News Release - Hilton Als Named Inaugural Hannah and Russel Kully Distinguished Fellow in the History of American Art

Posted on Wed., Feb. 15, 2023

SAN MARINO, Calif.—The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens announced today that Hilton Als—Pulitzer Prize–winning writer, theater critic for The New Yorker magazine, and curator—is the inaugural Hannah and Russel Kully Distinguished Fellow in the History of American Art.

“We are thrilled to have Hilton join our distinguished fellowship program and play an important role in the intellectual life of The Huntington,” said Christina Nielsen, Hannah and Russel Kully Director of the Art Museum. “Hilton’s extraordinary intellectual range—across artistic, literary, and performance-based genres—combined with his deeply human approach to some of the most pressing issues of our time, will help us re-imagine the way we see ourselves and our communities through The Huntington’s wide-ranging collections in art, botanical science, and the library.” Als will join a community of research fellows sponsored by The Huntington’s Research division.

As a fellow, Als will research, conceive, and develop an exhibition and public programs that will draw on The Huntington’s art, history, literary, and botanical collections. The fellowship runs the course of calendar year 2023, with potential future projects to be realized in later years, and it will be offered on an annual basis.

This fellowship continues Als’ relationship with The Huntington beyond “The Hilton Als Series,” a trio of British contemporary art exhibitions that he curated in collaboration with the Yale Center for British Art and exhibiting artists Celia Paul, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and Njideka Akunyili Crosby. The final installment, which features Akunyili Crosby, will be on view in the Huntington Art Gallery from Feb. 15 through June 12, 2023.

“I am honored to continue collaborating with The Huntington through this fellowship,” Als said. “The Huntington’s multidisciplinary holdings are unparalleled and invite exploration across scholarly fields, as well as soul-searching of a vast scope.”

In addition to the “Hilton Als Series,” his curatorial projects include “Joan Didion: What She Means” (Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2022–23); “Toni Morrison’s Black Book” (David Zwirner, New York, 2022); “Alice Neel, Uptown” (David Zwirner, New York, 2017), selected by three of Artforum’s critics as one of the 10 best shows of the year; “Desdemona for Celia by Hilton” (with Celia Paul, Gallery Met, New York, 2015); “Self-Consciousness” (with Peter Doig, VeneKlasen/Werner, Berlin, 2010); and “Cold Water,” an exhibition of paintings, drawings, and videos by performers (with Justin Bond, La MaMa Galleria, New York, 2009).

Als became a contributor to The New Yorker in 1989, writing pieces for The Talk of the Town. He became a staff writer at the magazine in 1994 and a theater critic in 2002. He won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2017 for his work there. Before joining The New Yorker, Als was a staff writer for the Village Voice and an editor-at-large at Vibe. His first book, The Women, was published in 1996. His critically acclaimed book White Girls, which discusses various narratives of race and gender, won the Lambda Literary Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2014. His most recent book, My Pinup (New Directions, 2022), is a nonfiction work exploring desire, Prince, and racism.

Als has received numerous awards and recognitions. Most recently, he was named the 2022 Katie Jacobson Writer-in-Residence by the California Institute of the Arts and received the 2022 Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing. In 2021, he was voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters as well as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Als received the City College of New York’s Langston Hughes Medal in 2018.

Als is a teaching professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and an associate professor of writing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts; he has taught at Yale University, Columbia University, Wesleyan University, and Smith College. He lives in New York City.

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About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens is a cultural and educational institution of global significance. Building on Henry E. and Arabella Huntington’s renowned collections, The Huntington supports research and promotes education in the arts, humanities, and botanical science through the growth and preservation of its collections; the development of a community of scholars, school programs, and partnerships; and the display and interpretation of its extraordinary resources for diverse audiences. The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, California, 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles. Visitor information:


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