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Leslie Anderson Named Director of Collections, Exhibitions, and Programs

Outside view of the museum

Written September 25, 2019

“We’re delighted to have Leslie on board,” said Eric Nelson, National Nordic Museum CEO and Executive Director. “Her specialization in Danish arts, prior experience, and work with Denmark’s National Gallery and University of Copenhagen will be invaluable for our institution. Leslie is perfectly positioned to support and expand our community outreach, exhibitions, and programs.”

The Museum is currently hosting the first North American exhibition of the works of painter Laurits Andersen Ring, the Danish Realist and Symbolist painter. Considered one of the most important Nordic artists of the early 20th century, the collection of Ring’s paintings is on loan from the SMK—Statens Museum for Kunst (The National Gallery of Denmark).

Anderson, a Fulbright Scholar who spent part of her Fulbright year at SMK, pointed out Ring’s paintings portray the everyday life experienced by many European emigrants prior to settling in the U.S. around 1900. 

“It's completely fitting with the Museum’s mission to portray Nordic life, culture, and social justice, and the type of work that we want to develop in the future,” she said.

Anderson has organized several exhibitions which examined European immigration to the American West, one of which earned her the 2018 Award for Excellence from the Association of Art Museum Curators.

“What attracted me to working at the National Nordic Museum is that it offers enduring content for all audiences—the story of Nordic immigration is the story of America,” said Anderson.

In addition to the Fulbright Scholarship, Anderson received research support from the American-Scandinavian Foundation and the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study for her archival and object-based research at the University of Copenhagen, Danmarks Kunstbibliotek (Danish National Art Library), Statens Arkiver (Danish National Archives), and Statens Museum for Kunst. Anderson has held appointments in the curatorial departments at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frist Art Museum (Nashville), and the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida. She taught undergraduate courses at Indiana University’s Herron School of Art and Design, Brooklyn College, and Parsons the New School of Design.

Since 2017, Anderson has served as the Field Editor for West Coast exhibitions for, published by the College Art Association and devoted to the peer review of art exhibitions and art history books. Her own articles on European and American art have appeared in the peer-reviewed journals Norwegian-American Studies, Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art, Journal18, Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, and Rutgers Art Review.