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Carolyn Kinder Carr Named Acting Director of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

January 24, 2008

Deputy director and chief curator Carolyn Kinder Carr has been named acting director of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, effective Jan. 25.

Carr has served as deputy director and chief curator of the museum since 1991; she joined the Portrait Gallery in 1984 as assistant director for collections. During her tenure, Carr has undertaken 10 major exhibitions, including the current exhibition "Legacy: Spain and the United States in the Age of Independence 1763-1864," which demonstrates through portraiture Spain's key role in the American Revolution and the development of the United States. She also co-organized "Retratos: 2,000 Years of Latin American Portraits," an exhibition with more than 100 portraits from 15 countries that spanned the pre-Columbian through the modern eras.

Carr has been instrumental in the acquisition of many objects for the Portrait Gallery's collection, including such major works as Talcott Williams by Thomas Eakins; Mary Cassatt by Edward Degas; Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Duplessis (the image that is on the $100 bill); 60 photographs by Irving Penn; and 75 photographs by Hans Namuth.

From 1978 to 1983, Carr served as chief curator of the Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio, where she organized more than 40 exhibitions. Among them shows of the works of Julian Schnabel, Georg Baselitz, Malcolm Morley, William Merrit Chase, as well as a traveling exhibition of Constantine Brancusi's photographs from the archives of the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Additionally, Carr taught art history at Kent State University and Akron University and served as the art critic for the Akron Beacon Journal.

A graduate of Smith College (1961), Carr received her master's degree in art history from Oberlin College (1965) and her doctorate degree in art history from Case Western Reserve University (1978).

Carr will serve as acting director of the museum while a nine-member committee under the direction of the Smithsonian's Office of the Under Secretary for Art completes the search for a new director. The former National Portrait Gallery director, Marc Pachter, retires at the end of January.

SI-22-2008

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Bethany Bentley
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