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MoMA Appoints Christophe Cherix as Chief Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books

Christophe Cherix has been appointed The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Chief Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books at The Museum of Modern Art, it was announced today by MoMA Director Glenn D. Lowry. In this role, Mr. Cherix will guide all aspects of the department, including its installations, acquisitions, exhibitions, and loan programs. Mr. Cherix has served as Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books at MoMA since 2007. He succeeds Deborah Wye, who will assume the position of Chief Curator Emerita.

Mr. Cherix’s concentration is modern and contemporary art, with a particular focus on printed art of the 1960s and 1970s. He has specialized in such American artists as Carl Andre, Robert Morris, Barry Le Va, Allen Ruppersberg, and Mel Bochner, and in European figures including John M Armleder, Maurizio Nannucci, and Lucy McKenzie. A longstanding interest of Cherix has been artists’ books, and at one point in his career he cofounded a publishing house where this medium was a focal point. As commissioner of the 25th Biennial of Graphic Arts in Slovenia in 2003, he featured artists’ books as well as a range of printed works that expanded traditional definitions of the medium.

“Christophe is an outstanding curator who has demonstrated leadership in organizing exhibitions and working with MoMA’s extensive collection of prints and illustrated books,” said Mr. Lowry. “He brings to this position a critically important breadth of knowledge and passion for modern and contemporary printed art that is matched by his ability to work with colleagues across the institution and beyond.”

At MoMA he most recently co-organized, with MoMA’s Associate Director Kathy Halbreich, the exhibition Contemporary Art from the Collection (through May 9, 2011). He also organized the exhibitions In & Out of Amsterdam: Travels in Conceptual Art, 1960–1976 (2009); Projects 88: Lucy McKenzie (2008); and Book/Shelf (2008), an exploration of how artists have used the book as an object in contemporary art. He is currently organizing a survey of prints, books, and ephemera from the late 1980s to the present, which will open at the Museum in 2012.

Mr. Cherix has played a key role in critical acquisitions for his department and has facilitated numerous cross-departmental acquisitions by artists such as Josef Albers, Huma Bhabha, David Hammons, General Idea, Donald Judd, Lucy McKenzie, Lyubov Popova, Robert Rauschenberg, Josh Smith, Dan Walsh, Charles White, Hannah Wilke, and Zarina. Over the last three years he has brought to the Museum major collections of European and American Conceptual art of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was also instrumental in securing the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection, considered the largest and most important of its kind, which documents the founding and development of the international Fluxus movement. The collection comprises some 10,000 works in a range of mediums, an extensive archive including artists’ correspondence and scrapbooks, and a comprehensive reference library. Fluxus Preview, organized by Mr. Cherix in 2009 with MoMA’s Fluxus Consulting Curator Jon Hendricks, celebrated this important gift with a special installation of posters, newspapers, Fluxus editions, films, and photographs in the Museum’s galleries for painting and sculpture.

Mr. Cherix plays a leadership role in the research-based collaboration C-MAP (Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives), which links MoMA curators with their colleagues around the world, encouraging international dialogue, research, and professional partnerships between institutions. His group focuses specifically on Fluxus in former Central/Eastern Europe and Japan.

Mr. Cherix began his career at the Cabinet des estampes at the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Geneva. He served in various positions, including Assistant Curator (1991–2005), and initiated important donations from artists to the collection, including Mel Bochner and Robert Morris. As Chief Curator from 2005 until 2007, he oversaw the budget, exhibition program, and acquisitions of an institution whose collection comprises over 300,000 prints. While these holdings represent the history of prints from the Renaissance to the present, the Cabinet‘s major area of concentration is modern and contemporary art. Among his recent exhibitions was a study of Henri Matisse’s prints (2006) and a survey of vacuum-formed plastic multiples, organized with New York painter John Tremblay, which featured nearly thirty artists ranging from Claes Oldenburg to Gillian Wearing (2007). During that period, Mr. Cherix actively cultivated a relationship between the Cabinet des estampes and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Geneva (MAMCO), enabling the two institutions to collaborate on joint projects.

His numerous publications include the catalogue accompanying In & Out of Amsterdam: Travels in Conceptual Art, 1960–1976, and the catalogues raisonnés of prints by Henri Michaux (coauthored with Rainer Michael Mason) and Robert Morris. In addition, he has written extensively for many art journals and has participated widely in panels and lecture series at museums and other venues.

Mr. Cherix was born in Switzerland and received a License ès lettres from the University of Geneva. He was a Fellow of the Class of 2010 at the Center for Curatorial Leadership in New York, which included a residency at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He has been active in many organizations and committees that support the arts, both in Europe and the United States.

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