High Museum hires Lauren Tate Baeza as African art curator

Credit: Gabriela Arp

Credit: Gabriela Arp

The High Museum of Art has chosen Lauren Tate Baeza as its new curator of African art, the museum announced Tuesday.

Baeza most recently was the director of exhibitions at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. The Atlanta native will start her tenure as the Fred and Rita Richman curator of African art on Nov. 9, and she already is making plans to build relationships with contemporary artists currently creating in Africa.

“This is a very exciting time for the field,” said Baeza in a statement. “There are numerous incredibly talented artists living and working on the continent with increasing visibility. I look forward to creating a dialogue between their work and the impressive artifacts in the High’s African art collection. I’m honored to join such a sharp curatorial team and to meaningfully contribute to a premier arts institution in my hometown.”

In selecting Baeza, the High is looking to her to guide and expand the museum’s programming, exhibitions, and collections of African art. The museum has roughly 1,100 examples of African art from metalwork, carvings, and masks, to beadwork, textiles, and ceramics. The collection spans from antiquity to the present.

“Lauren’s depth of experience in not only museums but also community organizations focused on education and outreach, and her considerable accomplishments as a curator, scholar and leader, make her uniquely positioned to guide the future of our African art department,” Rand Suffolk, director of the High said in a statement. “We look forward to working with her to further our efforts to build a robust exhibition program and exceptional collection of African art that will continue to resonate with the High’s diverse audiences.”

While with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Baeza served as the curator of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection and as manager of the James Allen and John Littlefield Collection. She has also served as executive director of the APEX Museum on Auburn Avenue, one of the only museums in Atlanta dedicated to telling the story of the African American experience in America as well as the history of the “Sweet Auburn” district where the museum is located.

Baeza holds a Master of Arts in African studies from the University of California, Los Angeles; a Bachelor of Arts in Africana studies with a cultural studies concentration from California State University, Northridge; and a certification in curatorial studies from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.