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Meet Seth Pevnick

Meet the new curator of Greek and Roman art
February 22, 2019

In December, following an international search, the museum announced the appointment of Seth D. Pevnick as curator of Greek and Roman art. He will oversee the care and development of the collection of art of the ancient Mediterranean, including the art of Egypt and the Ancient Near East. Working closely with the director and chief curator, Pevnick will identify and recommend works of art to augment the collection. He will also oversee special exhibitions exploring all aspects of art from classical antiquity.

The collections of ancient art at the CMA, spanning nearly 4,000 years of human history (from c. 3200 bc to c. ad 500), are held in high esteem internationally. Many works are of unparalleled quality and importance. Together, the collections comprise more than 1,100 works, encompassing the arts of pre-Christian Europe, the Mediterranean basin, Egypt, and the empires of the Near East and the Levant. A wide range of types of works and media are represented, from small objects of personal adornment to monumental sculpture, with fine examples from many different cultures.

“I look forward to getting to know both the collection and the cultural community of northeast Ohio,” Pevnick says, “and to drawing exciting new connections between antiquity and the present day. I’m inspired by the high quality of the museum’s exhibitions, collections, and publications, and am eager to share in this overall commitment to excellence.”

Pevnick joined the Tampa Museum of Art in 2009 and was the chief curator and Richard E. Perry Curator of Greek and Roman Art; from July 2014 to April 2015, he served as acting director. He curated numerous exhibitions, including Tampa’s major traveling exhibition Poseidon and the Sea: Myth, Cult, and Daily Life (2014–15); Echoes of Antiquity: Revisiting and Reimagining the Ancient World (2015); Animals in Ancient Art (2016); and Patricia Cronin, Aphrodite, and the Lure of Antiquity: Conversations with the Collection (2018).

An active scholar and prolific writer, Pevnick has published widely. Several recent publications include “The Tampa Poseidon = The Shugborough Neptune,” in Collecting and Collectors: From Antiquity to Modernity (2018); “Riders and Victors: Competing on Horseback in Archaic and Classical Greek Art,” in The Horse in Ancient Greek Art (2017); “Red-figure Neck-amphorae with Twisted Handles,” in The Berlin Painter and His World: Athenian Vase-Painting in the Early Fifth Century B.C. (2017); and “Good Dog, Bad Dog: A Cup by the Triptolemos Painter and Aspects of Canine Behavior on Athenian Vases,” in volume 3 of Athenian Potters and Painters (2014).

Pevnick has extensive archaeological fieldwork experience, having served as a consultant on digs in Pieria and Boeotia, Greece; as a trench supervisor and ceramic specialist for four summers at Lofkënd Tumulus, Albania; and as a fieldworker for three summers for the Agora Excavations in Athens.

Prior to Tampa, Pevnick was a curatorial assistant in the Department of Antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa, where he co-curated The Chimaera of Arezzo, a collaborative exhibition with the Republic of Italy. He holds a PhD in archaeology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a BA in classical archaeology from Dartmouth College. The recipient of numerous academic honors, including the John Williams White Fellowship at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (2006–7) and the Graduate Student Poster Award from the Archaeological Institute of America (2009), he most recently was awarded a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome for 2019. 

Cleveland Art, March/April 2019