Laura J. Allen
Curator | Scholar | Writer
Based in New York City, I am currently the Curator of Native American Art at the Montclair Art Museum and formerly a Curatorial Associate in the Division of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History. My interdisciplinary background includes anthropology, design and design history, and the natural sciences.
I focus on the material and natural worlds of the Americas, particularly Indigenous and intercultural dress and textiles, past and present. My curatorial approach is collaborative. I strive to activate museum collections through (re)connection with communities of origin and inspire critically engaged museum audiences.
I'm a scholar of the Native Northwest Coast and Alaska. My research addresses themes such as intercultural exchange, colonialism, and Indigenous agency; animal materials; and the collection, circulation, and display of cultural objects and designs.
Recent Exhibition Projects
Selected Research & Publications
New Perspectives in Native American Art History; Univ. of Oklahoma | Nov 7, 2020:
"Northwest Coast Native Idioms in Midcentury Modernisms: Tracking the Sea-Bear"
Textile Society of America Symposium | Oct 17, 2020:
"An Uncommon Ammunition Case: Interpreting 'Transitional' Textiles
and Social Worlds in Nineteenth-Century Tlingit Alaska."
» Winner, Founding Presidents Award
Bard Graduate Center M.A. Symposium | Jun 12, 2020:
"Fashioning the Northwest Coast: 200 Years of Indigenous Dress"
» Winner of the Horowitz Foundation for the Arts Award
Native American Art Studies Association Meeting | Oct 3, 2019
(with Meghann O'Brien):
"'Ancient Couture' and the Northwest Coast"
Conference of the Council for Museum Anthropology | Sep 20, 2019
(with Aaron Glass):
"Reflections on The Story Box:
Remediating Franz Boas in a (Meta)Collaborative Exhibition"
Site ©2022 Laura Allen. Photo: T. Scales.