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Thelma Golden

Thelma Golden is Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, an art museum founded in 1968 whose mission is to serve as the nexus for artists of African descent locally, nationally and internationally. Golden began her career at the Studio Museum in 1987 before joining the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1988. In a decade at the Whitney, she was a member of the curatorial team for the 1993 Biennial, organized numerous groundbreaking exhibitions including 1994’s Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in American Art, and served as Director of the Whitney Museum at Phillip Morris. She returned to the Studio Museum in 2000 as Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs, and was named Director and Chief Curator in 2005. While at the Studio Museum, Golden has organized many notable exhibitions including Chris Ofili: Afro Muses 1995-2005, Black Romantic, Freestyle, Frequency, Glenn Ligon: Stranger and Gordon Parks: A Harlem Family 1967. Under her leadership, the Studio Museum has gained increasing renown as a global leader in the exhibition of contemporary art, a center for innovative education and a site for diverse audiences to exchange ideas about art and society. Golden holds a B.A. in Art History and African American Studies from Smith College and honorary doctorates from the City College of New York (2009), San Francisco Art Institute (2008), Smith College (2004), Moore College of Art and Design (2003), and was awarded a Barnard Medal of Distinction from Barnard College in 2010. Golden serves as a member of the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, a position she was appointed to by President Barack Obama in 2010, and in 2015 joined the Barack Obama Foundation’s Board of Directors. She serves as the 2015–16 Chair of New York City’s Cultural Institutions Group and was appointed to the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Golden was named a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute in 2008 and is the recipient of the 2016 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence. She is an active lecturer and panelist speaking about contemporary art and culture at national and international institutions, including TED and TEDx conferences. Born in St. Albans, Queens, Golden currently resides in Harlem. Photo Credit: Julie Skarratt

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