Christa Clarke, a specialist in historic and contemporary African art, is Senior Curator, Arts of Africa and the Americas, and Curator, Arts of Africa, at the Newark Museum. She received a B.A. in English and Art History from the University of Virginia, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Maryland, writing her dissertation on the collecting and display of African art at the Barnes Foundation. Prior to her appointment at Newark in 2002, Clarke served as the Curator of African Art at the Neuberger Museum. She has been a fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Clark Art Institute and held teaching appointments at George Washington University, the Corcoran School of Art, Rutgers University, Purchase College and Drew University. Clarke’s publications include Representing Africa in American Art Museums: A Century of Collecting and Display (co-edited with Kathleen Berzock; 2010; second printing in 2013), which examines the impact of museum practice on the formation of meaning and public perception of African art. She is currently working on a major publication for the Barnes Foundation on its collection of African art.
At Newark, Clarke has organized several exhibitions, including Power Dressing: Men’s Fashion and Prestige in Africa (2005), Another Modernity: Works on Paper by Uche Okeke (2006), Embodying the Sacred in Yoruba Art (2008) and Partytime: Re-imagine America, a Centennial Commission by Yinka Shonibare MBE (2009). She is overseeing a major expansion and reinstallation of the African art galleries at Newark planned for 2015 and an accompanying collections catalogue, a project that has received significant support from the NEH and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Clarke has served on the boards of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA) and the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. She is currently a Trustee of the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) and serves on the Museum Committee of the College Art Association (CAA). Clarke is a consulting editor for African Arts, a quarterly journal published by UCLA. In 2012, she was a fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership, a program dedicated to expanding the leadership capacity of curators to meet the challenges of the 21st century museum.