Alisa LaGamma

Alisa LaGamma


CCL Class of 2010


The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Ceil and Michael E. Pulitzer Curator in Charge Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Institution at time of Fellowship

The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Michael Conforti, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Vishakha Desai, Asia Society and Museum

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.