Ceil and Michael E. Pulitzer Curator in Charge Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
Alisa LaGamma’swork has been instrumental in rethinking the history of sub-Saharan African art and culture. In 2012 the Bard Graduate Center recognized her work with the Iris Award for Outstanding Scholarship. LaGamma’s Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures publication received the 2012 International Tribal Art Book Prize. In 2007 the Association of Art Museum Curators recognized the publication for her exhibition Eternal Ancestors: Art of the Central African Reliquary as among the profession’s outstanding exhibition catalogues. Her 2008 exhibition The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End addressed historical continuities between classical forms of expression from sub-Saharan Africa and the work of leading contemporary artists from the region.
A 1988 graduate of the University of Virginia, LaGamma received her MA and PhD in art history from Columbia University. Her 1995 dissertation: “The Art of the Punu Mukudj Masquerade: Portrait of an Equatorial Society” was based on a year of fieldwork in southern Gabon. Born in the Congo, LaGamma has traveled widely in sub-Saharan Africa and lived in Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Nigeria, Togo, and South Africa. She has taught as a visiting professor in the art history departments at Columbia University, Rutgers, the University of Pennsylvania, and New York University’s Institute of Fine of Fine Arts and is a member of the editorial board of the journal African Arts. From 2009-10 she served as Chair of the Metropolitan’s Forum of Curators, Conservators, and Scientists.