Denise Murrell is the curator of the forthcoming exhibition Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet to Matisse and Beyond at Columbia University's Wallach Art Gallery, and co-curator of the exhibition's expansion at the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, as the Wallach's first Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Research Scholar. She is the author of the New York exhibition catalogue, to be published by Yale University Press. Murrell is involved in initiatives to create greater diversity within the curatorial and academic professions of art history, and to develop exhibition programs that introduce overlooked narratives of interest to new and broader museum audiences.
The New York and Paris exhibitions are based on Murrell's 2013 doctoral dissertation at Columbia, where she has taught the course Masterpieces of Western Art, and received a PhD in art history in February 2014.
Murrell was previously managing director of the Institutional Investor Research Group, Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc (1995-2005), as profiled in the HBS case "The 1995 Release of the Institutional Investor Research Report: The Impact of New Information" (Groysberg, Nohria and Haas: 2007). She held other positions in finance and consulting after receiving an MBA from HBS and a BS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, including executive director of the Institutional Investor International Investment Forum; corporate finance and marketing positions at Citicorp Investment Bank in New York and London; and as an analyst at Morgan Stanley prior to HBS.
She currently serves on the National Advisory Board for the Ackland Art Museum at UNC Chapel Hill, where she is treasurer of the Select Committee; and was previously on the board of ArtsConnection, an organization providing arts programming to students in the New York City public school system. She is a member of the Association of Art Museum Curators, ArtTable (a leadership organization for professional women in the visual arts), the College Art Association, and the Museum of Modern Art Friends of Education. For several years while completing her PhD, Murrell was a pro bono strategic consultant for NYC arts nonprofits with Community Partners of the Harvard Business School Alumni Club.
Murrell's publications and conference papers as an independent art historian (Project New Muse) include "Laure of Olympia and More: Manet and 19th Century Black Paris (2017); "The Anterior as Muse: Recent Paintings by Mickalene Thomas" (2012); "Resituating Identity in Yinka Shonibare's Jardin d'Amour" (2010); and "African Influences in Modern Art" for the Metropolitan Museum Timeline of Art History (2008). She held a Mellon predoctoral fellowship at Princeton University Art Museum, was a contract lecturer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a dissertation fellow at Columbia's Reid Hall Paris.