Voices in American Art


Each year, the Johnson Collection is pleased to present Voices in American Art, an educational series designed to engage campus and community audiences alike on the subject of fine art in America. TJC was pleased to host Dr. Sylvia Yount, the Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator in Charge of The American Wing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, as the keynote speaker at the 2017 symposium, held on Wednesday, March 15, at Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg.

Sylvia Yount became Sylvia_Yount.jpgthe Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator in Charge of the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in September 2014. She is responsible for the administrative oversight of the Wing, with its ten curators and twenty-five other staff and volunteers. She also provides vision and leadership, while defining collecting, interpretation, and audience-engagement goals for the historic department of fine and decorative arts from the colonial period to the early-twentieth century. Before moving to the Met, she spent seven years as Chief Curator and the Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Curator of American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and six as the Margaret and Terry Stent Curator of American Art and department head at the High Museum of Art. She began her curatorial career at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, America’s oldest art school and museum, in 1993. In addition to completing pivotal collection reinstallations at her former institutions, Yount has organized major exhibitions (with accompanying catalogues) on Cecilia Beaux, Maxfield Parrish, and American modernism, among other topics. She received a Ph.D. and a M.A. in the History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in Italian from New York University. Yount has lectured and published widely on late nineteenth- and twentieth-century American art and culture as well as on issues of curatorial responsibility and current museum practice. 

Created in support of our mission to increase understanding of the dynamic role that art of the South plays in the larger context of our national history, Voices in American Art brings arts professionals from across the country to Spartanburg for annual symposiums that engage the cultural and college communities. The 2016 installment, held on February 4, featured speakers Jane Panetta, Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Jan Postma, a Spartanburg native and Chief Financial Officer of the Museum of Modern Art. Their keynote address, "Making Collections Matter," explored the idea of a museum collection, different approaches to collecting both historically and today, and the myriad of ways in which museum collections are used to create a powerful impact. The couple also offered an informal master class for local students interested in careers in the arts. Previous VIAA speakers include Elizabeth Pochoda, editor of The Magazine Antiques, and Sarah Cash, former Bechhoefer Curator of American Art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

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