Acclaimed art historian transformed the former home of artists Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner into a thriving national landmark.
Helen Harrison, director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center at Stony Brook University, is retiring after 34 years of service to the university. Credited with having the Pollock-Krasner House designated as a National Historic Landmark, securing an endowment for the property, establishing the Study Center and more, Harrison leaves behind a new university-endowed fellowship for studies in abstract expressionism.
“This fellowship will help bring more scholars in to use our resources and the resources that are available in this area,” she says, referring to the bustling artists’ community of eastern Long Island. “This is very important, because the first generation of scholars is dying out, and we need to keep this as an active field of study.”
So far, the House and Study Center have contributed five specialists, four conferences and a publication to the field. Harrison’s fellowship, an annual three-month program, will consistently attract new scholars eager to make a contribution of their own. Harrison hopes the Study Center will continue to expand its archive and offerings accordingly.
Prior to her tenure at Stony Brook, Harrison served as a curator at Guild Hall Museum, guest curator at The Queens Museum, and Executive Director of the Public Art Preservation Committee. She has also worked as an exhibition organizer and an art columnist, commentator, critic and feature writer for several news outlets including the New York Times.
Her multifaceted career has earned Harrison dozens of accolades, including multiple awards from the Press Club of Long Island and a 2021 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service. Her love for art and writing inspired her to write a series of murder mystery novels, one of which won a 2019 Benjamin Franklin Gold Award presented by the Independent Book Publishers Association. Harrison looks forward to publishing more in her retirement and remains a resource for the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center should her expertise be needed, she says.
“Helen Harrison’s undertakings for Stony Brook University and the Department of Art have gone far beyond her duties as Director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center,” says former Interim Chair and Professor, Affiliated Faculty for Art, Margaret Schedel. “She has served the department in every facet of its entity, and at the highest level. As she ends her service to the University I would like to honor her years of dedication to our mission.”
About Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University — New York’s flagship university and No. 1 public university — is going far beyond the expectations of today’s public universities. It is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. With nearly 26,000 students, more than 2,900 faculty members, more than 200,000 alumni, a premier academic healthcare system and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs, Stony Brook is a research-intensive distinguished center of innovation dedicated to addressing the world’s biggest challenges. The university embraces its mission to provide comprehensive undergraduate, graduate and professional education of the highest quality, and is ranked as the #58 overall university and #26 among public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges listing. Fostering a commitment to academic research and intellectual endeavors, Stony Brook’s membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places it among the top 71 research institutions in North America. The university’s distinguished faculty have earned esteemed awards such as the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. Stony Brook has the responsibility of co-managing Brookhaven National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy — one of only eight universities with a role in running a national laboratory. In 2023, Stony Brook was named the anchor institution for The New York Climate Exchange on Governors Island in New York City. Providing economic growth for neighboring communities and the wider geographic region, the university totals an impressive $7.23 billion in increased economic output on Long Island. Follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/