The Museum of Modern Art in New York has hired Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi as a curator in its department of painting and sculpture. Nzewi will be coming from the Cleveland Museum of Art, where he’s currently curator of African art. His start date at MoMA is July 22, and his full title will be Steven and Lisa Tananbaum Curator.
Before heading to Cleveland, where he’ll open two shows before the end of the year (“Second Careers: Two Tributaries in African Art” and, with Emily Liebert, “Ámà: The Gathering Place,” plus a new commission from Emeka Ogboh), Nzewi was curator of African art at the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
“I am honored to join MoMA as it continues the necessary task of telling an expansive and more inclusive story of 20th- and 21st-century art,” Nzewi said in a statement. “I look forward to collaborating with colleagues across departments in addressing historical gaps through purposeful acquisitions, advancing new programs and exhibitions that enrich our knowledge of global art, and, ultimately, in writing the next chapter in the history of this institution.”
Ann Temkin, MoMA’s chief curator of painting and sculpture, said in the same statement, “A highly accomplished scholar and curator of African art, Smooth will bring an important perspective as we expand our collection holdings and gallery presentations in new directions across the museum.”
MoMA is set to close from June 15 to October 21 so work can be completed on its $400 million expansion. When it reopens, the entire museum will be devoted to a new presentation of its permanent collection.