Colby College has named Lee Glazer the founding director of the Lunder Institute for American Art. Currently curator of American art for the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Freer|Sackler), Glazer is a leading scholar of American art with expertise in a range of areas, including the work of artists Romare Bearden, Thomas Dewing, and James McNeill Whistler.
As founding director, Glazer will establish the institute’s scholarly and creative direction and build programs and collaborations in support of that direction. This will include developing artist residencies and recruiting and selecting artists to participate, organizing symposia and conferences, leading the institute’s engagement with museum and College audiences, and forging relationships that strengthen the museum’s and Colby’s connections with Waterville and Maine.
“The appointment of Lee Glazer as institute director puts us a giant step closer to building a truly distinctive and global research center for American art at the Colby College Museum of Art,” said Colby President David A. Greene. “Lee is a fine scholar who combines passion for her work with programmatic vision. She is equally at home in the world of ideas and in creating an environment for artists to undertake groundbreaking projects. She will build the foundation for this institute that will last for generations to come.”
Glazer has been with Freer|Sackler since 2007, where she has curated almost 20 exhibitions. She has written or edited eight books and many essays, including one for Whistler and the World, the publication edited by Colby’s Lunder Curator for Whistler Studies Justin McCann, to accompany the 2015 Colby Museum exhibition of the same name. She has also collaborated with contemporary artists to realize projects such as Darren Waterston’s “Filthy Lucre,” an immersive installation at the Freer|Sackler conceived by the artist in response to Whistler’s Peacock Room. Glazer earned her Ph.D. in art history from the University of Pennsylvania.
In her role as director, Glazer will work closely with Colby faculty, students, and the museum’s curatorial and education teams.
“Lee brings a deep knowledge of American art and an inspired vision for working with contemporary artists and scholars,” said Carolyn J. Muzzy Director and Chief Curator Sharon Corwin, who led the search. “She thinks and works across disciplinary boundaries and will push the field of American art in innovative new directions. I can’t think of a more brilliant leader to serve as the Lunder Institute’s founding director.”
“The institute will be a place where creative practice, original research, teaching and learning, and, of course, the museum’s superb and ever-growing collection of American art are all coequal and mutually reinforcing,” said Glazer. “I am beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to shape the future of this unique endeavor made possible by Peter and Paula Lunder.”
This is the second leadership appointment for the Lunder Institute, which was established by a remarkable gift from Life Trustee Paula Crane Lunder, D.F.A. ’98 and Life Overseer Peter Lunder ’56, D.F.A. ’98 in 2017. Earlier this month Colby announced that renowned artist Theaster Gates will be the first distinguished visiting artist and director of artist initiatives at the Lunder Institute. The poet Richard Blanco is the institute’s spring 2018 artist in residence.
Lunder Institute for American Art
Integrated into the academic mission of the College and the museum’s program, the Lunder Institute is a research center for American art established by Peter and Paula Lunder. The institute creates a unique space for scholarship, creative works, dialogue, and mentorship among visiting scholars and artists, Colby faculty and students, and the central Maine community; facilitates institutional exchange in the United States and internationally; and trains future leaders in the field of American art through the Colby Museum and partner institutions around the world. To advance critical and creative research in American art and related fields, the institute hosts a residential program for scholars and artists on campus and in downtown Waterville. Residencies are offered to graduate students, scholars, curators, and emerging and internationally renowned artists who may develop new site-specific works on campus and in the community.