Sarah Meister named next Executive Director of Aperture
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Sarah Meister named next Executive Director of Aperture
Sarah Meister. Photograph by Naima Green.

NEW YORK, NY.- Aperture Foundation’s Board of Trustees announced that Sarah Meister has been selected as its next Executive Director. She will begin her new role in May 2021.

As Executive Director, Ms. Meister will serve as the primary creative force and public representative of Aperture, a nonprofit arts organization and preeminent publisher of photography, working closely with the Board and leading the staff of thirty-five to further the organization’s distinguished legacy and set its vision for its future. She will succeed Chris Boot, who will be returning to London after leading Aperture for the past decade.

“Sarah is an accomplished curator and esteemed voice in the photography community and the broader art world,” says Aperture Board Chair Cathy Kaplan. “We are thrilled that she will bring her deep and extensive knowledge and absolute passion for photography to Aperture. Her genuine leadership and scholarly achievements make her an exceptional choice to protect and celebrate Aperture’s history, while entrusting her with its next chapter.”

Ms. Meister will be responsible for directing strategic, operational, and financial planning; overseeing Aperture’s book publishing and flagship magazine, educational and outreach programs, and the Paul Strand archive; cultivating collaborations and partnerships with other institutions, nonprofit organizations, and donors; developing Aperture’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; and continuing to grow its global audience. She will report to the Board of Trustees.

“Photography is inarguably central to our contemporary experience,” says Ms. Meister. “I look forward to working with the brilliant team at Aperture to continue to encourage the medium’s capacity to promote understanding and justice, and to partner with artists in whose hands photography serves as an enduring source of inspiration. For nearly seventy years, Aperture has been a touchstone for all who care about the medium, grappling with its ever-changing nature and embracing its expansive, democratic spirit. I am honored to play a role in furthering its essential position in the field.”

Sarah Meister is currently Curator in the Robert B. Menschel Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, a position she has held since 2009. She has spent over twenty years of an exceptional career at MoMA, organizing a range of critically acclaimed exhibitions, publications, and public programs and securing a wide array of landmark acquisitions for the museum’s collection. She is the lead instructor for the popular online course “Seeing Through Photographs” (offered on Coursera), and is codirector of the August Sander Project, a research initiative hosted by MoMA and Columbia University. The project’s fifth and final gathering will take place in September 2021.

“Aperture . . . has become a platform for redefining the notion of image-making in a more inclusive America, and then placing that alongside a global conversation,” said noted Board member Dawoud Bey, whose work will be the subject of a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art later this year. He adds, “Chris Boot has done an extraordinary job at rebuilding Aperture’s relevance and vitality under his tenure, and Sarah’s appointment will keep the field energized and excited about Aperture in the best possible way.”

Ms. Meister’s appointment follows an international search led by the Board’s Search Committee, which was chaired by Ms. Kaplan and Board members Allan Chapin, Michael Hoeh, and Lisa Rosenblum, together with Pamela Bol Riess, Founder and CEO of PBR Executive Search, which for the past twenty years has focused exclusively on conducting executive leadership searches in the nonprofit sector.

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