Museum PR Announcements News and Information

Julian Cox Named Founding Curator of Photography for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Chief Curator of the de Young Museum

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, – John E. Buchanan, Jr., Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, announces the appointment of Julian Cox, one of the country’s leading authorities on photography as Founding Curator of Photography for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) and Chief Curator of the de Young Museum.

In this role, Cox will oversee FAMSF’s department of photography, its collection of over 3,500 photographs and its program of acquisition, exhibition and scholarly endeavors. In addition, he will have senior management responsibilities at the de Young Museum coordinating the curatorial program for the departments of American art, contemporary art, international textiles and costume, and art of the Americas, Oceania and Africa. Cox’s position as Founding Curator of Photography is supported by a generous gift from the John and Lisa Pritzker Family Fund, a portion of which will also provide discretionary funds for acquisition, publication, exhibition and programming costs for the department of photography. He will assume his position in September 2010.

“The Fine Arts Museums have had a long and keen interest in photography,” says Director Buchanan. “At present, our permanent collection of photography housed within the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, ranges from hand-tinted daguerreotypes from the mid-19th century to the monumental C-print installation by Gerhard Richter that commands the de Young’s Wilsey Court. With the hiring of Julian Cox and the founding of our first department dedicated exclusively to photography, the Fine Arts Museums will firmly enshrine the important standing of photography within our curatorial constitution.”

About Julian Cox

According to John Pritzker, “Julian’s appointment reflects FAMSF’s deep commitment to incorporating photography as a mainstay of this world class museum. Julian’s arrival also solidifies San Francisco’s standing as one of the preeminent locations in the world for all things photographic.”

For the past five years, Julian Cox has served as Curator of Photography at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, during which time he has significantly expanded its permanent collection of photographs and enhanced its reputation in the field. He has organized such distinguished exhibitions as Harry Callahan: Eleanor (2007), Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956–1968 (2008) and The Portrait Unbound: Photographs by Robert Weingarten (2010). His most recent exhibition, Signs of Life: Photographs by Peter Sekaer (2010), consisting of 87 vintage prints, is the first comprehensive presentation of the work of this important Danish-born American photographer, whose works are among the finest produced in the Depression era in the United States.

Prior to that, Cox served for 12 years in several positions in the Department of Photography at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, most recently as Associate Curator of Photography under the Getty’s esteemed Founding Curator of Photography Weston Naef. His work at the Getty included the exhibitions André Kertész: A Centennial Tribute (1994), Alfred Stiegliz: Seen and Unseen (1995–1996), Julia Margaret Cameron: The Creative Process (1996–1997), The Making of a Daguerreotype: Images and Artifacts (1998) and The Photographs of Frederick Sommer: A Centennial Tribute (2005). Prior to that, he worked at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford, England, and the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. Cox earned a Master of Philosophy degree in the history of photography from the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1990, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history from the University of Manchester, England, in 1987.

Cox is the author of several books and essays and is co-author, with Colin Ford, of the critically acclaimed publication, Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs (The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003), the first catalogue raisonne of her work. His notable publications include Harry Callahan: Eleanor (High Museum of Art and Steidl, 2007), Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956–1968 (High Museum of Art and University of Washington Press, 2008) and The Portrait Unbound: Photographs by Robert Weingarten (High Museum of Art, 2010).

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Photography

Since 2007 the de Young Museum has presented three notable photography exhibitions including critically acclaimed retrospectives of the work of David “Chim” Seymour, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Gilbert and George. In addition, gallery space at the de Young is devoted to rotating exhibitions of photography drawn from the Museums’ collection and those of local collectors. In 2008, the Legion of Honor presented Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990–2005 to record attendance.

About the Fine Arts Museums

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, comprised of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, is the largest public arts institution in San Francisco. Collectively, the two museums’ attendance ranks them as the fourth most visited fine arts institution in North America and the 16th most visited in the world. FAMSF has an annual operating budget of $53 million and in 2010 achieved milestone membership of over 104,000 member households. Its permanent collection includes more than 111,000 objects including paintings, sculpture, decorative arts and furniture, international textiles and costumes, ethnographic artwork, contemporary craft, antiquities and works on paper.

Since its reopening in 2005 in a new copper-clad landmark building designed by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron, the de Young Museum has seen a dramatic increase in attendance from 449,922 in 2000, the last year in its original building, to over 1.9 million visitors in 2009. The de Young showcases the institution’s significant collections including the Rockefeller collection of American painting, American sculpture, decorative arts and furniture from the 17th through the 20th centuries, art from Central and South America, and from the Pacific and Africa, as well as an important and diverse collection of textiles and costumes.

The Legion of Honor’s neoclassical building designed by George Applegarth is located on a bluff overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Its collections span 4000 years and include major holdings in Rodin sculpture; paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Watteau, de la Tour, Vigée Le Brun, Cézanne, Monet, and Picasso, among other Dutch, Italian, German, English, and French masters; a 15th-century Spanish ceiling, European decorative arts, tapestries, and over 70,000 prints and drawings.

Currently on view at the de Young Museum is Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay which runs through September 6, 2010. The second exhibition, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Beyond: Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay, opens at the de Young on September 25, 2010 and runs through January 18, 2011. The de Young is the only museum in the world to host both of these exhibitions.

Two exhibitions designed to complement and expand the visitor’s experience of the Musée d’Orsay exhibitions are on view at the Legion of Honor. Impressionist Paris: City of Light is on view through September 26, 2010. Japanesque: The Japanese Print in the Era of Impressionism opens on October 16, 2010 and runs through January 9, 2011.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *