The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has announced a watershed moment in its 100-year-history: the appointment of Patricia Marroquin Norby as its first full-time curator of Native American art. Norby, who is Purépecha, will officially join the staff of the institution’s American Wing on September 14.
Norby previously served as senior executive and assistant director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian-New York, and as director of the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry in Chicago.
“I am delighted with this opportunity to return to my fine art roots,” she said in a statement. “Historical and contemporary Native American art embodies and confronts the environmental, religious, and economic disruptions that Indigenous communities have so powerfully negotiated — and still negotiate — through a balance of beauty, tradition, and innovation.”
In 2017, the Met received a significant gift of 91 works of Native American art from trustee Charles Diker and his wife, ranging in date from the 2nd to the early 20th century. The donation marked the museum’s decision to display Indigenous art in its American Wing for the first time and the ongoing integration of Native American material into the institution’s galleries. (Previously, Indigenous works from the US were housed in the Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas galleries.)
“I am deeply honored to join with American Indian and Indigenous artists and communities in advancing our diverse experiences and voices in The Met’s exhibitions, collections, and programs. This is a time of significant evolution for the Museum,” Norby added in her statement. “I look forward to being part of this critical shift in the presentation of Native American art.”