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New York's Museum of Modern Art establishes the Department of Prints and Drawings
The Archive Reading Room in The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building, designed by Yoshio Taniguchi. © 2011 Timothy Hursley.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Museum of Modern Art will combine its Department of Prints and Illustrated Books with the Department of Drawings, effective July 1, it was announced by MoMA Director Glenn D. Lowry.

The Department of Prints and Drawings will be headed by Christophe Cherix, who has served as the Museum’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Chief Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books since 2010, having joined the Museum as curator in 2007.

Connie Butler, who joined the Museum as The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings in 2006, will continue to serve as the co-curator, with Luis Perez-Oramas, of MoMA’s 2014 retrospective of Lygia Clark, and will be the coordinating curator of a retrospective of Mike Kelley at MoMA PS1 this fall. Relocating to Los Angeles, she will co-organize the biennial of Los Angeles art at the Hammer Museum, and will be a visiting professor in the Art and Curatorial Practices Program at the University of Southern California’s Roski School of Fine Arts.

“Both the prints and drawings collections are extraordinary in and of themselves. Christophe Cherix has the unique ability and talent to bring these two departments together, helping the Museum focus on new priorities while maintaining their importance within their respective fields,” said Mr. Lowry. “Connie Butler has been an outstanding chief curator and an essential member of the Museum’s curatorial staff. While she will continue to work on a number of exhibitions, her day to day presence will be missed enormously.”

In recent years, the two departments have engaged in a number of cross-departmental initiatives related to regions of the world or specific periods and themes, revealing the benefits of taking a broader approach. Numerous key joint acquisitions have been undertaken between Drawings and Prints & Illustrated Books, including the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection, David Hammons' 1969 untitled monotype, and John Cage's Score for 4'33" (In Proportional Notation). The newly formed Department of Prints and Drawings will total some 74,000 objects.

Christophe Cherix has brought to the Museum in the recent years a number of pivotal cross-departmental collections, such as the Art & Project/Deport VBVR Gift (2008), the Seth Siegelaub Collection (2010), and the Daled Collection (2011). Those three collections together have added 162 drawings to the Department of Drawings, including a number of iconic works such as The Tuileries (1974) by Gilbert & George, Robert Smithson's Earthmap of The Hypothetical Ice Cap of Gonwanaland (1969), and Sol LeWitt's Sentences on Conceptual Art (1968). He has moreover organized various exhibitions at MoMA that include the drawing medium, for instance In & Out of Amsterdam: Travels in Conceptual Art, 1960–1976, in 2009, and, two years later, with Kathy Halbreich, Contemporary Art from the Collection, an installation of the collection from the 1960s to the present.

Among the exhibitions Connie Butler has organized at MoMA are Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own Grave (2009); Here is Every. Forty Years of Contemporary Art (2008); Compass in Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild Contemporary Drawings Collection (2009) (with Christian Rattemeyer), On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century (2010) (with Catherine de Zegher), and Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955–1972. For MoMA PS1, she co-curated Greater New York (2010). She was co-editor (with Alexandra Schwartz) of the 2010 publication Modern Women: Women Artists at The Museum of Modern Art, a major achievement that brought together nearly 50 commissioned essays examining MoMA’s holdings of work by women artists from a variety of historical and critical perspectives.

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