Gregory Galligan, PhD, is Director and co-founder [with Patri Vienravi, RA, LEED AP] of the THAI ART ARCHIVES (TAA), an independent, heritage-preservation institute located at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC). The TAA’s dual regional and global mission focuses on the recovery, study, preservation, cataloguing, and exhibition of Thai modern and contemporary artists’ ephemera, such as documents, photographs, drawings, sketchbooks, diaries, printed matter, and related materials (see http://www.thaiartarchives.mono.net).
Formerly based in New York for over twenty-five years (1982–2010), Galligan is a widely published art historian and independent curator who received his doctorate from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (2007). His doctoral dissertation, The Cube in the Kaleidoscope: The American Reception of French Cubism, 1918–1938, examines the multi-faceted—and at times quirky—adaptations of French Cubism by abstract painters in the United States during the interwar period. Galligan’s mentors at the IFA/NYU included Kirk Varnedoe and John Elderfield, both former chief curators of the Department of Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Galligan also studied extensively under the eminent Feminist art historian Linda Nochlin, and he maintained a strong secondary concentration in Islamic Art and Architecture under scholar Priscilla Soucek.
Originally trained as a classical concert pianist, Galligan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Musicology from the Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester). Upon graduation from Eastman, Galligan set aside pursuing a career in music and went on to earn two Master’s degrees at New York University—in European History and, subsequently, Art History—while writing throughout the 1980s and 90s as a professional art critic for numerous publications, among them Arts Magazine, Art International, Art Asia Pacific, and Art in America. He also taught art history intermittently at New York University and the City University of New York (Hunter College). During his doctoral studies he also directed, as chief curator, the Morgan Russell Archives & Collection Enhancement Project for the Montclair Art Museum (NJ), managing an in-house staff of seven museum and archival specialists and administering a two-year budget of $95,000 USD, while reporting directly to the chief curator, the museum director, and finance and program officers of the Henry Luce Foundation. Upon the project’s completion in 2006, it was praised by the Museum and the Foundation for not only setting but well exceeding the highest standards of its kind. Residual outcomes included important publications presenting new discoveries, two attendant exhibitions, and a proposal for a second round of research and funding. Upon completion of the Morgan Russell Project, Galligan participated in contributing research to the exhibition The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; he also wrote for the catalogue of Cezanne and American Modernism, for the Montclair Art Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Phoenix Art Museum.
Galligan has written on Southeast Asian contemporary art for over fifteen years for ArtAsiaPacific and Art in America, and he now focuses on Thailand. A recent Fulbright Senior Research Fellow to Thailand (2010), Galligan is based in Bangkok, where he lectures on Thai modern and contemporary art, curatorial and museum studies, and Russian artistic heritage and visual culture. Galligan has also recently co-curated, with Gridthiya Gaweewong, [Montien Boonma]: Unbuilt/Rare Works, at the Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok (2013), and curated Thresholds: Contemporary Thai Art, for the Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York/Hong Kong (2013). He is currently writing a book on Thai “alternative” and artist-run initiatives since the 1980s to the present, and a historical article on the participation of Siam/Thailand at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.