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Corrinne Chong & TK Smith Appointed Assistant Curators at the Barnes Foundation

Corrinne Chong appointed as Assistant Curator & TK Smith appointed as Assistant Curator: Art of the African Diaspora

Philadelphia, PA, December 12, 2022—Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President of the Barnes Foundation, today announced the appointments of two new Assistant Curators at the Barnes Foundation, Corrinne Chong and TK Smith.

Corrinne Chong is an art historian, curator, and educator from Toronto, Canada. She served as research consultant for the 2021 Barnes exhibition Suzanne Valadon: Model, Painter, Rebel and has taught Barnes courses including The Nude in France and Hearing Painting, Seeing Music. Prior to the Barnes, she worked in the curatorial department at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, where she developed the 2020 exhibition Delacroix and Faust: The Good, the Bad, and the “Ugly”and served as a key member of the curatorial team for the 2019 exhibition Early Rubens. In addition to her curatorial projects, Chong has taught in public school classrooms for over a decade as part of her commitment to art education and interdisciplinary pedagogy.

TK Smith is a Philadelphia-based curator, writer, and cultural historian. His recent curatorial projects include the 2021 exhibition Roland Ayers: Calligraphy of Dreams at the Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia; the 2021 Atlanta Biennial exhibition Virtual Remainsat the Atlanta Contemporary; and the 2020 exhibition Zipporah Camille Thompson: Looming Chaos at the Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, Georgia. He is a visiting lecturer at Cornell University, where he teaches courses on cultural criticism for the Architecture Art Planning Program, and his writing has been published in Art in America, The Brooklyn Rail, and Art Papers, where he is a contributing editor. In 2021, he was the inaugural writer-in-residence at the Vashon Artist Residency in Washington State and the recipient of an Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. He is currently the 2022–23 Monument Lab writer-in-residence.

“Corrinne and TK bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Barnes curatorial team, and we are thrilled to have them as colleagues,” says Nancy Ireson, Deputy Director for Collections and Exhibitions & Gund Family Chief Curator. “TK and Corrinne are uniquely suited for their roles, with TK’s specialization in the material histories and cultures of the African diaspora, and Corrinne’s deep knowledge of 19th-century French art. Both have robust backgrounds in education, teaching, and critical writing, and will help to shape our exhibitions and publications program as the Barnes enters its second century.”

As Assistant Curators, Chong and Smith will serve as key members of the Barnes’s collections and exhibitions team, developing exhibitions and collection-related content including interpretive materials for use in-gallery and on social media; contributing to publications; and leading a variety of classes, talks, and lectures. They will integrate curatorial content into the Barnes’s broader activities in service of new educational initiatives. Collaborating across departments, they will cultivate new ways for artistic partners, students, and visitors to have enduring and meaningful relationships with the Barnes.

Chong holds degrees in education and art history from the University of Toronto and a doctorate in art history from the University of Edinburgh, where she also pursued Word & Music Studies. Her passion for music has led her to numerous international speaking engagements at venues including the Royal Opera House and the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. Her research interests include intertextuality in 19th-century French art and music criticism, opera scenography, and acousmatic phantasmagoria. She explores these themes in her forthcoming edited volume, Art, Music, and Mysticism at the Fin-de-Siècle: Hearing and Seeing the Beyond (Routledge, 2023). She is also the new books editor for the Association of Historians of Nineteenth-Century Art.

Smith is currently a doctoral candidate in the History of American Civilization program at the University of Delaware, where he researches art, material culture, and the built environment. He received his master of arts in American studies and his bachelor of arts in English and African American studies from Saint Louis University. He has taught several classes at the Barnes, most recently Isaac Julien in Focus in conjunction with the exhibition Isaac Julien: Once Again . . . (Statues Never Die). He has taught museum workshops and lectured at arts institutions in Philadelphia and across the United States, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; St. Olaf College, Minnesota; and Saint Louis University.

The Barnes Foundation is a nonprofit cultural and educational institution that shares its unparalleled art collection with the public, organizes special exhibitions, and presents programming that fosters new ways of thinking about human creativity. The Barnes collection is displayed in ensembles that integrate art and objects from across cultures and time periods, overturning traditional hierarchies and revealing universal elements of human expression. Home to one of the world’s finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern paintings—including the largest groups of paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Cézanne in existence—the Barnes brings together renowned canvases by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and Vincent van Gogh, alongside African, Asian, ancient, medieval, and Native American art as well as metalwork, furniture, and decorative art.

The Barnes Foundation was established by Dr. Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” A visionary collector and pioneering educator, Dr. Barnes was also a fierce advocate for the civil rights of African Americans, women, and the economically marginalized. Committed to racial equality and social justice, he established a scholarship program to support young Black artists, writers, and musicians who wanted to further their education. Dr. Barnes was deeply interested in African American culture and became actively involved in the Harlem Renaissance, during which he collaborated with philosopher Alain Locke and Charles S. Johnson, the scholar and activist, to promote awareness of the artistic value of African art.

Since moving to Philadelphia in 2012, the Barnes Foundation has expanded its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social justice, teaching visual literacy in groundbreaking ways; investing in original scholarship relating to its collection; and enhancing accessibility throughout every facet of its programs.

The Barnes Foundation is situated in Lenapehoking, the ancestral homeland of the Lenape people. Read our Land Acknowledgment.

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Deirdre Maher, Director of Communications
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