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MoMA appoints Michelle Elligott as the Chief of Archives, Library, and Research Collections
Michelle Elligott, Chief of Archives, Library, and Research Collections. Photo: Sari Goodfriend.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Museum of Modern Art announces the appointment of Michelle Elligott as Chief of Archives, Library, and Research Collections. In this role, she will provide key professional and intellectual leadership for the Museum’s world class research collections; oversee the strategic planning and facilities of the Archives and Library; and manage all aspects of the research collections and records of the institution with respect to their care, cataloging, and accessibility.

Ms. Elligott brings more than two decades of experience to the position. In 1999, she was appointed the Rona Roob Senior Museum Archivist, and since 2014 has served as Chief of Archives. In her new position she will also provide leadership to the Library, succeeding Milan Hughston who retired in 2016.

“I am confident that Michelle will provide exemplary leadership to the Archives and Library and will continue to advance our efforts in acquisitions, preservation, and accessibility, across all platforms, to ensure that MoMA is a leading center for the study of modern art,” said MoMA Director Glenn Lowry.

“I am thrilled and honored by this opportunity,” said Michelle Elligott. “The breadth of the extraordinary research collections that document the history of modern art and diverse artistic practices are a vital resource for museum staff and researchers from around the world. It is my great privilege to lead the efforts to promote this unique content and cultivate scholarship, while at the same time working collaboratively to dramatically increase access to these resources for the general public alike.”

Ms. Elligott brings to her new post a strong background and extensive experience in research, publishing, exhibitions, strategic acquisitions, and leading complex projects. Most recently, she co-directed the Museum's widely acclaimed comprehensive online Exhibition History project that documents the Museum’s exhibitions from its founding in 1929 until today and is illustrated by primary documents. Elligott has published widely, including the articles "Modern Women: A Partial History" (2010); "Dada: A Chronology," (2008); and "Schémas des origines et de l'évolution de l'art moderne" for the Centre Pompidou (2010). She co-edited MoMA’s first self-published history, Art in Our Time: A Chronicle of The Museum of Modern Art (2004). With her "Modern Artifacts" column, she is a regular contributor to the art magazine Esopus, and her book on former MoMA director René d’Harnoncourt, René d’Harnoncourt: The Art of Installation, will be forthcoming in 2018.

Elligott routinely organizes archival exhibitions, including the upcoming Devenir moderne, a companion to Etre moderne, at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. Past exhibitions include those devoted to James Lee Byars (2007), Dada (2008), and the history of dance and theater at MoMA (2009). Elligott has also collaborated on other exhibitions: she co-curated the MoMA exhibition 1969 at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1) in 2009, and was part of the curatorial team for Abstract Expressionist New York: The Big Picture in 2010.

Ms. Elligott was a fellow in the 2016 International Curatorial Institute, jointly administered by the Center for Curatorial Leadership, MoMA, and Columbia Business School. She has taught seminars on art archives in Havana, Caracas, and Buenos Aires, and has lectured extensively, including at the 2013 Venice Biennale, the Centre Pompidou, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan, Contemporary Greek Art Institute, Athens, Greece, and the Frick Collection. In 2005, she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in residence at the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece. She has been Adjunct Assistant Professor of Museum Studies at New York University. Ms. Elligott holds degrees in art history from Smith College and Hunter College, City University of New York, with additional coursework at the Université de Paris IV, Sorbonne, and the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece.

The Museum of Modern Art Archives and Library are internationally recognized research centers for modern and contemporary art. They are an essential resource for scholars, students, curators, conservators, writers, journalists, artists and Museum staff. They play a vital role in fulfilling MoMA’s mission as an educational institution. The collections are hosted in the Museum’s Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building,

The Archives was formally established in 1989 and contains over 6.5 million unique objects including paper records, photographs, sound and video recordings, and oral histories. The Archives collects, preserves, and makes accessible the Museum’s and MoMA PS1’s historical records and other primary source documents concerning art and cultural history in the 20th and 21st centuries.

The Library, founded in 1932, is a non-circulating collection that documents painting, sculpture, drawings, prints, photography, architecture, design, performance, video, film, digital and emerging art forms from 1880 to the present. The collection comprises 322,000 items, including 3,800 journal titles, 14,000 artists’ books, and 91,000 ephemera files on individual artists and groups.

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