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Annika K. Johnson.

Joslyn Art Museum Appoints Inaugural Associate Curator of Native American Art

The Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska, has named Annika K. Johnson as its first-ever associate curator of Native American art. Johnson hails from the Twin Cities region of Minnesota—which is called Mni Sota Makoce by the Dakota people—and received her Ph.D. in art history from the University of Pittsburgh, where she focused on building relationships with Native communities and employing decolonizing strategies in her research and curatorial practice.

Prior to joining the museum, Johnson was studying Native artworks across the United States and Europe through a 2017–19 CASVA Wyeth Fellowship. She also recently gave lectures on Dakota art and cross-cultural art histories at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, the British Museum in London, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. In 2016 she was coeditor in chief of the art history journal Contemporaneity.

“As a non-Native person, my work here begins with listening and also learning about the collection and Indigenous history of the region,” Johnson said. “Recent efforts to revise and expand the understanding of American art by bringing Indigenous perspectives to the forefront have generated highly provocative and illuminating exhibitions. I am very excited to partner with Native artists and communities to make those critical connections throughout Nebraska and the region.”

The new position was made possible from funding through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which will provide support for the associate curatorship for the next four years. Commenting on the appointment, the museum’s executive director and CEO, Jack Becker, said, Annika “will be a tremendous advocate for Native voices, while making a serious scholarly contribution to our Indigenous collections and programming, and we warmly welcome her to Joslyn.”

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