University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren has announced that Mark A. White, chief curator of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, will serve as interim director of the museum, pending approval of the OU Board of Regents.
White, whose interim appointment will be effective Sept. 3, will serve while a national search is conducted to fill the post being vacated by Ghislain d’Humières, who has resigned to become director of the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky.
“We are very fortunate to have Mark White as a member of our museum staff,” Boren said. “He is extremely capable and will provide interim leadership of the museum, which will continue its significant progress.”
With 15 years of curatorial experience, White is noted for his expertise as Eugene B. Adkins Curator of numerous selected collections, most notably, the James Bialac Native American Art Collection, which numbers in excess of 4,500 objects and contains many of the most prominent Native American artists of the 20th century. White guided the installation of the Eugene B. Adkins Collection Gallery, which spans almost 8,000 square feet and examines the collection of art of the American Southwest through thematic categories that include “The Southwest and the Spirit of Place, “Native American Dance,” and “Abode Architecture in the Southwest.” He also oversaw the reinstallation of the museum after the 2011 Stuart Wing expansion, which encompassed the organization of 25,000 square feet of the museum.
He also curated the popular A Century of Magic: The Animation of the Walt Disney Studios, Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy and, most recently, Libertad de Expresión: The Art Museum of the Americas and Cold War Politics, which opens in October. In addition, he authored the accompanying catalogues for the exhibits. He also has delivered scholarly lectures at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, among others.
White, who taught art history for eight years, earned his doctoral degree in art history at the University of Kansas, where he was a recipient of the Henry Luce Foundation Dissertation Award. His major area of study was 20th-century American painting and sculpture, and his minor areas of study were Native American art and material culture, and 16th-century Venetian painting.
He was one of only six scholars to be selected for a year-long fellowship to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and Research Center in Santa Fe, N.M., in 2003-04 and one of only two scholars selected for the Davidson Family Fellowship to the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2007.