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Detroit Institute of Arts Names Kenneth Myers Chief Curator. Curators Alan Darr and Salvador Salort-Pons receive promotions

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

July 28, 2009 (Detroit)—The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) announced the appointment of Kenneth J. Myers, curator of American Art and head of the American Art department, to chief curator. Two European art curators were also promoted: Alan P. Darr, Walter B. Ford II Family Curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, to head of the European Paintings, Sculpture and Decorative Arts department; and Salvador Salort-Pons, assistant curator of European Paintings, to associate curator of European Paintings.

“It is a pleasure to announce some good news in these trying times,” said Graham W. J. Beal, DIA director. “The DIA has always attracted top talent and Ken, Alan and Salvador are among the best in their fields.”

Kenneth Myers
Since joining the DIA in 2005, Kenneth Myers has served as curator of American art and Head of the American Art department. He came to the DIA from the Smithsonian Institution, where he was curator of American art at the Freer Gallery of Art. At the Freer, he organized numerous exhibitions focusing on the work of James McNeill Whistler, co-curated the exhibition Mr. Whistler's Galleries: Avant-Garde in Victorian London, and wrote the related book, Mr. Whistler's Gallery: Pictures at an 1884 Exhibition (2003).

From 1985 to 1995, Myers taught at Middlebury College, during which time he wrote the catalog and organized the path-breaking exhibition The Catskills: Painters, Writers, and Tourists in the Mountains, 1820-1895 (1988). After leaving Middlebury, Myers served as assistant director for Research and Publications at the New Jersey Historical Society before joining the Freer Gallery of Art in 1999.

Myers received his Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University, and his doctorate from Yale University. A cultural historian specializing in American landscape painting and the history of arts patronage, Myers is the author of numerous articles including "Frederic Church's Memorials to Thomas Cole" (2008), “Thomas Cole and the Popularization of Landscape Experience in the United States: 1825-1829” (2007), “Art and Commerce in Jacksonian America: The Steamboat Albany Collection (2000), and "On the Cultural Construction of Landscape Experience: Contact to 1830" (1993). Among many awards, Myers has received major fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

At the DIA, Myers led the team that planned the widely praised reinstallation of the museum's esteemed collection of American art. He is currently completing several scholarly essays, and organizing a major traveling exhibition tentatively titled Frederic Church: To the Holy Land and Beyond.

Alan P. Darr
Alan P. Darr has been the DIA’s Curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts since 1980, where he is responsible for over 12,000 medieval through early modern works of art. He completed his Bachelor of Arts at Northwestern University and his doctorate at the Institute of Fine Arts (New York University), specializing in Italian Renaissance and Baroque art and European sculpture. As a Ford Foundation Fellow, he worked in European curatorial departments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Since joining the DIA, he has been a post-doctoral Fellow at the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti in Florence, and the Paul Mellon Visiting Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. He has published and lectured widely in Europe and the United States and has taught at Northwestern University, New York University and Wayne State University in Detroit.
Among the major international exhibitions Darr has organized, as well as developed and co-authored catalogs for, are: The Romantics to Rodin, Italian Renaissance Sculpture in the Time of Donatello; The Medici, Michelangelo, and the Art of Late Renaissance Florence; and Woven Splendor: Five Centuries of European Tapestries in the Detroit Institute of Arts. Other publications Darr organized and co-authored include The Dodge Collection of Eighteenth-Century French and English Art in the Detroit Institute of Arts and the two-volume Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Detroit Institute of Arts. Darr was also lead curator for the museum’s renovation and reinstallation of the European art galleries, which opened in November 2007.

In 2007 Darr received the Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italian Fellowship) from the Italian government for 25 years of contributions to Italian art and culture.

Salvador Salort-Pons
Salvador Salort-Pons was hired in 2008 as assistant curator of European Paintings. Since his arrival, he has been deeply involved in the research and documentation of the Early Italian Paintings collection and continues to work on an updated catalogue of the 14th-, 15th- and 16th- century Italian paintings collection. He is currently co-organizing (in collaboration with other DIA curatorial departments) an in-house forgeries exhibition.

Prior to coming to the DIA, Salort-Pons served as senior curator at the Meadows Museum Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He was also assistant professor at the University Complutense of Madrid and exhibition curator at the Memmo Foundation/Palazzo Ruspoli in Rome, where he co-curated Il trionfo del colore, Collezione Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza (2002) and Velázquez (2001), the first monographic exhibition on the painter ever organized in Italy. He has been a research fellow at University Complutense of Madrid, the Spanish Academy in Rome, the Royal College of Spain in Bologna, the Medici Archive Project in Florence and the Getty Grant Program.

In addition to numerous scientific articles published in exhibition catalogues and art journals, Salort-Pons is the author of two books: Velázquez en Italia, Madrid 2002; and Velázquez, Madrid 2008.

Salort-Pons was born and raised in Madrid, and is fluent in Spanish, Italian, French and English. He holds a Master of Arts in Geography and History (University Complutense of Madrid, Spain), a Master of Business Administration (Cox School of Business, SMU, Dallas) and a doctorate in art history (University of Bologna, Italy).


The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range, and depth.

Programs are made possible with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the City of Detroit.

Contact: Pamela Marcil 313-833-7899