The Morgan Library and Museum in New York City just announced the appointment of the first curator of photography in its history. Joel Smith, who will begin his work at the Morgan in September, will focus his attention on building the collection and organizing related exhibitions and educational programs.
The Morgan since its earliest years has had a small collection of photographs, including a few works acquired by its founder, J. Pierpont Morgan, in the early twentieth century. Since 1924, when the Morgan became a public institution, further examples have regularly entered the collection as gifts and, less often, by purchase. The Morgan's holdings currently number several thousand photographs, ranging from the work of amateur or unknown photographers to vintage prints by major masters.
Joel Smith is currently the Peter C. Bunnell Curator of Photography at Princeton University Art Museum. Since arriving at Princeton in 2005, he has curated over a dozen exhibitions.
William M. Griswold, director of the Morgan, said that "The Morgan is committed to identifying ways to enhance its holdings of art, literature, and music. In 2006, we named our first curator of modern and contemporary drawings. Joel's appointment is a further example of our efforts to build a collection that reflects the whole history of works on paper."
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Featured Comment by Derek Stanton: "I walk past the Morgan every day on the way to the office. I'm glad to know there will be a greater effort to exhibit photography. I did, though, see an exhibition of phenomenal Irving Penn portraits there a few years ago. The Morgan is a beautiful, underappreciated space."