Skip to main content

Lauren Applebaum, Toledo Museum of Art associate curator of American art, to become curator of American art at North Carolina Museum of Art

Lauren Applebaum
Lauren Applebaum

“Lauren Applebaum has been a distinguished contributor to the Toledo Museum of Art, first as a Brian P. Kennedy leadership fellow and then as associate curator of American art,” noted Adam Levine, the Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey director and CEO of TMA. “She helped broaden the narrative of art history though installations, exhibitions and acquisitions; I know she will do the same at the North Carolina Museum of Art.”

Applebaum’s most recent exhibition, entitled Radical Tradition: American Quilts and Social Change, centered the voices and experiences of underrepresented artists – including women; Black, Indigenous, and people of color; immigrants; people from diverse faiths; and LGBTQ+ communities – while also foregrounding a traditionally marginalized medium of artistic expression: quilts and textile-based crafts. Acquisitions she facilitated in the past year include Bisa Butler's quilted portrait of the 19th-century abolitionist and social reformer Frederick Douglass, as well as a group of works by several artists, including Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley and Ronald Lockett, from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation.

“During my time at the Toledo Museum of Art, I have been most proud of deepening the museum's commitment to broadening the narrative of art history, both through exhibitions and new acquisitions. These works tell more inclusive stories that bridge past and present and highlight the complexity of our nation's history,” Applebaum stated. “Having grown up in Toledo, it has been especially meaningful to reconnect with the community over the past several years. The experiences I have had and the outstanding team I have been able to work with have prepared me for this exciting opportunity at the North Carolina Museum of Art.”

Applebaum’s curatorial and research interests concentrate on the visual and material culture of North America, with a particular focus on the intersection of art and craft with histories of technology and communication practices. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a Master of Arts in art history from Hunter College (CUNY) and a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work has been supported by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the Huntington Library and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.