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Chair of the Art of Africa and the Americas and Curator of Pre-Columbian and Native North American Art
Susan E. Bergh has served as curator of the Pre-Columbian and Native North American collections at the Cleveland Museum of Art since the fall of 2000. Having reinstalled the collections shortly after her arrival, in 2013 she completed a second reinstallation as part of the museum’s extensive expansion and renovation project.
During her tenure at the museum, Bergh has also overseen the acquisition of a number of Mesoamerican, Andean, and Native North American objects and textiles. In addition, she organized the exhibition Wari: Lords of the Ancient Andes, which appeared in Cleveland in the fall of 2012 before traveling to the Museum of Art/Fort Lauderdale and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. The show, the first in North America to focus on the Wari, was accompanied by a 300-page catalogue that Bergh edited and for which she wrote five essays. She also served as in-house curator of The Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection, an exhibition organized by the Fenimore Art Museum that appeared in Cleveland in 2010.
Bergh began her career in New York City, where she earned her BA in art history from New York University and her MA and PhD from the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. While in New York, she served as assistant curator in the Department of African, Oceanic, and New World Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where, among other things, she co-curated the reinstallation of the museum’s large ancient Andean textiles collection. She also served as a research assistant in the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she assisted in the organization of two exhibitions: Jade in Ancient Costa Rica and Native Paths: American Indian Art from the Collection of Charles and Valerie Diker. Her academic positions have included an assistant professorship in the Department of Art History at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and adjunct professorships at Case Western Reserve University, which offers a joint program in the history of art with the Cleveland Museum of Art, as well as at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and The Cooper Union in New York City.
Bergh has lectured and published on topics within her research specialty, the arts of the ancient Andes. Her efforts have been supported by awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Getty Foundation, Dumbarton Oaks of Harvard University, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others.