Past Curators

Past Curators

Over the last decade a number of extraordinary professionals contributed their insight and vision to our programs. Their work ignited our imagination and helped shape the 2014 relaunch of Pen and Brush.

Carol Higgins Clark (Prose Competition, 2007), writer and actress, has starred in television, film, and theater production, including the 1992 television movie A Cry in the Night, based on a novel by her mother, Mary Higgins Clark. She has written four books including Decked which was nominated for both an Agatha and Anthony Award for Best First Novel. Her latest book is Jinxed (Scribner, August 2002). She and her mother wrote He Sees You When You’re Sleeping (Pocket Books, paperback, October 2002). Carol Higgins Clark is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and lives in New York.

Renato Danese served as curator of 20th-century art at the Corcoran gallery of Art in Washington and subsequently was curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Concurrent with his tenure at Baltimore, he was appointed associate director of the visual arts program at the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1978 he left Washington for Los Angeles and opened a branch of Light Gallery until 1980, when Arne Glimcher offered him a position at Pace Gallery in New York. Danese was Director of Pace until 1995, when he became Senior Partner at C & M Arts. He then opened his own gallery, Danese, in 1996. In ‘98, he hired his now-partner, Carol Corey. In 2013, the gallery relocated from 24th Street to a large ground floor space at 511 West 22nd Street.

Roy DeCarava (Photography, 2008) was awarded the prestigious 2006 National Medal of Arts by President Bush at the White House on November 9th. His citation read, “In the midst of the Civil Rights movement, his revealing work seized the attention of our nation while displaying the dignity and determination of his subjects.” DeCarava, a Distinguished Professor of Art at Hunter, has devoted more than 60 years to an extraordinary career as a master photographer and pioneer in the art of photography. Living and working primarily in New York City, DeCarava has been widely praised as the first photographer “to devote serious attention…to the black experience in America” and for the affection for the people and places of his hometown of New York which are so evident in his work. DeCarava has been the subject of 15 solo exhibitions. His work is in collections at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He was also the first African American photographer to win a Guggenheim Fellowship. (Text Credit: Hunter College Faculty Profile) For more information please visit:

Bina Sarkar Ellias (Transitions, 2010) is the founder and editor of International Gallerie Magazine, an award-winning global arts and ideas publication from India. Since 1997, she has been committed to generating critical awareness and understanding of cultures through visual arts, performing arts, essays, and poetry, with features on communities and people, cinema and photography. Each issue ofInternational Gallerie Magazine explores either a country or an idea that connects global cultures. Ellias is also a freelance writer and social observer, having written for newspapers such as The Times of India Sunday Review, the Indian Express, and The Hindu. She edited Fifty Years of Contemporary Indian Art, 1997, for the Mohile Parikh Centre for Visual Arts, Mumbai. She has designed catalogues as well as designed, edited and published books for artists, poets and photographers. Her chapbook of poems, The Room, was published by AarkArts, UK. She has given talks and chaired discussions on art at events in India and overseas.

Aaron Frankel (Playwriting Competition, 2007) has directed over 100 musicals and plays, some twenty of them new, in addition to collaborating as a writer both on and off Broadway. He has also taught at ten universities, including Columbia University and the New School, where he has led a musical theater writing workshop for more than thirty-five years. For more information, visit

Peggy Garrison (Poetry Competition) earned her MA in creative writing from the City College of New York. She teaches creative writing workshops at New York University. She is the author of Ding the Bell, a book of poems illustrated by Lesley Heathcote (Poetry New York 1999) and has had two other books of poetry published: Charing Cross Bridge and other Poems (P&Q Press 1998) and with David Quintavalle With Candor (P&Q Press 1998). Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, among them The Literary Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, South Dakota Review, Global City Review, Mudfish, Slant, Heliotrope, Barrow Street and Home Planet News. In 1993 she received the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable Award for Sustained Achievement.

Stacy C. Hollander (Craft, 2009) is senior curator and director of exhibitions at the American Folk Art Museum. She has served as curator of numerous exhibitions including “Kaleidoscope Quilts: The Art of Paula Nadelstern” (2009); “The Seduction of Light: Ammi Phillips | Mark Rothko Compositions in Pink, Green, and Red” (2009); “Asa Ames: Occupation Sculpturing” (2008); “White on White (and a little gray) (2006); “Surface Attraction: Painted Furniture from the Collection” (2005); “Blue” (2004); “Talking Quilts” (2004); and “American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum (2001, with catalog). She has been cocurator with Brooke Anderson of “Folk Art Revealed”; “American Anthem: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum” (2002, with catalog); and co-curator with Howard Fertig of “Revisiting Ammi Phillips: Fifty Years of American Portraiture” (1994, with catalog). Hollander lectures and publishes widely. She received her B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University, and her M.A. in American folk art studies from New York University.

Kenneth Hutter (Is It Fine Art? Does It Matter?, 2011) was chief executive officer of Tepper Galleries, Inc. Founded in 1937, Tepper Galleries was a multi-generalizal auction house with unique expertise in mid-market antiques, jewelry and paintings. Kenneth is a second-generation auctioneer and appraiser with over 35 years of experience in this industry, specializing in auctions of fine and magnificent jewelry, antique and modern furniture, paintings and decorative arts, and antiquities.

Jennifer Elhardt (Is It Fine Art? Does It Matter?, 2011) is an auction house management professional experienced in appraisals and cataloging. She developed and implemented successful and record-setting auctions as the head of the jewelry department at Tepper Galleries, and prior to that worked for the Madison Avenue gallery, Florian Papp. Jennifer has a background in Art History and Fine Art Photography. Click here to visit Kenneth Hutter Auctions.

Deborah Jack (Full Circle, 2008) is an artist whose work is based in video/sound installation, photography, painting, and text. Her current work deals with trans-cultural existence, memory, the effects of colonialism and mythology through re-memory. Her work was included in the 2007 Brooklyn Museum Exhibition Infinite Island: Contemporary Art. She has published two poetry collections, The Rainy Season (1997) and skin (2006). Her poetry has appeared in The Caribbean Writer and Calabash and she has recited her work in the Caribbean, United States, South Africa and the Netherlands. Awards and honors include a Caribbean Writers Institute Fellow, University of Miami, Prince Bernard Culture Fund grants, University of Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Fellowship, Photography Institute-National Graduate Seminar Fellow, Lightwork Artist-in-Residence, Syracuse University, CEPA Exhibition Award, New York Foundation of the Arts SOS grant, and a Big Orbit Gallery Summer Residency. Her work has been exhibited in St. Martin, the United States, and Europe. Jack is also a member of art collective the Evolutionary Girls Club. Her work is part of the Lightwork collection, the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech University, the collection of the Island Government of St. Martin and several private collections. Deborah Jack is an Assistant Professor of Art at New Jersey City University.

Daile Kaplan (Photography, 2009) is vice president and director of photographs at Swann Galleries, Inc., New York City’s oldest specialty auction house, where she is also an auctioneer. She is photographs expert on “Antiques Roadshow” in addition to appearing on the History and Discovery Channels, HG-TV, Art-TV, and Plum-TV. Ms. Kaplan has written extensively about vernacular photography and visual literacy, and is a collector of decorative and functional 3-d folk objects highlighted with photographs. She coined the term “pop photographica” to describe this new genre. Ms. Kaplan is the author of Pop Photographica, Photography’s Objects in Everyday Life 1842-1969 (Toronto, Canada: The Art Gallery of Ontario, 2002). In addition she wrote a monograph about the Roaring ‘20s photographer Albert Arthur Allen entitled Premiere Nudes (Sante Fe: Twin Palms Publishers, 2001) and two books about America’s pre-eminent photojournalist, Lewis W. Hine. She’s on the Board of Directors of the Appraisers Association of America, the Alexia Foundation, Fifty Crows Foundation and is a member of ArtTable.

Pamela Koob (Spring Brush, 2008) Pamela Koob has been the Curator of the Permanent Collection of the Art Students League of New York since 1998. She holds an M.A. degree in Art History from Hunter College, City University of New York, and a B.A. degree in Literature from Stanford University. At the League she has organized exhibitions on “Why the Nude? Contemporary Approaches” and “Out There—Non-Traditional Approaches and Media.” Ms. Koob also curated major travelling exhibitions on highlights from the League’s collection. She has published articles on Edward Hopper, Giorgio De Chirico, and the League’s History.

Michelle Kort (Body Image, 2010) is a longtime Los Angeles journalist and author, currently the senior editor of Ms. magazine and co-editor of the Ms. Blog. She has written three books, including the biography Soul Picnic: the Music and Passion of Laura Nyro (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2002). She also has a background in arts history and nonprofit arts management (B.A. and M.B.A. from UCLA), doing an internship at the Whitney Museum in New York and administering two nonprofit art centers in Los Angeles early in her career.

Jerelle Kraus (First Response, 2009) is a Fulbright scholar, fine artist, writer, and illustrator. She held the position of art director of the New York Times for 30 years; thirteen years of which she art directed the Op-Ed and Editorial pages. She has also served as art director at Time, Ramparts, and Franics Ford Coppola’s City magazines. Ms. Kraus has won three New York Times publisher awards, and has written articles for The New York Times, The New Yorker, City, and Printmagazines and was a contributing writer to the book, “Artists in the Making” (Seminar Press, New York and London). Her most recent book, All the Art That’s Fit to Print (And Some That Wasn’t): Inside the New York Times Op-Ed Page, was published by Columbia University Press. With many of her own illustrations published on Op-Ed and elsewhere, Kraus’s visual art work has been exhibited and placed in private collections internationally, and has been reviewed in publications such as Art News. Fluent in four languages, she was educated at Swarthmore and Pomona Colleges l’École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. She received an MA from The University of California, Berkeley. Her website is

Ellen J. Landis (Sculpture, 2009) is the Curator at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ. Grounds For Sculpture is a 35-acre public sculpture park dedicated to promoting an understanding of and appreciation for contemporary sculpture through an evolving permanent outdoor collection, and seasonal exhibitions. Ellen J. Landis’ professional experience also includes her tenure as Curator of Art at The Albuquerque Museum, Assistant Curator of Exhibitions and Publications at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Curator for private collectors B. Gerald Cantor and Robert Gore Rifkind, as well as Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Baltimore Museum of Art. She has originated over 100 exhibitions.

Joanna Rothbard (Craft, 2008) is the co-owner of An American Craftsman galleries in New York City; Stockbridge, MA; and Savannah, GA. She is also the executive director of American Art Marketing, which for over 20 years has produced art fairs across the country from Rockefeller Center to The Berkshires Arts Festival in Great Barrington, MA. In her unique career, Ms. Rothbard has organized art shows and owned galleries while simultaneously exhibiting in art fairs across the country with her husband Richard. For more information, visit and

Morley Safer (In the News, 2008) was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the 2003 George Polk Memorial Career Achievement Award from Long Island University. He also received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards’ first prize for domestic television for his insightful report about a controversial school, “School for the Homeless” (February 2001). Safer’s newsmaking reports and interviews have been honored with numerous other awards, including 12 Emmys, three Overseas Press Club Awards, three George Foster Peabody Awards, two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, two George Polk Memorial Awards and the Paul White Award from the Radio/Television News Directors Association (RTNDA). In 1995, he was named a Chévalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. One of war reporting’s finest hours was Safer’s 1965 piece from Vietnam in which he showed U.S. Marines burning the village of Cam Ne. The pivotal broadcast, on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, helped change America’s view of the war and change war reporting forever. As a CBS News correspondent, Safer has written and been the principal reporter on numerous documentaries, including the CBS Reports series. In May 1994, he hosted “One for the Road: A Conversation with Charles Kuralt and Morley Safer,” a CBS News special marking Kuralt’s retirement. Prior to joining CBS News, Safer was a correspondent and producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He began his career as a reporter for a variety of newspapers and wires in Canada and England.

Edward J. Sullivan (In Your Dreams, 2009) is professor of art history at New York University (Institute of Fine Arts and Department of Art History). He also serves as Dean for the Humanities. Sullivan received his PhD from NYU and is the author of over twenty five books and exhibition catalogues. His research interests center around the Iberian world in its largest extension: Spain, Latin America and the Philippines. He has also cu rated many exhibitions for such institutions as The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Guggenheim Museum (New York and Bilbao) and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Monterrey, Mexico. The world history of the Surrealist movement is of particular interest to him and when asked by the Pen and Brush to formulate a theme for an exhibition, “In Your Dreams” came to him, as he says, “in an almost unconscious way!”

Peter Trippi (Fall Brush, 2007) is president of Projects in 19th-Century Art, Inc., the firm he established in 2006 to pursue a range of research, writing, and curating opportunities. In 2006 he also became an editor of the bimonthly magazine, Fine Art Connoisseur ( after serving three years as director of New York’s Dahesh Museum of Art. He also worked at the Brooklyn Museum of Art for five years and the Baltimore Museum of Art for four years. In 2002, Phaidon Press (London) published Trippi’s monograph J W Waterhouse, which reassesses the Victorian painter and Royal Academician best known for his Lady of Shalott at Tate Britain. Trippi is now guest-curating a Waterhouse retrospective that will open at the Groninger Museum (Netherlands) in 2008, then visit London’s Royal Academy and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Trippi co-founded the peer-reviewed, scholarly journal Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide ( and serves on the board of Historians of British Art. He received a B.A. in history and art history from the College of William and Mary; and M.A. in visual arts administration from NYU; and an M.A. in art history from Courtwald Institute of Art, London.

Margaret Kelly Trombly (Brush, 2009) is a Creative Arts Executive specializing in curatorial work, teaching and museum administration. A seasoned corporate manager, she has built credibility and an excellent reputation for her unique ability to blend creative and aesthetic taste with astute business acumen. Until recently, Ms. Trombly oversaw The Forbes Collection and Galleries in New York City for over 30 years. Her career has been distinguished by the numerous domestic and international exhibitions she has mounted featuring the magazine’s world-renowned collections of fine art, Fabergé objets d’art, American manuscripts, and vintage toys and games. She has also lectured and written extensively about the collection. Known as a leading authority on the history of corporate art collections and best practices in the art advisory industry, Margaret Trombly is past President of the National Association for Corporate Art Management (now the International Association for Professional Art Advisors). In 2001, she was honored with the organization’s Third Annual Award for Excellence in the Field of Corporate Art Administration. Ms. Trombly has taught art business at Sotheby’s Institute M.A. program and at S.U.N.Y. Master of Arts program in Gallery and Retail Art Administration at The Fashion Institute of Technology. She has developed innovative curriculums treating the history and practices of corporate art collections, the role of public art in contemporary society and the psychology of collecting. Ms. Trombly received her Master of Arts from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. She resides in New York City with her artist husband.

Midori Yoshimoto (Art into Life/Life into Art, 2009) is an associate professor of art history and gallery director at New Jersey City University. Her exhibitions include, Yoko Ono: Imagine Piece (2008), and For My People: The Art of Elizabeth Catlett (2006). She specializes in Japanese avant-garde art of the 1960s. Her publications include: Into Performance: Japanese Women Artists in New York (2005), which interweaves art and life of five Japanese women artists including Yoko Ono and Yayoi Kusama; an essay in Zen’ei no Josei 1950-1975 (2005); and entries in Yes Yoko Ono (2000). She is currently editing an issue of Women and Performance on “Women and Fluxus” and co-editing a volume of Positions on “Collectivism in the 20th century Japanese art.” Yoshimoto serves as the Chair of CAA’s Committee of Women in the Arts.