Return to Previous Page

December 9th, 2005
Museum Appoints Robert Storr as Consulting Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

Anne d'Harnoncourt, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, announced today the appointment of Robert Storr as Consulting Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. Storr is the Museum’s third appointment in the last year to the department, where he joins Carlos Basualdo, the new Curator of Contemporary Art and Michael Taylor, the Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art.

A well-known critic, curator, and artist, Storr is the Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University and is the organizer of the 2007 Venice Biennale. He served as Curator of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art in New York from 1990 until 2000, where he was the coordinator of Projects, a series of exhibitions devoted to contemporary artists. His final exhibition for MoMA is the retrospective devoted to Elizabeth Murray that opened in October to wide acclaim.

The appointment at the Philadelphia Museum of Art completes the reorganization that began in 2004 when the Museum, moving toward a substantial expansion of its gallery space devoted to modern and contemporary art, as set forth in its Master Plan, divided the responsibilities for modern and contemporary art into two closely related and collaborative curatorships. With the appointment of Storr in a part-time consulting role, this team of three curators will bring their talents and experience to an assessment of the collection’s strengths and needs, and pursue the goals for future acquisitions, exhibitions, and publications, whether in print or online.

"I wholeheartedly welcome Robert Storr as Consulting Curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, for which he will serve as a senior advisor, resource, and colleague to Carlos Basualdo and Michael Taylor," said Anne d’Harnoncourt, Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. "While Rob will remain a full professor of contemporary art at the Institute of Fine Arts and will be planning the Venice Biennale, he will bring a wealth of talents and experience to an ongoing dialogue that promises to create the dynamic energy needed for the Museum's ambitious program in a field that is by its very nature always unfolding. We are thrilled to complete this reorganization with such a remarkable group of gifted individuals and at an extraordinary moment for the Museum, and I look forward with great excitement to the new opportunities this will bring."

Robert Storr stated: "The Philadelphia Museum of Art has one of the world's great encyclopedic collections of art. It will be very exciting to contribute to an active program that is both of the moment and deeply informed by the shape of the Museum's exceptional 20th -century holdings. I look forward to working with Carlos and Michael, both of whom I know and respect, as we plan for both the expansion of the galleries and the collection. It is a privilege to join them, Anne d'Harnoncourt, and the rest of the distinguished staff at an institution in which modern and contemporary art are so thoroughly integrated into and so enliven the larger history of art across many eras, cultures, and mediums."

Mariët Westermann, Director of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, said: "We congratulate both Robert Storr and the Philadelphia Museum of Art on his new role as Consulting Curator for Modern and Contemporary Art. Rob's research and teaching at the Institute of Fine Arts are inextricably entwined with curatorship, and we know that his involvement with the Museum will bring exciting new possibilities for his students at the Institute of Fine Arts. The Institute has always enjoyed close working relationships with major museums, and we are delighted to be forging a new bond with such a distinguished institution and collection of modern art."

About Robert Storr
Robert Storr has been the Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts since 2002. He received his BA degree from Swarthmore College in 1972 and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1978. He is a frequent lecturer in this country and abroad and has taught painting, drawing, art history, and criticism at numerous universities and art schools. He has been a contributing editor at Art in America since 1981. Among the major exhibitions he has organized at MoMA Gerhard Richter: Forty Years of Painting at the Modern (2002); Tony Smith: Architect, Painter, Sculptor (1998); Chuck Close (1998); From Bauhaus to Pop: Masterworks Given by Philip Johnson (1996); Mapping (1994); and Dislocations (1991-92). While at MoMA he also curated Max Beckmann (2003), in collaboration with the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris; and Robert Ryman (1993-94), with the Tate Gallery London as well as coorganized Making Choices (1920-1960), the second cycle of MoMA 2000; and supervised the MoMA presentations of Willem De Kooning: The Late Paintings, The 1980s (1997), and Bruce Nauman (1995). Among his exhibitions at other institutions are Disparities and Deformations; Our Grotesque at Site Santa Fe (2004), Jorg Immendorff: I Wanted To Be A Painter at Moore College of Art (2003), with Pamela Kort; The Devil on the Stairs, at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (1991) with Judith Tannenbaum; and Susan Rothenberg: A Survey at the Rooseum, Malmo Sweden (1990) with Lars Nitve. In addition, he was on the teams that organized the 2000 Sydney Biennial and the 1998 Sao Paulo Biennial.

About Carlos Basualdo
In September 2005 Carlos Basualdo was appointed Curator of Contemporary Art. Basualdo came to the Museum from the Universitá IVAV in Venice, where he is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Art and Design. He was Chief Curator of Exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University, Columbus, from 2000 until 2002 where he organized a lively series of exhibitions and programs. Basualdo has also organized and contributed to many exhibitions around the world over the past decade. He is the curator of the current Tropicália: Revolution in Brazilian Culture (1967-1972), an interdisciplinary traveling exhibition that received much notice since opening in October at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. He served as curator for The Structure of Survival, as part of the 50th Venice Biennial in 2003, and was one of the co-curators of DocumentaXI in Kassel, Germany, in 2002. In 2004 he curated The Uses of the Image: Photography, Film and Video from the Jumex Collection at the Buenos Aires Museum of Latin American Art (MalBA) and the Telefonica Foundation. Fluent in English, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, Basualdo is a native of Argentina. He received his degree in literature from the National University of Rosario in 1982, and also participated in the Independent Study Program of the Critical Studies Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1994–1995).

About Michael Taylor
Michael Taylor was appointed the Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art in 2004. An eminent scholar of Dada and Surrealism with a particular focus on the art of Marcel Duchamp, Dr. Taylor was Acting Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art since November 2003, and previously held positions as associate and assistant curator in the Museum’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. A native of the United Kingdom, he received Master of Arts degrees from both the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Courtauld Institute in London. Dr. Taylor also received his PhD from the Courtauld Institute where he wrote his dissertation on Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain and the critical reception of the artist’s readymades from the period of 1913 until 1968. He was a key member of the curatorial team responsible for organizing the major retrospective Salvador Dalí (2005), working with the distinguished British scholar Professor Dawn Ades, as co-editor of the major volume that accompanied the exhibition in Venice and Philadelphia. Dr. Taylor organized the exhibition Jacques Lipchitz and Philadelphia (2004) and was author of a Museum Bulletin devoted to the eminent 20th century sculptor. His previous exhibitions at the Museum include Henry Moore: A Centennial Salute (1998), and the critically acclaimed Giorgio de Chirico and the Myth of Ariadne, (2003) which traveled to the Estorick Museum, London, and examined more than 60 works drawn from all phases of the artist’s career.

About the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art has a long history of strong and adventurous commitment to modern and contemporary art. At the core of the modern art holdings are the A.E. Gallatin and Louise and Walter Arensberg collections. Both were among the most significant collections of contemporary art formed during the 1920s and 1930s in the United States and together they establish this institution as one of the world’s outstanding museums in which to see modern art. The Gallatin and Arensberg gifts also ensured that the Museum’s collection would encompass especially rich concentrations of the work of Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Juan Gris, Constantin Brancusi, and Joan Miró.

The Museum’s collections of early modern art include indisputable masterpieces such as Picasso’s Self-Portrait (1906) and Three Musicians (1921), and Henri Matisse’s Mademoiselle Yvonne Landsberg (1914). A serene, chapel-like space contains the breathtaking results of Brancusi’s search for essential forms, as seen in The Kiss (1916) and Bird In Space (Yellow Bird) (1923-24), which form part of the largest group of the sculptor’s work in any museum outside Paris. The Museum also houses the largest collection of Marcel Duchamp’s work in the world, including Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) (1912), which was given to the Museum by the Arensbergs (who assembled their collection with the assistance of the artist) as well as later additions, acquired by purchase or gifts by the artist’s family and other donors. Situated in precisely the spots selected for them by Duchamp are the monumental painting on glass, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) (1915-23), and Etant donnés (1946-66), the enigmatic installation to which the artist devoted himself during the final decades of his life, and which was given to the Philadelphia Museum of Art shortly after his death.

American modernists admired by Gallatin and the Arensbergs, including the Pennsylvanian Charles Demuth, are also represented in the selection from Alfred Stieglitz’s collection that was donated to the Museum by his widow, Georgia O’Keeffe. The Museum’s outstanding holdings of modern American paintings include Marsden Hartley’s Painting No. 4 (A Black Horse) (1915), Arthur Dove’s Silver Tanks and Moon (1930), Charles Sheeler’s Cactus (1931), and Georgia O’Keeffe’s Red Hills and Bones (1941), among many others. Premiere examples of other important streams in 20th century art are also represented, including the powerful, self-taught vision of Horace Pippin, as conveyed in works such as The End of the War: Starting Home (1930-33) and Mr. Prejudice (1943), and the evocative realism of Andrew Wyeth, as seen in Groundhog Day (1959).

Philadelphia's modern and contemporary holdings represent an unusually close collaboration between artists and collectors. A serious painter as well as collector, Gallatin was a central figure in the American Abstract Artists group in New York, where his collection was on view to the public for sixteen years as the "gallery of Living Art" before it was transferred to Philadelphia in 1943. The Gallatin Collection has formed the cornerstone of the Museum's holdings of abstract art, which grew to include several early Abstract Expressionist masterpieces, including Dark Green Painting (1948), by Arshile Gorky and Jackson Pollock’s Male and Female (c. 1942).

The tradition begun by Gallatin and the Arensbergs was followed by the development of the collection of contemporary art since the 1960s. Among the many important gifts and acquisitions over the past four decades are works by Robert Rauschenberg, Agnes Martin, Claes Oldenburg, Barbara Chase Ribaud, Eva Hesse, Donald Judd and Gerhard Richter. A number of major purchases have made a striking impact on the collections and have represented important steps within the American museum community as a whole. These include Cy Twombly’s Fifty Days at Iliam (1978), a sequential and symmetrical ten-part painting cycle illustrating Homer’s Iliad, to which the Museum has devoted an entire gallery designed in collaboration with the artist (Gallery 185), and the remarkable painting Catenary (I Call to the Grave), 1998, a richly evocative work by Jasper Johns from a group of paintings, drawings, and prints informally known as the Bridge series, begun in 1997. Catenary is displayed in Gallery 171 where it is presented in the context of four decades of Johns’s work, all of which are on loan from the artist.

The Department of Modern and Contemporary Art has a longstanding tradition of presenting major retrospectives, such as Constantin Brancusi (1996), Barnett Newman (2002) and Salvador Dalí (2005). It has organized exhibitions devoted to important artists of this region, including Warren Rohrer (2003) and Sidney Goodman (1996), as well as acquiring of works by such artists as Edna Andrade, Tristin Lowe, Sarah McEneaney, Stuart Netsky, Warren Rohrer, and Peter Rose. The continuity between past and present is richly felt within the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collection and programs. The ongoing adventurous series of Museum Studies exhibitions focuses upon projects in collaboration with contemporary artists as diverse as Rirkrit Tiravanija, Richard Hamilton and Gabriel Orozco. Initiated in 1993, Museum Studies specifically enlists artists to produce new works in response to the Museum’s building, its history or its collection. The series was inaugurated memorably when Sherrie Levine "re-created" Brancusi’s Newborn by casting the Museum's marble sculpture in frosted glass, making six new sculptures that were displayed atop six grand pianos in the Great Stair Hall. The Museum presents a stimulating program of film and video screenings by established and emerging artists who experiment with new media and technology. Philadelphia’s historic role as a center of training for artists continues to encourage interaction between the Museum’s collections and each new generation of talented students. The Museum’s Committee on Modern and Contemporary Art ensures that there are funds to acquire new works by young and emerging artists, many of whom challenge accepted notions about art. This acquisitions program plays a central role in moving the Museum’s collection into the future.

Social Media
Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Tumblr/YouTube: @philamuseum

We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100.

Return to Previous Page