Long-time champion of academic museums, Holland Cotter is co-chief art critic and a senior writer at the New York Times. He has received the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art from the College Art Association, and the inaugural award for Excellence in Criticism from the International Association of Art Critics. He has been a Poynter Fellow in Journalism at Yale University, and an Alain LeRoy Locke lecturer at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Cotter has an A.B. from Harvard College; an M.A. from Hunter College of the City University of New York, and an M.Phil. from Columbia University. For many years he was a contributing editor to Art in America, and an editorial associate of Art News.
Many may remember Cotter’s advocacy for academic museums during the Great Recession in the late 2000s in which he used his platform to shed light on the unique and important place of academic museums and collections to American culture amid threats to the unethical deaccessioning of collections as fungible assets to support colleges’ and universities’ budgets. With this year’s conference theme — “Risk and Bravery: Academic Museums Respond” — Cotter will reflect on the special place academic museums of natural history and art have had in his own formative years and consider the role they play in today’s cultural climate.