SAN MARINO, Calif.—The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens announced today the appointment of Lauren Cross as the new Gail-Oxford Associate Curator of American Decorative Arts. Cross is a curator, interdisciplinary artist, and critical scholar whose research has focused on American decorative arts and material culture with a special emphasis on African American traditions. She comes to The Huntington from the University of North Texas, where she held the position of assistant professor and program coordinator of interdisciplinary art and design studies.
Cross has curated or co-curated several important museum exhibitions, including, most recently, “Black Every Day: Photographs from the Carter Collection” (2022) at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and “The Right to Herself” (2020) at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado. In 2013, she founded the nonprofit arts organization WoCA Projects, which aims to highlight and support women artists of color and diversify the contemporary art landscape through exhibitions and community arts programming.
“Lauren joins The Huntington with a wealth of curatorial expertise and a deeply multidisciplinary perspective,” said Dennis Carr, The Huntington’s Virginia Steele Scott Chief Curator of American Art. “Her insights and experience will be key as we continue to highlight underrepresented voices and grow our American decorative arts collection in a way that is more representative of the diversity of decorative arts across American history.”
Cross’ curatorial career started in 2010 when she directed and produced the documentary The Skin Quilt Project, which explored the intersections of skin color politics in African American quilting traditions. The film was featured in the 2010 International Black Women’s Film Festival in Berkeley, California, and exhibited around the country. As a result of that film, she curated the traveling exhibition “The Skin Quilt Project: Uplifting Our Culture, Celebrating Tradition.”
As the Gail-Oxford Associate Curator, Cross will develop programs and propose acquisitions, engage in exhibitions and research projects, foster public engagement, and help broaden the collection to include more works by artists of color. Working from The Huntington’s outstanding collection strengths in American folk art, Arts and Crafts, Greene and Greene, and Colonial-era material, Cross will help grow previously underrepresented areas of the collection and shift to a more hemispheric context by highlighting the global exchange between the Americas, Asia, and Europe.
“I have always admired the range and quality of The Huntington’s decorative arts collection. At the same time, I am thrilled to join the team at this important moment to help build out areas of the collection and fill important gaps with respect to representation,” Cross said. “I’m looking forward to creating new stories with the Gail-Oxford collection and working collaboratively with curators at The Huntington to help visitors—both on-site and online—better understand and appreciate the nuances of American decorative arts.”
Cross earned a Ph.D. in multicultural women’s and gender studies from Texas Woman’s University; an M.F.A. in visual arts from Lesley University; and a B.A. in art, design, and media from Richmond, the American International University in London; and she studied photography and media arts at the University of Texas at Arlington. Her current research project aims to highlight the history of African American fiber art traditions and contemporary contributions by American artists of African descent.
Cross assumed her role at The Huntington in January.
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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: huntington.org.