PHILADELPHIA (April 5, 2017) -- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Brittany Webb as Curator of the John Rhoden Collection.
In January, the Academy took over responsibility for more than 275 works by African American sculptor John Rhoden. In addition to Rhoden's artwork, PAFA also received $5 million to fund a curator of the collection, organize a traveling exhibition, publish a major book about the artist and facilitate the placement of his work into major museum collections throughout the United States.
Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Rhoden (1918-2001) specialized in sculpture and public art, was named a Fulbright Fellow in 1951 and had his work displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, to name a few. He is best known in Philadelphia for the landmark sculpture outside the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) on Arch Street.
Rhoden passed away at the age of 82 and was survived by his wife, Richanda, who passed away in 2016. The executor of the Rhoden estate, Robert T. Anker, entrusted PAFA to gain Rhoden his long overdue recognition in the art world and ensure his legacy in the future.
"PAFA is committed to elevating the reputations for artists whose accomplishments have not been fully recognized, often for reasons of race and gender. Through a comprehensive study, traveling exhibition and distribution of his work, PAFA will give John Rhoden the attention he deserves," said David Brigham, President and CEO of PAFA.
Ms. Webb is a Curatorial and Research Assistant at the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) and a doctoral candidate in anthropology at Temple University. Since 2012, she has worked on AAMP's special exhibitions across several genres, including fine art, costuming, textiles and history. Her dissertation research examines black exhibition production and its relationship to the sociopolitical landscape. She is the recipient of the Institute of Museum and Library Services Fellowship in Museum Practice (2012-2014) and holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Southern California.
"Everyone at PAFA is looking forward to welcoming Ms. Webb to the Museum team!" said Brooke Davis Anderson, Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Museum. "Brittany impressed us with her hemispheric point of view around artists of African descent who have worked in the U.S., as well as her interest in elevating the posthumous career of John Rhoden. It is this global discourse that Brittany is committed to sharing with our audiences, in addition to her ambition to excite our audiences about Rhoden, that made her stand out for this new position."
Ms. Webb will join the staff at PAFA on April 24.
Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Thomas Eakins, William Glackens, Barkley Hendricks,Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.