March 4, 2024

The San Diego Museum of Art Appoints Curator of Photography Kara Felt, Ph.D.

Kara Felt, Curator of Photography
Kara Felt, Ph.D., Lawrence S. Friedman Curator of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego, CA. (March 2024) – The San Diego Museum of Art welcomes Kara Felt, Ph.D., as the Lawrence S. Friedman Curator of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art, starting March 27. In her new role, Felt will oversee the institution’s photography and new media collection, and related research and exhibitions for the Museum’s galleries over two sites in Balboa Park, which include those of the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art. She will also develop and champion the Museum’s touring photographic exhibitions.

The Museum’s photography collection contains approximately 15,000 works, with strengths in Modern American, European and Latin American photography, as well as contemporary photography. Highlights include in-depth holdings of work by Berenice Abbott, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Esther Bubley, Martín Chambi, Bruce Davidson, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Mary Ellen Mark, Gjon Mili, Arnold Newman, and Wang Xingsong, among many others. The collection also includes important video installations by Cauleen Smith and Christian Marclay. Recent photography donations include works gifted by the artists Holly Roberts and Bill Armstrong.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kara to The San Diego Museum of Art and to our regional arts community,” said Roxana Velásquez, Executive Director and CEO at The San Diego Museum of Art. “We are confident she will play an essential role in researching and bringing exciting photography and new media exhibitions to the galleries and continuing to expand the Museum’s collection.”

Felt joins the institution from the Denver Botanic Gardens where she curated multiple exhibitions including Tanya Marcuse: Laws of Nature and acted as in-house curator for the traveling show Ansel Adams: Early Works. In 2023 she curated This Is Britain: Photographs from the 1970s and 1980s at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where she served as the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow in the Department of Photographs from 2017 to 2021. Felt has held curatorial roles in several major photography departments, including at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the New York Public Library, and has taught at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and Metropolitan State University of Denver. She received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where her dissertation Priests of the Sun: Photography and Faith, 1860-1910 was supported by the Peter E. Palmquist Memorial Fund, the Joan and Stanford Alexander Award, and a research fellowship at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London. She holds a B.A. with distinction in the history of art from Yale.

“It is a true honor to join The San Diego Museum of Art in this new role at an exciting moment of growth in light of its recent merger with the Museum of Photographic Arts,” said Felt. “I look forward to collaborating with colleagues, artists, and the broader San Diego community to expand the narratives of photography together—especially by drawing on the Museum’s outstanding collection and California’s vibrant artistic landscape.”

About The San Diego Museum of Art

Providing a rich and diverse cultural experience, The San Diego Museum of Art houses some of the world’s finest art. Located in the heart of Balboa Park, the Museum’s internationally renowned collection of more than 32,000 works—dating from 3000 BC to present day—includes Spanish and Italian old masters, the Edwin Binney 3rd Collection of South Asian paintings, East Asian art, art of the Americas, Modern and Contemporary art, and the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art (MOPA@SDMA). The Museum regularly features major exhibitions of art from around the world, as well as extensive cultural and community engagement programs for all ages. The San Diego Museum of Art hosts experiences that invite visitors to explore art through music, dance, film, food, and so much more. At The San Diego Museum of Art, exhibition text is always in English and Spanish.

The San Diego Museum of Art is located at 1450 El Prado in Balboa Park, San Diego, CA, 92101.

General Information: (619) 232-7931, Group Sales: (619) 696-1935

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