Wednesday, September 3, 2008

MoMA's new Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture

The New York Times reports on the safe pick at MoMA:

After a six-month search, the Museum of Modern Art has chosen one of its own curators, Ann Temkin, to succeed John Elderfield, who retired as chief curator of painting and sculpture in July.
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Michael Falco for The New York Times

Ms. Temkin assumes the curatorial post, considered the most prestigious in the field of Modern art, as MoMA gears up for its second growth spurt in less than a decade. After an $858 million expansion completed in 2004, the museum plans to extend its galleries further in a tower that is being built next door on West 54th Street in Manhattan. The museum is also in the midst of rethinking how it presents the history of Modern art through its world-class collection.

This isn't the world changing pick that some people had hoped for, but instead, represents a kind of progressive continuity at an institution that has been rapidly reshaping it's place in the world.

The modern is the past, and it is beginning to feel like it. The MoMA is going to fill a massive 75 story tower, and expand and reorganize it's collections. This huge amount of back and forth is probably going to be best served by someone who knows the inner workings of the institution, and whose management skills are unquestioned. Faith, patience, attention to detail, and an unwavering commitment to the Museum of Modern Art as project and an idea, are all things that will make the transition seem more effortless than it might otherwise.

The revolutions in art are elsewhere, the last thing that an art world in flux wants is needless chaos in one of it's flagship museums.

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