Chief Curator
Gail Stavitsky Headshot
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Dr. Stavitsky has worked at the Montclair Art Museum (MAM) since 1994. She oversees the Curatorial Department and stewards the American Art Collection. Recognized as a scholar of American modernism, Dr. Stavitsky curated and served as the primary author for Matisse and American Art (2017), the first exhibition and catalogue to examine the profound impact of the French master upon American artists from 1907 to the present. She led the curatorial team for Cézanne and American Modernism (2009), the first exhibition and publication to examine fully the influence of Paul Cézanne upon modern American artists from 1907 to 1930. Dr. Stavitsky also curated the first comprehensive retrospective of Will Barnet’s work in 2000 and wrote the accompanying catalogue, Will Barnet: A Timeless World.

Recent exhibitions curated by Dr. Stavitsky include vanessa german:...please imagine all the things i cannot say...(2023) as well as George Inness: Visionary Landscapes, and Tenacity & Resistance: The Art of Jerry Pinkney (both in 2022). Among many other MAM exhibitions, she also curated Conversion to Modernism: The Early Work of Man Ray (with Francis Naumann, 2003), Precisionism in America 1915 - 1941: Reordering Reality (1994), Roy Lichtenstein: American Indian Encounters (2005), Reflecting Culture: The Evolution of American Comic Book Superheroes  (2007), and Philemona Williamson: Metaphorical Narratives  (2017), all of which had companion catalogues. She also co-curated, with Laurette McCarthy, The New Spirit: American Art in the Armory Show, 1913 in 2013 and co-authored the catalogue.

Previously, Dr. Stavitsky served as curator for exhibitions at the Carnegie Museum of Art, The New York Public Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Grey Art Gallery at New York University. She has written extensively for numerous publications and holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts–New York University.

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Laura J. Allen leads research, stewardship, exhibition, and community relationships for MAM’s historical and contemporary Native American Art collection.

Since her appointment in 2021, she has curated Meryl McMaster: Chronologies (2023) and served as the hosting curator for From My Home to Yours: Caroline Monnet and Laura Ortman (2022) and Color Riot! How Color Changed Navajo Textiles (2021). She has also organized and co-organized numerous gallery activations and rotations, performing arts presentations, internal workshops, and public programs at MAM.

In 2020, Allen received her M.A. in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture from Bard Graduate Center with a focus on critical and collaborative museological practice. Her research and publications examine visual and material culture of the Northwest Coast as well as Indigenous and intercultural dress, fashion, and textile history in the Americas. Themes in her work include Indigenous agency and resurgence; colonialism; materiality and material analysis; and the collection, circulation, and display of cultural objects and designs.

Previously, Allen served as the Curatorial Associate in the American Museum of Natural History’s Division of Anthropology for the reinstallation of its Northwest Coast Hall. Allen has also supported the University of Alaska Museum of the North, the State Museum of Pennsylvania, the Penn Museum, Columbia University, and other organizations in research and writing, exhibition and media development, and community engagement for projects on the Indigenous Americas. Her work has received awards from the Textile Society of America and Bard Graduate Center, among others.

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