position was endowed in 2006—the first museum curatorship for jewelry in the United States.  Markowitz will retire this December after 27 years at the Museum.

The renovation of the Benin Kingdom Gallery was made possible with support from the Robert Lehman Foundation and the Vance Wall Foundation.

Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen is sponsored by Neil Lane Jewelry. Additional support from the David and Roberta Logie Fund for Textile and Fashion Arts and the Loring Textile Gallery Exhibition Fund. 

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its collection, which includes an estimated 500,000 objects. The Museum has more than 140 galleries displaying its encyclopedic collection, which includes Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia, Oceania, and Africa; Art of the Ancient World; Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 am–4:45 pm; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 am–9:45 pm Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions. Admission is free for University Members and youths age 17 and younger on weekdays after 3 pm, weekends, and Boston Public Schools holidays; otherwise $10. Wednesday nights after 4 pm admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25). MFA Members are always admitted for free. The Museum’s mobile MFA Guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. For more information, visit mfa.org or call 617.267.9300. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.

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