The American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) announced on Tuesday that Stacy C. Hollander, the museum’s esteemed deputy director of curatorial affairs, chief curator, and director of exhibitions is leaving the museum to pursue independent curatorial work and writing projects. Hollander, who has been at AFAM for 34 years, will continue in her roles through June 30. The Director and Board of Trustees of AFAM laud Hollander on her career of critically-acclaimed exhibitions, publications, and acquisitions, as well as her leadership within the museum and the field.
“Stacy Hollander is a curator with deep knowledge and boundless curiosity; her exhibitions have been critical in establishing the American Folk Art Museum as the leading institution of self-taught art,” said Jason T. Busch, Director of AFAM. “Stacy has built a strong foundation of scholarship and curatorial excellence that the museum will continue to develop toward its 60th anniversary in 2021.”
Monty Blanchard, President of the Board of Trustees added, “Stacy has been a mainstay of AFAM for decades. We are most fortunate to have benefited from her exceptional curatorial creativity, scholarship, diligence, and taste. Last year she even served as interim acting director of the museum during our search process. We thank her for her service, we will miss her, and we wish her well.”
Hollander, who has a masters from the New York University program in American Folk Art Studies, started as an intern at AFAM in 1985. She has led the museum’s exhibition program for 25 years and expanded the collection in nearly every category in which the museum collects. Her first solo exhibition and publication, Harry Lieberman: A Journey of Remembrance (1991) was followed by 50 critically-acclaimed and award-winning original exhibitions and writings, including: American Radiance (2001); Blue (2004); The Seduction of Light: Ammi Phillips/Mark Rothko Compositions in Pink, Green, and Red (2008); Asa Ames: Occupation Sculpturing (2008); Women Only (2011); as coordinator for Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts (2011, at the Park Avenue Armory); Compass: Folk Art in Four Directions (2012, at the South Street Seaport Museum); Self-Taught Genius (2013-16, with Dr. Valérie Rousseau); Securing the Shadow: Posthumous Portraiture in America (2016); War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts from Military Fabrics (2017), and most recently, Charting the Divine Plan: The Art of Orra White Hitchcock (2018), winner of the Victorian Society of New York award. The last two exhibitions were included in the annual “Best of the Year” lists by The New York Times, and Securing the Shadow was honored with First Place Awards of Excellence by the Association of Art Museum Curators Foundation. Stacy was coordinating curator for the current exhibition Made in New York City: The Business of Folk Art, which remains on view through July as a celebration of the museum’s 30th anniversary at its Lincoln Square location.
Among the hundreds of acquisitions that have entered the museum’s collection through Hollander’s careful stewardship are noteworthy works by Ammi Phillips, Sheldon Peck, Joseph Whiting Stock, William Matthew Prior, and John Hewson along with objects of exemplary importance by anonymous artists and artisans.
Hollander’s extraordinary contributions to the American Folk Art Museum will be honored with the Stacy C. Hollander Fund to support exhibitions, the first such fund established as part of the museum’s current 30/60 Anniversary Endowment Campaign.