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Lauren Tate Baeza Appointed Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art

February 1, 2021 | Kevin W. Tucker

Lauren Tate BaezaLauren Tate Baeza joined the High Museum of Art in November as its Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art. Baeza will oversee the African Art department, including related exhibitions and programs, as well as its collection of more than 1,100 objects dating from ancient through contemporary times. The holdings reflect the continent’s deep, rich history and contemporary innovations and include extraordinary examples of masks and sculpture alongside exceptionally fine textiles, beadwork, metalwork, and ceramics.

As a scholar, Baeza has researched African political and economic phenomena through the lens of cultural geography, specifically examining the spatial history of food culture and artistic practices within the continent and across the Atlantic. Baeza holds a Master of Arts in African Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles; a Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies with a Cultural Studies concentration from California State University, Northridge; and a certification in curatorial studies from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

Prior to joining the High, Baeza was Director of Exhibitions at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta (2018–2020). Baeza maintained the Center’s two ongoing installations in its American Civil Rights Movement and Global Human Rights Movement galleries and organized sixteen temporary exhibitions and installations, including Fragments, a collaboration with celebrated designer Paula Scher, featuring passages from Dr. King’s handwritten speeches and letters. An advocate for the efficacy of art to address some of the world’s most challenging issues, Baeza presented artist panel discussions at the Center and led the #artforequaldignity social media campaign to ensure inclusion of artists alongside politicians and human rights experts in social justice work.

From 2018 to 2020, Baeza also curated the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, featuring approximately ten thousand items, and managed the James Allen and John Littlefield Collection. Prior to joining the Center for Civil and Human Rights, she served as executive director of the APEX Museum in Atlanta.

“This is a very exciting time for the field,” said Baeza. “There are numerous incredibly talented artists living and working on the continent with increasing visibility. I look forward to creating a dialogue between their work and the impressive artifacts in the High’s African Art collection. I’m honored to join such a sharp curatorial team and to meaningfully contribute to a premier arts institution in my hometown.”

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