Katherine Jentleson

Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art

Katherine “Katie” Jentleson

Katherine “Katie” Jentleson, PhD, is the Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Her most recent exhibitions, Gatecrashers: The Rise of the Self-Taught Artist in America and Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe, opened to the public in Atlanta in fall 2021 and began national tours in 2022. Since joining the High, she has overseen more than half a dozen exhibitions and grown the collection by more than five hundred objects, including major acquisitions of work by Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, the Gee’s Bend quilters, and Henry Church, many of which debuted in the newly expanded and thematically integrated Folk and Self-Taught Art galleries as part of the Museum’s 2018 reinstallation. Her exhibitions and collection-based initiatives have been awarded major support from Bank of America, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Art Bridges Foundation, and the Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation.

Before she became a curator, Dr. Jentleson worked as an arts journalist in New York. Through her editorial assignments and general experiences at galleries and museums there, she discovered her passion for self-taught artists and their historical legacy in the United States. In 2010, she began her graduate studies in art history at Duke University, where she focused her research on the rise of self-taught artists during the interwar period. During her graduate career she received awards and fellowships from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Archives of American Art, and the Dedalus Foundation, and she contributed research and writing to exhibitions at the American Folk Art Museum, the Ackland Art Museum, the Nasher Museum of Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and Prospect.3 New Orleans. Dr. Jentleson adapted her dissertation into a peer-reviewed book Gatecrashers: The Rise of the Self-Taught Artist in America (University of California Press, Spring 2020) and the High Museum of Art’s 2021 exhibition of the same name.

Watch Katie’s TEDx Talk, “Where Does Great Art Come From?”
Recorded April, 2017

Watch Katie’s Lecture, “Curatorial Exhibition Introduction: Gatecrashers & Nellie Mae Rowe”
Recorded August, 2021