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Cleveland Museum of Art Appoints Barbara Tannenbaum as New Curator of Photography
Barbara Tannenbaum is a prominent contemporary art and photography scholar. Photo: Andrew McAllister.

CLEVELAND, OH.- Barbara Tannenbaum, a prominent contemporary art and photography scholar as well as an accomplished museum leader, has been tapped as the next curator of photography for the Cleveland Museum of Art, following a national search. Tannenbaum’s selection marks a new generation of curatorial leadership for the museum’s renowned photography collection, known for the quality and depth of its holdings. Her appointment follows the 2010 retirement of Tom Hinson, who held the post for over 38 years, and Tannenbaum will be the second curator of photography in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s history.

“Barbara brings to Cleveland the experience of having built a nationally-respected photography program with relatively modest resources,” states C. Griffith Mann, Cleveland Museum of Art deputy director and chief curator. “Under her thoughtful cultivation, the photography collection at Akron grew fivefold, from 500 works to 2,500. Since the early history of the medium is already a decisive strength of our collection, Barbara has an opportunity to build on this legacy by focusing on more recent developments in the field. She is nationally recognized for her work with living artists, cultivating strong relationships with donors and collectors, and playing a central part in elevating Akron’s profile within the museum community.”

The Cleveland Museum of Art’s photography collection covers the history of the medium, which began in 1839. It is a carefully selected and balanced collection of the highest quality, representing many of the medium’s major movements, including numerous inventive figures. The more than 5,000 works in the collection represent artistic achievement by a variety of artists, ingenuity of technical solutions and superior physical condition. More than 3,000 original prints are in the collection augmented by over 2,500 photogravures. Notable highlights include complete sets of The North American Indian by Edward S. Curtis and Camera Work and portfolios by Alvin Langdon Coburn and Paul Strand. The museum’s current building renovation and expansion created new, dedicated photography galleries of almost 2,000 square feet which opened in 2009 and greatly enhanced the number of photographs that can be displayed from the permanent collection.

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