The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Henry F. Skerritt to its new position, Curator of the Indigenous Arts of Australia.
Skerritt is an art historian, and curator hailing from Perth in Western Australia. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh under Professor Terry Smith. His dissertation is titled “When Time’s Arrows Collide: Historical Critique in Indigenous Contemporary Art.” Skerritt holds Master’s degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Melbourne, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Australia. Most recently, he curated the exhibition Yimardoowarra: Artist of the River which opened at the Embassy of Australia in Washington D.C. in January, and is currently on view at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection through August 21.
Henry Skerritt edited the books Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia (2016) and No Boundaries: Aboriginal Australian Contemporary Abstract Painting (2015), both published by Prestel Publishing and the Nevada Museum of Art, and was a consulting curator on the touring exhibitions of the same names. Skerritt has written extensively on Aboriginal art and culture, including contributions to the publications Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art in Australia (Harvard Art Museums, 2016); Ngarra: The Texta Drawings (Mossenson Art Foundation, 2015); Double Desire: Transculturation and Indigenous Contemporary Art (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2014); Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art (Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2012); and Menagerie: Contemporary Indigenous Sculpture (Object: Australian Centre for Contemporary Craft and Design, 2009). Skerritt’s writings have also appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including The Journal of Curatorial Studies, Pacific Arts, Artlink, Art Monthly Australia, Art Guide Australia, Meanjin, and Artist Profile.
This new position is part of a major collaboration between the Kluge-Ruhe Collection, the Fralin Museum of Art and the College of Arts and Sciences funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. As Curator of Indigenous Arts of Australia, Skerritt will curate exhibitions of Aboriginal art at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection, lead research and teaching initiatives at UVA using the collection’s holdings, and develop a new residency program for visiting Australian scholars, artists and curators.
“Henry’s areas of curatorial expertise and scholarly interest align perfectly with the strengths of the Kluge-Ruhe Collection. The new teaching and research initiatives that he is spearheading will distinguish UVA as a center of excellence for the study of Indigenous art,” said Dr. Margo Smith AM, who has been Director and Curator of the museum since it opened in 1999. Smith will continue as Director of the museum.
Henry Skerritt will move to Charlottesville in July from Pittsburgh with his wife, Lydia Lange, and his children, Gabriel and Audrey. He will be present at the museum’s Night at the Museum event on August 18 from 5 – 9 pm to meet museum members and visitors.