President Bloom's Charge to Robert Storr '76
Robert Storr, you have built a stunning career as a maker of art, a scholar of art history, and a visionary critic of contemporary work.
The child of two Swarthmore graduates — Richard Storr, Class of 1937, and Virginia Vawter, Class of 1938 — you studied here with professor of Art History Headley Rhys and graduated from Swarthmore in 1972 with high honors in French and History. You went on to study painting at the Boston Museum School and Harvard University and earned an M.F.A. in Art from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1978.
You entered the art world first as a painter, and then as a critic for Art in America. During the 1980s, you added teaching to your repertoire, garnering distinction through your studio and art history courses at, among others, the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU, the Rhode Island School of Design, Tyler School of Art, and the University of Pennsylvania. In 1990, you were invited to serve as Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Twelve years later you were named the Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at the Institute of Fine Arts of NYU, and in 2006 you moved to your current position as Dean of the Yale School of Art. You presently serve as well as Consulting Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Your paintings have been exhibited in the finest galleries in New York and are included in the collections of the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City and of the MOMA in New York.
You have authored dozens of catalogues and monographs; and your articles and art criticism populate leading art journals such as Art in America, Grand Street, and Artforum; and the pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Village Voice.
Your seminal work, Modern Art Despite Modernism, explores with depth, complexity and brilliant observation the social, political, and historical forces, and the artistic precursors, which have shaped modernist art.
You have curated scores of internationally celebrated exhibitions and, most influentially, in 2007, directed the Venice Biennale, the world's oldest and most prestigious exposition of international contemporary art. The French government named you "Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres" and this past year New York Magazine cited you as one of "The Most Influential People in Art."
Robert Storr, you are a gifted teacher, scholar, artist, curator, and arts administrator who has helped shape the course of contemporary art and culture, and whose remarkable articles, books, paintings, and exhibits have brought the breadth, the beauty, and the insight of contemporary art to an admiring world. Your College takes the deepest pride in the knowledge, sensibility, talent, and passion you developed here, and the impact you have made through sharing them in your life and work.
Upon the recommendation of the faculty, and by the power vested in me by the Board of Managers of Swarthmore College and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I have the honor to bestow upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.