Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture
National Portrait Gallery
Brandon Brame Fortune graduated from Agnes Scott College and received an MA and PhD in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked at the National Portrait Gallery since 1987, currently as a curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture. Her primary research areas have been in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American portraiture, including the work of Charles Willson Peale and women portraitists of the later nineteenth century. In 1999, Fortune was co-curator of the exhibition Franklin & His Friends: Portraying the Man of Science in Eighteenth-Century America and author of the accompanying publication. For the last six years she has been researching contemporary portraiture, and she was the galleryâ€™s coordinator for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2006. She is currently working on the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2010 and is a co-curator for an upcoming exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, Portraiture Now: Communities.
Leanne Mella is a specialist in American contemporary art. Among the exhibitions she has organized is, most recently, The Prisonerâ€™s Dilemma for the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation. From 2001 to 2008, Mella served as the manager of International Visual Arts Programs at the U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, where she managed the presentation of U.S. art and artists in cultural exchange programs and major international exhibitions. From 1994 until 2001, she directed CrossCurrents, a cultural exchange program she founded. Notable CrossCurrents projects included the exhibition Along the Frontier: Ann Hamilton, Bruce Nauman, Francesc Torres, and Bill Viola at the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg. Mella has organized exhibitions and consulted for leading institutions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art; the New York State Council on the Arts; the New Museum of Contemporary Art; the Film Society of Lincoln Center; the Open Society Institute and Pro Arte, St. Petersburg, Russia; the Video Data Bank of the Art Institute of Chicago; Arts Electronica, Linz, Austria; the Finnish Art Academy, Helsinki; and the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles. She is a 2009 recipient of the Asian Cultural Councilâ€™s Japan Research Fellowship. Leanne Mella is the consulting curator for VSA's exhibition Revealing Culture.
North Dakota Museum of Art
Laurel Reuter was born and raised on the Spirit Lake Dakota Reservation in North Dakota. She is the founding director and chief curator of the North Dakota Museum of Art, a contemporary art museum that is recognized nationally for (1) the strength of its exhibition program, (2) groundbreaking human rights exhibitions, (3) responsiveness to its community, (4) involvement with international artists long before it was usual, and (5) the commissioning of landmark works of art anchored in the landscape, history, and culture of the Northern Plains. Reuter has curated countless exhibitions, ranging from Light and Shadow: Japanese Artists in Space (1992) to The Disappeared (2005) and, most recently, Shared Histories (2010). Her publications include Whole Cloth and Marking the Land: Jim Dow in North Dakota. Among her awards are the Award of Distinction from the National Council of Art Administrators (1999), an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of North Dakota (2007), and a $50,000 Curatorial Research Award from the Andy Warhol Foundation (2008).