Adam M. Thomas has been appointed curator of American art at the Palmer Museum of Art. A specialist in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American art, he previously held positions at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
As guest curator at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens from June 2014 through July 2015, he organized a forthcoming exhibition devoted to depictions of hunting and fishing in American painting. He formerly served as the Weisenberger Fellow in American Art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where he curated the exhibition Venetian Views: American Works on Paper.
Thomas holds both master’s and doctoral degrees in art history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, completing a dissertation titled “The Spectral Imagination: American Art between Science and Superstition in the Late Nineteenth Century.” In 2012–13, he was the Douglass Foundation Predoctoral Fellow in American Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. His research has been supported by the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, and he has been involved with a wide range of exhibitions on the East Coast, including at the National Gallery of Art and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Hispanic Society of America in New York. Thomas earned his bachelor’s degree in art history and English at New York University.
His writings have appeared in Bold, Cautious, True: Walt Whitman and American Art of the Civil War Era (2009); Journal of Illinois History (2011); and The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art (2011), among other publications. Recently he contributed an online essay about Whistler to an exhibition at the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Thomas was a visiting lecturer at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts in 2014–15.
Thomas commented, “I'm excited to join the Palmer. I particularly look forward to working with its important collection of American paintings and to contributing to its legacy of producing dynamic American art exhibitions.”