PRESS Harn Museum of Art



Rebecca Nagy, Harn Museum of Art Director

Dr. Rebecca Martin Nagy assumed the position of director of the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art in July 2002. Under her leadership the museum added an 18,000-square-foot wing with galleries, classrooms, a café and gardens in 2005. The museum is now constructing a 26,000-square-foot wing for the exhibition, conservation and study of Asian art to be completed in 2011. Throughout her career Nagy has curated exhibitions and published articles and exhibition catalogues about medieval, contemporary and African art. Most recently she co-organized the exhibition Continuity and Change: Three Generations of Ethiopian Artists (2007) with Achamyeleh Debela and produced the accompanying catalogue.

Prior to her appointment as director of the Harn, Nagy spent 17 years at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, where she concluded her tenure as associate director of education while also serving as curator of African art. From 1988 through 2002, she also served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Nagy graduated summa cum laude from Georgia Southern University with bachelor’s degrees in art and German. She received her doctorate in art history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Nagy was a National Merit Scholar, a Danforth Fellow, a Fellow at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg through the International Partnership Among Museums Program and received Fulbright Fellowships for study in Germany and Ghana.

Nagy holds leadership positions in the Association of Art Museum Directors and the Florida Art Museum Directors Association and sits on the boards of the Art in Public Places Trust, the Alachua County Historic Trust: Matheson Museum and the Gainesville Women’s Forum.

Susan Cooksey, Curator of African Art

Dr. Susan Cooksey is the curator of African art. She manages one of the largest collections of African art in the Southeast, with works dating from 5th century B.C.E. to the 21st century. Her doctoral research was on the arts of divination in southwestern Burkina Faso, and she continues to conduct research about divination, textile arts and ceramics in Burkina Faso. She also conducted recent fieldwork in Mali and Ghana.

Cooksey has curated a number of original exhibitions, including A Sense of Place: African Interiors (2009); Voicing Indigenous ARTifacts: Amazonian Featherwork (2008); Between the Beads: Reading African Beadwork (2008); Cultivating Spirits: Arts of Sepik River Yam Displays (2008); African Arts of Healing and Divination (2007); Resonance and Inspiration: New Works of Magdalene Odundo (2006); For the Next Life: Ancient American Grave Objects (2005); and Sense, Style, Presence: African Arts of Personal Adornment (2004). Her recent publications include “Collection at the Crossroads: New Direction for the Harn Museum of Art’s African Collection,” in Collections: A Journal for Museum Professionals.

She is a member of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association, the African Studies Association, and she is an advisory board member for the African Studies Quarterly Journal. Cooksey received her M.F.A. in painting from the University of South Florida in 1985, and her M.A. in art history at the University of Florida in 1997. She earned her doctorate in art history, specializing in African art, from the University of Iowa in 2004.

Kerry Oliver-Smith, Curator of Contemporary Art

Kerry Oliver-Smith is the curator of contemporary art. She oversees an international collection of more than 1,500 works in all media from 1945 to the present. The collection is featured in changing exhibitions in the 7,500-square-foot exhibition space of the Mary Ann Harn Cofrin Pavilion and the adjacent Robert and Nancy Magoon Garden. Oliver-Smith’s research interests focus on the juncture of art and politics with an emphasis on photographic and video practice.

Oliver-Smith has organized 28 exhibitions along with the museum’s RISK Cinema series. Select exhibitions include Paradigms and the Unexpected: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Shey Collection (2008); Allan Sekula: TITANIC’s Wake (2004 – 2005); German Legacies: The Photography of Max Becher and Andrea Robbins, Sergio Vega (2002): Modernismo Tropical (2002); and Insistent Memory: The Architecture of Time in Video Installation (2000). She has published numerous exhibition catalogues, including, “Contemporary Cuban Art from the Farber Collection,” “Paradigms to the Unexpected: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Shey Collection” and “The Swamp: On the Edge of Eden.” Other publications include numerous essays on exhibitions and artists as well as recent contributions to catalogues about American and international collections of the Harn Museum. She is currently working on Project Europa: Imagining the (Im)Possible, supported by a major grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation.

Oliver-Smith also has received several research grants from the University of Florida and has served on numerous panels and committees, including the National Endowment for the Arts and Art Museum Curators Association. Prior to her current appointment, she served as the Harn Museum curator of education. A founder and artistic co-director of Florida’s Hippodrome State Theatre, she has worked extensively in film and theatre, including projects in the United States, England, Scotland and Spain. Oliver-Smith is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and holds a master’s degree in film and media studies from the University of Florida, where she is currently pursuing her doctorate.

Dulce Román, Curator of Modern Art

Dulce Román joined the staff of the Harn Museum of Art in 1999 and was appointed to her current position in 2001. She is responsible for the development and management of the Harn’s collection of modern art, which includes nearly 1,000 works from the United States, Latin America and Europe. In her role as curator of modern art, Román has curated a number of original exhibitions, including Uncommon Glazes: American Art Pottery, 1880 – 1950 (2009); Paradigms and the Unexpected: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Shey Collection (2008); From Dürer to Renoir: European Prints from the Harn Collection (2007 – 2008); Picturing the Times: Prints and Photographs from the New Deal Era (2006); Ansel Adams: Visualizing the American Landscape (2004); and Santos: Contemporary Devotional Folk Art in Puerto Rico (2003 – 2004). Recent publications include “American Selections from the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art” (2009) and two exhibition catalogues, “Paradigms and the Unexpected: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Shey Collection” (2008) and “Santos: Contemporary Devotional Folk Art in Puerto Rico” (2003).

Prior to joining the staff of the Harn Museum, Román served as a researcher of Spanish art at the Frick Collection in New York from 1992 to 1996 and the department of European paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from 1996 to 1997. Román holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard University and Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy degrees in art history from Columbia University in New York.


Jason Steuber, Cofrin Curator of Asian Art

Jason Steuber was appointed as the Cofrin Curator of Asian Art in 2008. He oversees the collection of more than 1,300 works of art from China, Japan, Korea, India, the Himalayas and Southeast Asia. His research interests include the history of collecting and exhibiting Asian art and the relationship between traditional and contemporary art throughout Asia.

Previously, he worked as an Asian art curator at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, and served as the Leverhulme Trust Visiting Fellow in the Department of History of Art, Glasgow University. He has contributed to major projects related to Chinese art, including the 1999 international loan exhibition The Golden Age of Chinese Archaeology: Celebrated Discoveries from The People's Republic of China, held at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the 2004 two-volume set “New Perspectives on China's Past: Chinese Archaeology in the Twentieth Century,” which was published by Yale University Press. Steuber has published articles in several international journals, including Apollo, Arts of Asia, ArtAsiaPacific, The Burlington Magazine and Gugong Wenwu Yuekan (National Palace Museum Monthly of Chinese Art). His 2008 book, “China: 3,000 Years of Art and Literature,” was published by Welcome Books.

Steuber holds bachelor’s degrees in East Asian languages and cultures and Chinese from the University of Kansas, where he also received his master’s degree in East Asian languages and cultures. He is currently pursuing his doctorate of art history from Glasgow University.

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