The Philadelphia Museum of Art today announced the appointment of Matthew Affron as the new Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art. Dr. Affron will take up his new duties September 1.
Affron received his B.A. (1985) in art history from Brown University, and obtained his M.A. (1985) and Ph.D. (1995) in art history from Yale University. He has served as a faculty member of the University of Virginia since 1996 and currently holds the rank of Associate Professor. He became Director of Special Curatorial Projects at the University of Virginia Art Museum (now the Fralin Museum of Art) in 2004, and was appointed Curator of Modern Art in 2008.
A specialist in the work of Fernand Léger, Affron has published widely on topics such as early abstract art, the relationship between modern art and fascist ideology, European artists in exile in New York during World War II, and different aspects of the work of Léger and other artists of his generation. He has curated and co-curated several important exhibitions, including Fernand Léger: Contrasts of Forms and Matisse, Picasso, and Modern Art in Paris: The T. Catesby Jones Collections at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the University of Virginia Art Museum, and participated in the development of many others at the University of Virginia and other museums in this country and abroad. He is currently at work on an exhibition titled Joseph Cornell and Surrealism in collaboration with the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, France.
In announcing this appointment, Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, said: “We are delighted that Matthew Affron is joining the staff of the Museum and will be responsible for the stewardship of our remarkable holdings of modern art. With significant experience both as a curator and an educator, he brings to the Museum a set of skills that is perfectly suited to our needs. His commitment to scholarship as well as accessibility will enable us to utilize more fully an area of our collection that is known throughout the world for its scope, quality, and historical significance.”
“It is an immense privilege to be joining the Philadelphia Museum of Art,” said Affron. “I look forward to having the opportunity to work with its superb holdings of modern art, anchored by the Gallatin and Arensberg Collections. I am also enormously excited by the prospect of working with my new colleagues to engage public audiences through the creative presentation of the collection, a dynamic exhibitions schedule, and strong educational programs.”
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