Tacoma Art Museum has named Laura F. Fry as the Haub Curator of Western American Art. She will join the museum in April 2013. Fry will create, articulate, and implement a vision for the newly acquired Haub Collection of Western American Art. She will play a central role in the planning and preparation for the opening of the new Haub Galleries, and will shape a new collecting and educational focus for the museum and community.
“We are delighted to welcome Laura to the museum,” said Stephanie A. Stebich, Director of Tacoma Art Museum. “This is a critical position for our museum as we move forward with sharing the Haub Collection with the public. Laura’s confidence, knowledge, and charisma will help lead the charge as we transform Tacoma Art Museum into one of the leading museums in the country featuring Western American Art."
Fry has worked at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, since 2009 as an integral part of the curatorial team who developed the Buffalo Bill Museum’s new 15,000-foot reinstallation of the permanent collection. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center is a world leader in presenting authentic interpretations of the American West, educating and entertaining audiences about the past, present, and future of the West. Fry is collaborating with Western American Art scholar Peter H. Hassrick to create the second edition of the Frederic Remington Catalogue Raisonné, and authoring an essay for the publication that explores the connection between Frederic Remington and William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. She has a research background in Western American Art starting with graduate coursework at the University of Denver and continuing with her work at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Her research has explored how the imagery of the West has helped to shape American history, identity, and myth–from early 19th century through today. Fry’s previous museum positions include the University of Denver’s Myhren Gallery and the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art in Denver.
She will begin her new position by immersing herself in preparations for the new Haub Galleries, including an intensive investigation of the Haub Collection, working with the architects and staff on the designs for the new galleries, crafting an inaugural catalogue of the collection, and creating a robust exhibition and public outreach education plan.
“I am thrilled to become part of the Tacoma community,” said Fry, the new Haub Curator of Western American Art. “The chance to share the vision and passion of the Haub family and to bring the stories and history of Western American Art to the Puget Sound through this extraordinary collection is the opportunity of a lifetime.”
The museum also continues its relationship with Peter H. Hassrick as an advisor on the upcoming Haub Collection projects. He will also play an integral role in working with the museum to create a national advisory committee, which will inform the collection’s exhibitions and educational programming. Hassrick has been advising both the Haubs and Tacoma Art Museum on shaping this transformational gift of art, building funds, and endowment support.
Hassrick’s work as the former long-time director of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and as recent Director of the Denver Art Museum’s Petrie Institute of Western American Art has elevated Western American Art’s scholarship and popular interest. He has emeritus status with both institutions. He is the Founding Director Emeritus of the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. He was also the founding Director of The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. From 1969 to 1976, he was Curator of Collections at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Haub Collection of Western American Art features outstanding works that embrace and elucidate the cultural history of the American West including the work of significant historic Western painters, such as grand manner landscape painters Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran; titans of Western genre, Frederic Remington and Charles Russell; and works by master artists of the Taos School such as E. Martin Hennings and Ernest Blumenschein. The collection also contains works by notable modernist painters, including Georgia O’Keeffe and Kenneth Adams, as well as more contemporary artists such as Tom Lovell, John Clymer, Bill Schenck, and Clyde Aspevig. The works range in date from the 1820s to the present.
This significant donation of iconic works, announced in July 2012, will transform Tacoma Art Museum into one of the leading museums in the country featuring Western American Art. The museum will be the only Pacific Northwest institution to hold a collection of this caliber, and in turn will provide an entirely new dimension of cultural offerings to Tacoma as well as the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest.