NORMAN — With the start of a new semester, the University of Oklahoma’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art will welcome director Emily Ballew Neff to its staff.
A distinguished curator of American art, Neff previously worked as a curator at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston since 1997, where she organized several major, successful exhibitions for American art.
Neff will assume the position at OU vacated by Ghislain d’Humières, who served as director since 2007 and left late 2013 to assume the position of director and CEO of the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky.
Neff said she is excited and honored to join OU’s art museum.
“I first saw the Fred Jones back in 2001, and the Weitzenhoffer Collection was just coming in. ... Just the whole thing was terrific,” Neff said. “To come back many years later and see how it has doubled in size, has a brand new building and has just been growing — and not just growing in terms of numbers or statistics but growing smartly and strategically. All of that is very impressive.
“So, obviously, I want to maintain the excellence that is already there. That’s a great thing. You don’t build excellence overnight.”
Neff has a bachelor’s degree in art history from Yale University, a master’s degree in art history from Rice University and a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.
Neff was chosen to participate as a Fellow at the Royal Collections Study Program (Attingham Trust); the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and Research Center; the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass.; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
She is a recent Fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership in New York City.
Currently, she serves as president of the Association of Art Museum Curators, which has a membership of more than 1,200 in North America.
Read a full interview with Neff in the January NTown.
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