Makeda Best

Residency Faculty (available for studio mentoring)

Makeda Best is the Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography at the Harvard Art Museums. Her scholarly interests focus on 19th- and 20th-century American photography, with a special interest in photojournalism, documentary, war photography, and text and image works. Recent exhibitions include Crossing Lines, Constructing Home: Displacement and Belonging in Contemporary Art (co-curated with Mary Schneider Enriquez in 2019); Winslow Homer: Eyewitness (co-curated with Ethan Lasser also in 2019); and Time is Now: Photography and Social Change in James Baldwin’s America in 2018. Just last year she published her book Elevate the Masses: Alexander Gardner, Photography, and Democracy in Nineteenth-Century America. Her fall exhibition is Devour the Land: War And American Landscape Photography Since 1970. She holds an MFA in studio photography from the California Institute of the Arts and a PhD in the History of Art from Harvard University.
She is co-editor and contributor to Conflict, Identity and Protest in American Art, which explores the powerful relationship between artistic product and cultures of conflict in the United States. Best earned an MFA at Cal Arts, and an MA and PhD at Harvard University.