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MFA appoints new fashion curator

theo tyson, who starts Nov. 1, ‘ideally suited’ to help develop the museum’s vision of inclusion

The Museum of Fine Arts has appointed theo tyson as its new Penny Vinik Curator of Fashion Arts.
The Museum of Fine Arts has appointed theo tyson as its new Penny Vinik Curator of Fashion Arts.Frances Neyra Claudio

The Museum of Fine Arts announced Thursday that theo tyson will be the new Penny Vinik Curator of Fashion Arts, concentrating on the MFA’s collection of 20th- and 21st-century fashion, part of the museum’s contemporary art department.

Previously a Polly Thayer Starr Fellow in American Art at the Boston Athenæum, tyson assumes her new role on Nov. 1.

Reto Thüring, who chairs the MFA’s department of contemporary art, said in a statement that tyson’s work grapples with gender, identity, class, and sexuality, among other themes, making her “ideally suited to further the [d]epartment’s goal of developing broad and inclusive narratives.”

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“I strongly believe that we have found an amazing new colleague,” he continued, “someone with the ability to build on the past successes and strong reputation of the fashion collection and program at the MFA, while also being able to take the position into exciting new territory.”

As curator of fashion arts, tyson will be responsible for mounting exhibitions and stewarding the museum’s supporter-driven Fashion Council, while also working with colleagues to develop an inclusive vision for the collection and diversify its holdings.

Having worked in the fashion industry for two decades, tyson holds a master’s degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design. During her Starr fellowship, she curated the 2019 exhibition “(Anti)SUFFRAGE,” and she is currently co-curating an upcoming exhibition of works by South African artist Zanele Muholi at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

“I am beyond thrilled to join the MFA,” tyson said in a statement. “I am grateful for the opportunity to champion the art of community through fashion.”


Malcolm Gay can be reached at malcolm.gay@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @malcolmgay.