The Cincinnati Art Museum is welcoming three new curators. Our art guru sat down with each to learn more about them and their big plans for the future.
The Cincinnati Art Museum has appointed Ainsley M. Cameron as Curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art, and Antiquities; Peter Jonathan Bell as Associate Curator of European Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings; and Nathaniel M. Stein as Associate Curator of Photography.
“Ainsley, Peter and Nathaniel are exciting scholars who are making significant contributions to their respective fields of study,” said Cameron Kitchin, the museum’s Louis and Louise Dieterle Nippert Director. “I am pleased to welcome them to the museum and to Cincinnati, where they will join a collaborative curatorial practice and interpretation team. In concert with our comprehensive strategic plan, the growth of our curators’ research, exhibitions, collections and teaching benefits the entire community.”
Ainsley M. Cameron, Curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art and Antiquities
Dr. Ainsley Cameron is the Cincinnati Art Museum’s new Curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art and Antiquities. In this position, she will oversee acquisitions and collections from South Asia (a geographic region that includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka), Nepal and the Himalayan region, as well as Iran and Afghanistan. Through lectures, exhibitions and scholarly publications, Cameron will further research on the museum’s permanent collection, as well as liaise with the community with public programming and teaching. Cameron was most recently the Ira Brind and Stacey Spector Assistant Curator of South Asian Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Cameron’s exhibition and catalogue project at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), Drawn from Courtly India: The Conley Harris and Howard Truelove Collection, provided an in-depth foray into the drawing practice at the courts of north India. She was also the curator-in-charge of digital initiatives in the reinstallation and reinterpretation of the PMA’s South Asian art galleries, which opened in October 2016. Previous curatorial appointments included roles at the British Library, the British Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, making Cameron familiar with a wide range of South Asia’s artistic production, especially from the 16th century onwards.
Cameron completed her doctorate at the University of Oxford in 2010. She also holds an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and a BA in Archaeology and History from the University of Toronto.
“This is an opportunity to redefine CAM’s engagement with these collections on a regional, national and international scale, a process I am excited to participate in. I look forward to working with my new colleagues to explore the intricacies of the collection, the institution and this beautiful city,” Cameron said. She begins in Cincinnati in early May.
Peter Jonathan Bell, Associate Curator of European Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings
As Associate Curator of European Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Peter Bell will be responsible for the stewardship and development of the museum’s extensive holdings of European paintings, sculpture and all works on paper excluding prints and photographs. In this role he will lecture and write on art history, curate European art exhibitions and permanent collection galleries, and engage with the community through museum programs and by managing the museum’s Friends of European Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings group.
Bell comes to Cincinnati from the Metropolitan Museum of Art where he is Assistant Curator in the department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. There he has been responsible for Italian and Spanish sculpture, ceramics and glass, and European medals. He has researched and presented these collections, augmented them through acquisition and collaborated on conservation projects.
At the Met he co-curated the exhibitions Antonio Canova: The Seven Last Works (2014) and Tullio Lombardo’s Adam: A Masterpiece Restored (2015), and recently curated Renaissance Maiolica: Painted Pottery for Shelf and Table (2016–2017). He was lead curator for the design, construction and permanent installation of the Met’s Venetian Sculpture Gallery (2015).
Bell is a fellow of the American Academy in Rome. He received his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College in Ohio and a master’s degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. He is expected to complete his doctorate from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, this spring.
“I am thrilled to join the Cincinnati Art Museum and contribute to its impressive record of scholarship, acquisitions and exhibitions. It is particularly exciting to come to this august institution at a time of new growth in exhibitions and programming, and expanding public access and visitor engagement. CAM boasts one of the great collections of European art in the Midwest, one that is known and admired across the world. I look forward to advocating for these paintings, sculptures and drawings—artworks that can be as vital and relevant for Cincinnati today as they were in Europe 500 years ago—and to deepening our understanding of the important traditions they represent.” Bell starts at the end of May.
Nathaniel M. Stein, Associate Curator of Photography
In his role at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Dr. Nathaniel Stein will be responsible for the stewardship, interpretation, and development of the museum’s extensive holdings of photographs. He will curate photography exhibitions, conduct and publish research on works of art in the museum’s permanent collection, engage the community with innovative programming, lead acquisitions and manage the museum’s Friends of Photography group.
Stein comes to Cincinnati from an appointment as the Horace W. Goldsmith Fellow in Photography at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In Philadelphia he organized exhibitions and wrote on internationally established figures Wolfgang Tillmans and Rineke Dijkstra, emerging African-American and Jamaican artists Andre Bradley and Paul Anthony Smith, and contemporary photographers working in or about South Asia, among many other projects. While his curatorial focus is on contemporary photography, Stein has a deep background in the earlier history of the medium. His doctoral dissertation dealt with photography in 19th-century India.
Stein holds a master’s degree and doctorate in the History of Art and Architecture from Brown University and a bachelor’s degree in the History of Art from Wesleyan University. Prior to his position at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, he held fellowships, lectured, performed curatorial roles, and taught the history of photography at institutions including the Yale Center for British Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, and the Rhode Island School of Design.
“I’m thrilled that my family has been invited to join the CAM family, and for the opportunity to get to know Cincinnati’s dynamic photography community,” said Stein. “The museum’s photography program already reflects a history of dedicated curators, collectors and supporters. We’re in a strong position now to continue to honor the core traditions of the medium while also thinking openly and creatively about how to engage with a wider world. I think we can seize the moment, and I’m looking forward to getting started.” He will join the museum in late April.