We mourn the passing of Dr. Janet Kaplan, former Director of Moore's Curatorial Studies program

  • Dr. Janet Kaplan


It is with deepest sorrow that we share with you the news that on Friday, December 12, Art History faculty Professor and Curatorial Studies Director, Dr. Janet Kaplan passed away.

We will honor Professor Kaplan  by hosting a remembrance to honor her here at Moore in the spring semester at a date to be determined.  Dr. Kaplan was beloved and respected by many artists and scholars in the Philadelphia community and beyond.  She will be deeply missed by the students and those who teach and work at Moore. 

Dr. Kaplan had a long and fruitful career at Moore College of Art & Design.  She began teaching at Moore in 1980 as an Assistant Professor, promoted to Associate Professor in 1987 and to full Professor in 1993.  Dr. Kaplan received tenure in 1987 and served as the Chair of Liberal Arts from 1989 to 1996. Professor Kaplan served as the Executive Director of the Art Journal for the College Art Association in New York City from 1995 to 2002. The Art Journal was the winner of the Utne Award for Independent Magazine Publishing in 2002.  Dr. Kaplan was instrumental in the planning and development for the Curatorial Studies major, working in collaboration with Dr. Maureen Pelta, Chair of the Liberal Arts department, the Liberal Arts faculty and Academic Dean to develop curriculum for the nation’s first undergraduate Curatorial Studies program that successfully launched in fall 2006. 

Throughout her teaching career Dr. Kaplan also taught at NYU, Institute of Fine Arts as a Visiting Professor and Graduate Colloquium; Vermont College as a graduate faculty in the MFA in Visual Arts program; and at the University of New Hampshire. She served as a moderator, panelist and speaker at regional, national and international conferences and symposia on a wide range of topics related to art criticism, artist responses to social issues, women and surrealism, media spectacle and the politics of representation.  She was a leader in generating dialogue about women in the arts, organizing symposia including a 2000 symposium at The National Museum of Women in the Arts and 3 Curatorial Conversations here at Moore including “Curating and Activism: An International Panel and Conversation” in 2009. These Curatorial Conversations were supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and through the support from Frances and Bayard Storey.  Dr. Kaplan published widely on modern and contemporary art. Her essays and interviews have been published in numerous national and international art journals. She frequently wrote book reviews for art journals including one on Whitney Chadwick’s book on Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement. She is the author of Remedios Varo: Unexpected Journeys, an important internationally known scholarly work, published in multiple languages.

In 2001, Dr. Kaplan received a Fellowship in Arts Criticism from the Pennsylvania Council for Humanities and in 2003 she received a Special Opportunities Stipend from the Pennsylvania Council for Humanities. Professor Kaplan served on the advisory board,  consultant and/or review panelist for numerous organizations and institutions including the School of Art at Carnegie-Mellon University; the Arts Advisory Board of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority; the Rosenbach Museum and Library; NEA grants panel in 2001 for Visual Arts Creativity and Organizational Capacity; review panelist for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund in 1998; the Advisory Board for the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, 1997-99; and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum –Varian Fry Project.  In 2012, she co-curated an exhibition fo the work of artist Ashley Hune in Sinop, Turkey. 

Dr. Kaplan gave back to the Moore community through her extensive service to the College and to the community.  In addition to the institutions and organizations where she served in an ongoing capacity, she frequently participated in citywide and College organized events. She moderated panels organized by The Galleries at Moore in conjunction with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and served as a panelist at the Free Library of Philadelphia for one film/one book events. Recently, Dr. Kaplan had an essay published in 70 x 7 The Meal, act XXXIV, Lucy + Jorge Orta, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, 2013.  Moore College of Art & Design is proud to have had the honor of Dr. Kaplan’s service, teaching and scholarship; she will be missed by her colleagues, her students and the staff at Moore.

Link to obituary here

Published on December 15th, 2014