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Deborah Wye to Retire as Chief Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books at MoMA
Deborah Wye, The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Chief Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books, The Museum of Modern Art, NY. Photo: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.
NEW YORK, NY.- Deborah Wye, The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Chief Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books at The Museum of Modern Art, will retire from that position effective September 1, 2010, it was announced today by MoMA Director Glenn D. Lowry. She will continue her relationship with the Museum in a consultative role, initially undertaking the final volume of a catalogue raisonné on the prints of Louise Bourgeois, which form an archive in MoMA's collection. One of the foremost experts on the work of Bourgeois, Ms. Wye organized a sculpture retrospective of the artist's work in 1982 for her first MoMA exhibition, followed by an exhibition of the artist's prints in 1994. Ms. Wye's retirement is in keeping with the Museum's policy for Chief Curators and other senior managers to retire at age 65.

Ms. Wye has played an integral role at MoMA for more than 30 years. Having joined the Museum as Assistant Curator in 1979, she was appointed Associate Curator in 1982, Curator in 1990, and was named The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Chief Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books in 1996.

At MoMA, Ms. Wye has organized more than 25 exhibitions and written numerous publications, including the current Picasso: Themes and Variations (through August 30, 2010), and its accompanying catalogue A Picasso Portfolio: Prints from The Museum of Modern Art. In 2008, Ms. Wye organized Kirchner and the Berlin Street, the most comprehensive examination to date of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's renowned Street Scene paintings of 1913-1915; in 2009 she mounted Focus: Jasper Johns, which brought together Johns' prints with related paintings and drawings from MoMA's collection.

"Throughout the last 30 years at MoMA, Debby has brought her keen intelligence and scholarship to numerous exhibitions and publications," said Mr. Lowry. "She is admired and respected throughout the art world for her curatorial dedication and the depth of her expertise. We wish her the very best in all of her endeavors."

Among the many exhibitions Ms. Wye has organized or co-organized are Multiplex: Directions in Art, 1970 to Now (2007); Eye on Europe: Prints, Books & Multiples, 1960 to Now (2006); Edvard Munch: Symbolism in Print (2006) at Scandinavia House; Artists & Prints (2004); Modern Means: Continuity and Change in Art, 1880 to the Present (2004) at Tokyo’s Mori Art Center; The Russian Avant-Garde Book 1910–1934 (2002); Collaborations with Parkett: 1984 to Now (2001); Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and Print Collecting (1999); Pollock and Printmaking (1998); Paris: The 1890s (1997); Thinking Print: Books to Billboards (1996); Joan Miró: Prints and Books (1993); Antoni Tàpies in Print (1992); and Committed to Print: Social and Political Themes in Recent American Printed Art (1988).

Ms. Wye’s achievements also include the acquisition of a wide range of modern and contemporary works for the Museum’s collection of prints and illustrated books. She played a vital role in securing Louise Bourgeois’s entire printed oeuvre as a gift to MoMA in 1994, and was responsible for acquiring two of Pablo Picasso’s landmark prints: the 1937 etching entitled The Weeping Woman in 1999, and, most recently, the 1923 drypoint Portrait of Olga in a Fur Collar in 2010. Many of Ms. Wye’s acquisitions have focused on the creative process in printmaking, including Joan Miró’s Black and Red Series of 1938, around which she organized an exhibition in 1998. She also authored a comprehensive study of the collection, Artists & Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art (2004).

In addition to overseeing all acquisitions for the Museum’s Department of Prints and Illustrated Books, Ms. Wye initiated a major focus on educational projects in the area of printmaking, including courses taught in the department, a brochure program for the collection’s galleries, and an innovative series of interactive websites, the most recent of which, at The www.moma.org/picassoprints, brings together over 250 works by Picasso.

Prior to joining The Museum of Modern Art, Ms. Wye was assistant to the curator in the Drawing Department, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University. Before that, she was an assistant at Lucien Goldschmidt, Inc., a firm dealing in prints, drawings, and rare books.

The Museum of Modern Art | Deborah Wye | Glenn D. Lowry |




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