BAHM | 2.14.18 | Darby English
Darby English is an art historian and curator, who in 2014, was named the Consulting Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, where he works to strengthen the collection and exhibition of works by black artists. He is also the Starr Director of the Research and Academic Program at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in MA. From 2003 to 2013, he taught modern and contemporary art and cultural studies in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago. In 2010, he was awarded the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
English co-curated Kara Walker: Narratives of a Negress at the Tang Teaching Museum in 2003, featuring the artists signature cut paper illustrations of the antebellum period. He also co-edited the accompanying exhibition catalogue, the first significant scholarly publication of her work. In 2007 he curated Focus: William Pope.L at the Art Institute of Chicago, the artists first solo exhibition at a major museum, which included 50 drawings from the ongoing series, Failure Drawings.
English has authored several critically acclaimed books including, How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness (2007), which focused on the work of Kara Walker, Fred Wilson, Isaac Julien, Glenn Ligon, and William Pope.L. In 2016 he published 1971: A Year in the Life of Color (2016), that examined two important exhibitions, Contemporary Black Artists in America at the Whitney Museum and The DeLuxe Show, an early integrated abstract art show at a renovated movie theater in the Houston ghetto. The work of these black modernist and abstract artists did not necessarily align with the politics of representation associated with the Black Power Movement.