Join the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s head curator, Randall Griffey, as he discusses Alice Neel’s 1967 painting The Black Boys, on loan to the Stanley from the Tia Collection in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Griffey, who co-curated the blockbuster exhibition Alice Neel: People Come First, which opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2021, will share insights into Neel’s work and career and discuss how this exhibition helped the Met widen and diversify its audience.
Randall Griffey is the new head curator for the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Prior to joining the Smithsonian in July 2022, he served for nine years as curator of modern and contemporary art for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition to Alice Neel: People Come First, Griffey also recently curated Reckoning with Modernism, part of the expansive sesquicentennial exhibition Making The Met, 1870–2020 (2020). He organized, in close collaboration with the Cree artist Kent Monkman, the groundbreaking Great Hall Commission mistikôsiwak (Wooden Boat People) (2019–2021), a monumental diptych addressing the history and issues of the colonization of North America that became part of the Met’s permanent collection. His efforts at the Met substantially increased the representation of women and artists of color in the collection through major reinstallations and reinterpretations of permanent collection galleries.
Previously, Griffey was a curator of American art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri (1999–2008) and curator at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College (2008–2011), where he also served as head of curatorial affairs in 2012. He completed the Center for Curatorial Leadership program in 2016. He has spoken publicly on a wide range of topics and has written extensively for scholarly and museum publications. Currently, Griffey is a member of the advisory council of the Renee & Chaim Gross Foundation.