The Menil Collection Director Josef Helfenstein has promoted Michelle White to the role of Curator.
White arrived at the Menil in 2006 (via the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where she was curatorial assistant) as assistant curator and was promoted three years later to associate curator. Said Helfenstein: “In a very short time, Michelle distinguished herself at the Menil by organizing splendid exhibitions, presenting lectures and participating in other programs, and making important contributions to our scholarly publications.”
Notable exhibitions White has organized for the Menil include Imaginary Spaces: Selections from the Menil Collection, Leaps into the Void: Documents of Nouveau Realist Performance, and the recently opened Seeing Stars: Visionary Drawing from the Collection.
She has recently commissioned a new film installation by Leslie Hewitt and Bradford Young.
Working with Menil colleagues Bernice Rose and Franklin Sirmans (former curator of modern and contemporary art, who now holds that title at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art), White organized Vija Celmins: Television and Disaster, 1964-1966; Kissed by Angels: A Section of Works from Southern California; and Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective (co-curated with Gary Garrels), which opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, is currently on view at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and will open at the Menil in March 2012.
In collaboration with Danielle Burns of Houston Public Library’s African-American Library at the Gregory School, White also organized The Whole World Was Watching: Civil Rights Era Photographs from Edmund Carpenter and Adelaide de Menil.
In her expanded role as curator, White will be instrumental in the planning of exhibitions and collection management of the museum’s holdings of works of paper. She will play an active part in the museum’s full slate of lectures, gallery talks, and other public and membership programs.
Crucially, White will also conduct object-based research related to the museum’s collection of modern and contemporary art, as well as initiate and contribute to exhibition catalogues and other Menil publications.
White attended the Slade School of Fine Art at University College, London, and earned her B.A. from the University of California, San Diego and her M.A. from Tufts University (her thesis topic was on Robert Ryman), where she served as teaching assistant in art and architectural history and theory. During those years White also worked as Special Projects Assistant at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and as Print Room Assistant at the Fogg Museum of Art at Harvard University.
White has lectured at the Glassell School of Art, Rice University, Southern Methodist University, and has contributed articles and essays to such publications as Modern Painters, Art Papers, Spot, Dwell, Glasstire, and Artlies (where she served as regional editor from 2004-2009).