Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art
Katherine “Katie” Jentleson, PhD, joined the High Museum of Art in September 2015 as the Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art. Before she became a curator, Dr. Jentleson worked as an arts journalist in New York. Through her editorial assignments and general experiences at galleries and museums there, she discovered her passion for self-taught artists and their historical legacy in the United States. In 2010, she began her graduate studies in art history at Duke University, where she focused her research on how self-taught artists first “crashed the gates” of the mainstream art world after World War I. In 2020, she published that research as a peer-reviewed monograph titled Gatecrashers: The Rise of the Self-Taught Artist in America, with the University of California Press, and is adapting the project into an exhibition for the High.
Dr. Jentleson is the recipient of awards and fellowships from Duke University, The Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Archives of American Art, and the Dedalus Foundation. She has contributed research and writing to exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, the American Folk Art Museum, the Ackland Art Museum, the Nasher Museum of Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and Prospect New Orleans. Since joining the High, she has overseen half a dozen exhibitions including, most recently, Way Out There: The Art of Southern Backroads (2019) and Paa Joe: Gates of No Return (2020). Under her leadership, the collection has grown by more than four hundred objects, including major acquisitions of work by Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, the Gees Bend quilters, and Henry Church, many of which were debuted in the newly expanded and thematically integrated Folk and Self-Taught Art galleries, which opened to the public as part of the Museum’s 2018 reinstallation.