UK Art Museum announces Rachel Hooper as Curator

After an extensive and rewarding search process, the University of Kentucky Art Museum and the College of Fine Arts are pleased to announce that Rachel Hooper will start her new position as the Museum’s Curator on August 12, 2024.

Director Stuart Horodner, echoing the sentiments of the Museum staff and the search committee, states, “Rachel impressed us all, and she brings a wide range of curatorial and educational experience as well as a personal warmth and intelligent energy. She has a historically grounded point of view, knowledge about experimental photography, and excellent writing and presentation skills. We are all excited to work with her, and I have no doubt that she will hit the ground running and help us continue achieving our mission on campus and beyond.”

Her appointment represents a homecoming for Hooper, whose responsibilities include curating diverse exhibitions, organizing the Robert C. May Photography Lecture Series, and helping to shape the permanent collection of approximately 5000 objects. She writes, "I first fell in love with art sitting cross-legged in front of Julien Dupré’s In the Pasture on a school field trip to the UK Art Museum, and the quality of the museum's programs are a particular point of pride for me as a seventh-generation Kentuckian. I am honored to join a dedicated museum staff as they produce exhibitions of international significance at Kentucky's flagship institution."

Hooper received her B.A. in Art History from St. Olaf College, her M.A. in Art History from Williams College, and her Ph.D. in Art History from Rice University. She was Associate Curator and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fellow at the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston from 2007-2011; and was a Visual Arts Curatorial Fellow at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis from 2006-2007. From 2018 to the present, she has taught courses on modern and contemporary art at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA.

Her research on museum history has been supported by the Brown FoundationLuce Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies, and the American Philosophical Society. She was recently awarded two prestigious fellowships; she will be a summer scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study at Indiana University with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and has been named a Robert L. McNeil Jr. fellow at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and Library Company of Philadelphia. Both of these are in recognition of her scholarship on Black-owned art collections in the U.S. Civil War era and will allow for researching up-to-date methods for presenting historical collections to museum visitors. Hooper is a member of the Association of Historians of American Art (2013–present) and the College Art Association (2008–present).

About the Museum:

The University of Kentucky Art Museum, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, promotes the understanding and appreciation of art from diverse cultures and historical periods, providing meaningful encounters for audiences of all ages. Through our temporary exhibitions, educational programs, and permanent collection of approximately 5000 objects, we are a resource for the campus community and a cultural destination for citizens of the Commonwealth and beyond.  Our Free Admission policy removes any financial obstacle that might stand in the way of opportunities for contemplation and connection. We are proud to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, meeting standards for excellence and professional practices.

Created 06/11/2024
Last Updated 06/11/2024