The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., has hired Natalia Ángeles Vieyra to serve as its first associate curator of Latinx art. She will begin in her role on July 1.

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Currently an independent curator, Vieyra is a specialist in Latinx, Latin American, and Caribbean art from the 19th century to today. Her dissertation at Temple University focused on Puerto Rican artist Francisco Oller.

She most recently worked as an associate curator of American art at the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, where she helped the institution secure three acquisitions of 19th-century African American artists. She has also held a fellowship at the Harvard Art Museums and curatorial roles at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

In a statement, Vieyra said, “I am incredibly honored to join the National Gallery of Art at this pivotal moment in its history. I am excited to connect with and inspire Latinx communities through art, and to champion Latinx artists on the national stage.”

At the NGA, Vieyra will join the museum’s modern and contemporary art department, where her focus will be on studying and growing the NGA’s holdings of work by Latinx artists, which currently includes works by as Ana Mendieta, Felix González-Torres, Rupert García, Carmen Herrera, Daniel Lind-Ramos, Freddy Rodríguez, Christina Fernandez, Miguel Luciano, and Martine Gutierrez.

In a statement, E. Carmen Ramos, the NGA’s chief curatorial and conservation officer, said, “We are thrilled to welcome Natalia Ángeles Vieyra as our first curator of Latinx art. The span of Natalia’s scholarship and curatorial practice from late 19th- to early 20th-century Puerto Rican art to contemporary art, is well suited to the National Gallery’s transhistorical collections. As a scholar of Latinx art myself, I look forward to supporting Natalia as she helps deepen our collections and develops projects that illuminate the important ideas and practices of Latinx artists, highlighting their relevance to our world, past and present.”

This new curatorial position at the NGA comes as part of the Advancing Latinx Art in Museums (ALAM) initiative that was announced in February 2023. A partnership between four of the country’s leading philanthropic organizations, the Mellon, Ford, Getty, and Terra foundations, ALAM pooled together $5 million to give 10 US museums $500,000 each to hire curators focused on Latinx art; the NGA’s grant comes via the Getty’s funding.

Of the 10 ALAM-funded roles, five represent newly created positions at institutions, reserved for early-career curators. In April 2023, the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin hired Claudia Zapata as its first associate curator of Latino Art as part of the grant it received through ALAM.

But museums hiring specialists in Latinx art is also part of an increasing trend in the field. Last October, the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio hired Mia Lopez as its first curator of Latinx art.

Ramos added in her a statement, “This is an exciting moment for the National Gallery of Art as we inaugurate a new position that will bring visibility and increase scholarship of Latinx art and help us better serve our national community.”

Portrait of Lena Stringari.
Lena Stringari.
Photo David Heald/©Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York. Copyright: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York. All rights reserved.

Additionally, the National Gallery of Art also announced that it had hired Lena Stringari as chief of conservation, beginning July 14.

Stringari, who is currently deputy director and chief conservator at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, will oversee six conservation departments and a scientific research department that work to preserve the NGA’s collection of some 160,000 objects.

During her more than 30-year tenure at the Guggenheim, Stringari helped establish the museum’s acclaimed Variable Media Initiative in 1999, which helped set a standard for the preservation of media-based works and performance pieces. She also led the 10-year Panza Collection Initiative, which involved conservation and research into works of Minimalism and Conceptualism from the 1960s and ’70s. More recently, she organized conservation-focused exhibitions on works by Jackson Pollock and Eva Hesse.

In a statement, Ramos said, “Lena’s impressive experience in leading complex teams and undertaking major conservation projects and research, as well as her commitment to sustainability and nurturing future generations of conservators, all make her an ideal leader for this role. I eagerly look forward to working with her in support of our talented conservation team and its service to our audiences and the nation.”