With Museum of Modern Art in New York having reopened this past October in a newly expanded form, we’re beginning to get a sense of how the institution’s programming will shift in the years to come. Earlier in the week, the museum announced a slate of exhibitions with the potential to revise art history in dramatic ways, including a retrospective for the largely under-appreciated modernist Sophie Taeuber-Arp and a survey of political video art. And now, to complement the changes made to its programming, the museum has made a big hire for its photography department.
Clément Chéroux, who is currently senior curator of the photography center at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, will be MoMA’s new chief curator of photography. He will start in his post in June, taking over the reins from another Frenchman, Quentin Bajac, who departed the museum in 2018 to direct Paris’s Jeu de Paume museum.
In a statement, Chéroux said, “It was a pleasure to work at SFMOMA for three years and to have the support of a fantastic Bay Area photo community. I am very excited to be part of the energy of the new MoMA and to work with the team and collection to develop great projects.”
The hire is a coup for MoMA, given Chéroux’s track record of stellar shows. At the Centre Pompidou in Paris, where he was chief curator for several years before heading to SFMOMA, he organized various celebrated exhibitions, including a Walker Evans retrospective and a survey of photographs shot by Agnès Varda in Cuba. At SFMOMA, he has led a center that owns 17,000 photographs, staging shows about picture-taking and image-sharing, as well as solo exhibitions for Louis Stettner, Johannes Brus, and others.