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Dorothy Moss, Ph.D.

Keynote Speaker

Curator of Painting and Sculpture, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Washington, D.C.

Keynote Speaker

After graduating from Smith College, Dr. Moss earned an M.A. in art history from Williams College and a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Delaware. Her dissertation, “Translations, Appropriations, and Copies of Paintings as the Dawn of Mass Culture in the United States, c. 1900,” examined the shifting critical status of copies of paintings in the United States from 1870 to 1905.

In addition to being the current curator of painting and sculpture at the National Portrait Gallery and the coordinating curator of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, Dr. Moss also directs the National Portrait Gallery’s triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, best known simply as the “Outwin.”

With more than twenty years of experience in exhibitions, acquisitions, art commissions, and scholarship, she directed the first groundbreaking live performance and object-making art series, IDENTIFY: Performance Art as Portraiture of the National Portrait Gallery, and has commissioned new performances by multiple artists.

She serves as one of the curators of the ongoing Portraiture Now series, a part of which was The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now (2017). Her past exhibitions include One Life: Sylvia Plath (2017), and Hung Liu: Portraits of the Promised Land, 1968- 2020 (2021). Currently, Dr. Moss is curating One Life: Maya Lin, which opened in October of 2022 and will run through April 16, 2023.

In February 2020, Dr. Moss co-wrote The Obama Portraits, a book about the creation, unveiling, and continuing inspiration of the National Portrait Gallery’s portraits of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Because Dr. Moss is highly skilled in creative collaboration and media communications, she is a widely published author of original research and commentary; her articles have appeared in numerous publications such as American Art and Gastronomica: The Journal of Food Studies and her work has been featured in click!: photography changes everything, an ever-growing collection of essays and stories about how intertwined photography and modern culture have become.