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Brian T. Allen Named Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art

 

Phillips Academy Head of School Barbara Landis Chase announced on May 27, 2004 the appointment of Brian T. Allen as the new director of the Addison Gallery of American Art, located on the academy's Andover campus. Allen, who will take the reins of the Addison in August, currently serves as director of collections and exhibitions and curator of American art at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass. His appointment completes a nine-month search to fill the job formerly held by Adam D. Weinberg, who left the Addison last summer to become director of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. (right: Brian T. Allen, photo courtesy of Addison Gallery of American Art)

"Brian Allen has a deep knowledge of American art, extensive curatorial experience and an appreciation for the power of art to teach, " said Chase. "His talents and experience are a particularly good match for the Addison, which is rooted in an educational institution but also has strong local, regional and national relationships."

"The Addison has an extraordinary collection and is well-known for its adventurous and distinguished exhibition program," said Allen. "As a frequent visitor over the years, I have been impressed with the high standards the Addison sets in curatorial work, exhibitions and educational programming. The Addison offers a director rare opportunities -- the chance to work with and continue to build an outstanding collection, to engage with students and teachers and to collaborate with museums, schools and living artists both nationally and internationally."

Allen has worked since 1997 at the Clark, which is closely affiliated with Williams College and has its own graduate program in art history. He organized numerous exhibitions, among them Sugaring Off: The Maple Sugar Paintings of Eastman Johnson; Jean-Francois Millet: Drawn into the Light; and Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures: Orientalism in American Culture, 1870-1930. He has also been the curator of exhibitions on 19th century American art and has been involved with shows on subjects as disparate as contemporary architecture and French painting, as well as Old Master drawings and one-object shows. Additionally, he has extensive teaching experience utilizing the Clark's permanent collection to teach established scholars, students and the public. Allen received a doctorate in art history from Yale University in 1998. He also holds a J.D. degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law, a master's degree in art history from Williams College and a bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University. Prior to his museum career, he worked as chief of staff for the president pro tempore of the Connecticut General Assembly and practiced law with the firm of Day, Berry & Howard, which has offices in Boston and Hartford and Stamford, Conn.

At the Addison, Allen will be responsible for overseeing the museum's exhibition schedule, for development of its collection, for continuing the development of the Addison's active educational outreach activities -- including its artist-in-residence program-and for fund-raising efforts tied to the Addison's strategic plan.

"The Addison is fortunate to have Brian Allen as its new director," said New York artist Carroll Dunham, a Phillips Academy alumnus and a member of the Addison Director Search Advisory Committee. "He has the perfect combination of skill and experience for this phase of the museum's history."

The Addison Gallery of American Art, established in 1930, has one of the most important compilations of American art in the country. Its collection of more than 13,500 objects began with major works by the most prominent American artists of the past-among them Gilbert Stuart, John Singleton Copley, Benjamin West, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. In the ensuing 70 years, aggressive purchasing and generous gifts in all media have added works by such artists as Alexander Calder, Hans Hofmann, Georgia O'Keeffe and Frank Stella, as well as comprehensive photographic holdings representing Walker Evans, Eadweard Muybridge, Berenice Abbott, Robert Frank and Hollis Frampton, among others.

Phillips Academy, better known as Andover, is a coeducational independent boarding high school of 1,087 students, known for its extensive and rigorous academic program. A diverse community of teachers and students, the academy was founded in 1778.

Notable alumni include 19th century poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, the late Dr. Benjamin M. Spock, Presidents George Bush and George W. Bush, artists Frank Stella, Joseph Cornell and George C. Tooker, sculptor Carl Andre, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, cartoonist Jeffrey K. MacNelly, authors Julia Alvarez and Tracy Kidder and performers Jack Lemmon, James Spader and Dana Delany.

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