Since being hired as director in September, 2010, William R. Valerio has dramatically revitalized Woodmere Art Museum’s mission to concentrate on art created by Philadelphians. In particular, recent exhibitions at the Chestnut Hill museum have restored public awareness of artists who, for one reason or another, are today either underappreciated or forgotten.
When I was in high school, students were almost entirely ignorant of the fact that the Americas were already densely populated when Columbus bumped into the island of Hispaniola in 1492. Some of these civilizations, particularly the Aztecs, the Maya, and the Inca, were as sophisticated as any pre-Columbian European cultures, in some instances more so.
The most exciting art season in years is upon us, with the opening this weekend at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts of a major survey of Henry Ossawa Tanner's landmark career and an exhibition of Vincent van Gogh's nature paintings just around the corner at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Besides contemporary art, his particular interests are photography, American art of the 19th Century and crafted art of all periods and cultures. Before becoming a critic, he taught college-level writing and worked as a graphic designer.