Curatorial Conversations

Curatorial Conversations

Georgia Erger with Tracy Fitzpatrick and Diedra Harris-Kelley

In advance of the Frye’s presentation of Romare Bearden: Abstraction, please join us for an online panel discussion about the artist and exhibition. Romare Bearden: Abstraction is the first exhibition to fully explore Bearden’s significant body of abstract work created between 1952 and 1964.    

Georgia Erger, Associate Curator, Frye Art Museum 
Tracy Fitzpatrick, Director, Neuberger Museum of Art 
Diedra Harris-Kelley, Co-Director, Romare Bearden Foundation 

About the Panelists 

Georgia Erger is Associate Curator at the Frye Art Museum. Previously, she held the position of Assistant Curator at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, where she curated solo exhibitions including Claudia Rankine and John Lucas: Situations and Caroline Monnet: Bridging Distance, as well as group and collections-based exhibitions including Hyper Text: The Video Essay and the Expanded Field of Audiovisuality, Visual Citizenship, and Nature Morte. During her tenure, Georgia also assisted in the organization of other major exhibitions and accompanying catalogues, such as The Edge of Things: Dissident Art under Repressive Regimes; David Lamelas: Fiction of a Production; and Michigan Stories: Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw. Prior to joining the MSU Broad in 2017, Georgia was a Curatorial Fellow at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where she curated a year-long series of exhibitions and public programs for the Hawn Gallery. She holds an MA (Distinction) in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art and a BA in Art History and English from the University of Toronto.  

Tracy Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., is director of the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY. She oversees the articulation and execution of the Neuberger’s strategic vision in collaboration with its Board of the Friends and Purchase College in keeping with the museum’s values, vision, and mission. In her capacity as an associate professor in art history in the undergraduate program and the Masters Degree Program in Modern and Contemporary Art, Criticism and Theory at Purchase College, SUNY, she has combined curatorial work with curricular initiatives, organized exhibitions, and taught in the areas of modern art and museum studies. Recent exhibitions curated by Fitzpatrick include Romare Bearden: Abstraction (2017); American PeopleBlack Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s (2010), and Hannah Wilke: Gestures (2008). Author of books and scholarly articles, she edited and was the main essayist for the Neuberger’s first permanent collection catalogue, When Modern Was Contemporary: The Roy R. Neuberger Collection (2014). Her book, Art and the Subway: New York Underground (Rutgers University Press) was released in May 2009. Fitzpatrick serves on the New York State Board of Regents Advisory Council for Museums. She is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of Academic Museum and Gallery, the American Association of Museums, and the College Art Association.

Diedra Harris-Kelley is currently Co-Director of the Romare Bearden Foundation, the non-profit organization perpetuating the legacy of one of our greatest American visual artists. She offers a unique perspective on Bearden’s work being a formally trained painter, and niece of the artist’s late wife, Nanette Rohan Bearden, and acts as its chief researcher. For the last 12years, she has been part of the team leading the foundation through a successful run of exhibitions, publications, educational and celebratory programs around the life and art of Bearden. 

Harris-Kelley earned a BA from California State University, Long Beach, and an MFA from University of Michigan. She currently teaches a seminar course at Barnard College, and has taught studio art at New York University, Parsons School of Design Studio Program, and for alternative high school and elementary school programs; as well as conducting professional development workshops and lectures on art. She was a member of the curatorial team of Jazz at Lincoln Center from 2009 to 2012; and is the author of “Revisiting Romare Bearden’s Art of Improvisation,” published in Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies (Columbia University). 

Harris-Kelley’s own artwork has been published, and recently shown in a solo exhibition at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Arts, Snug Harbor, Staten Island; and for the Studio Museum in Harlem’s Winter 2018 Postcard series, her entry “Playhouse Collage with Monk-118th St” highlighted Minton’s jazz club. 

As a cultural leader she’s participated on committees with the Harlem Semester initiative of Barnard College, the Wallach Gallery of Columbia University, and the Harlem Cultural Collaborative that spearheaded the Harlem Renaissance 100 initiative. She was also a founding board member of 5Plus Ensemble, a dance company promoting the work of older dancers.

Romare Bearden: Abstraction is organized by the American Federation of Arts and the Neuberger Museum of Art of Purchase College, State University of New York. The exhibition is curated by Tracy Fitzpatrick, Director, Neuberger Museum of Art.

The national tour of Romare Bearden: Abstraction is sponsored by Morgan Stanley.

The presentation at the Frye Art Museum is organized by Georgia Erger, Associate Curator. Generous support for the installation at the Frye is provided by the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, the Frye Foundation, and Frye Members. Media sponsorship is provided by The Seattle Times.

Curatorial Conversations

Georgia Erger with Tracy Fitzpatrick and Diedra Harris-Kelley

Collage of an abstracted pair of people in bright colors by Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden. La Primavera, 1967. Various papers with fabric, paint, ink, and graphite on fiberboard. 44 x 56 in. Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio Museum Purchase, Derby Fund from the Philip J. and Suzanne Schiller Collection of American Social Commentary Art 1930–1970. © Romare Bearden Foundation / VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Courtesy American Federation of Arts

June 16, 2022

5 – 6 pm


Frye members are invited to listen, learn, and engage with curators, artists, and the creative community in our members-only virtual series.

  • Quarterly program 
  • 5:00–5:45 pm live discussion followed by 15 minute Q+A

*This event is a benefit for current Frye Members only. Not a member yet? Join today and register for this event.