Christa Clarke

Project Title

The Object of Friendship: Lida Broner’s South African Collection and Transnational Political Solidarity

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Fellowship Work Summary, 2022–23

Christa Clarke is independent curator and senior advisor at the Center for Curatorial Leadership. Previously, she was senior curator, "Arts of Global Africa" at the Newark Museum of Art, where her work was supported with major grants from the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. During her 16-year tenure at Newark, she organized numerous exhibitions on topics ranging from men’s fashion to Nigerian modernism and established Newark’s significant collection of modern and contemporary African art, including major commissions by Yinka Shonibare CBE, Simone Leigh, and Odili Odita. Clarke also served as the inaugural curator of African art at the Neuberger Museum of Art from 1999–2002 and as consulting curator at Smith College Museum of Art, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Williams College Museum of Art, and the Memphis Brooks Museum.

Active as a scholar and teacher, Clarke has been a research fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harvard University, and the Clark Art Institute, and held visiting appointments at New York University Abu Dhabi, Boston University, University of Pennsylvania, The George Washington University, Drew University and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Her publications include Representing Africa in American Art Museums (2011, coedited with Kathleen Berzock), the award-winning African Art at the Barnes Foundation (2015), Arts of Global Africa: The Newark Museum Collection (2018) and the forthcoming The Activist Collector: Lida Clanton Broner’s 1938 Journey from Newark to South Africa. Clarke was a 2012 Fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership and, from 2017 to 2019, served as board president of the Association of Art Museum Curators, of which she is now a lifetime trustee. She received her BA from the University of Virginia and her MA and PhD from the University of Maryland.

Selected Publications

Representing Africa in American Art Museums

  • Clarke, Christa. The Activist Collector: Lida Clanton Broner’s 1938 Journey from Newark to South Africa. Newark, NJ: Newark Museum of Art, 2022.
  • Clarke, Christa, ed. Arts of Global Africa: The Newark Museum Collection. Newark, NJ: Newark Museum, 2018.
  • Clarke, Christa. African Art in the Barnes Foundation: The Triumph of L’Art Nègre and the Harlem Renaissance. New York: Skira Rizzoli, 2015.
  • Berzock, Kathleen Bickford, and Christa Clarke, eds. Representing Africa in American Art Museums: A Century of Collecting and Display. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011.