Press Release

Harvard University Art Museums Announce Appointment of New Curator of Contemporary Art

Fri, 10/27/2006 - 18:16 -- wds
Cambridge, MA
October 27, 2006

The Harvard University Art Museums announced today the appointment of Helen Molesworth as its new curator of contemporary art, effective February 5, 2007. Molesworth becomes the first full curator of contemporary art since the Art Museums established the department of modern and contemporary art in 1997. A distinguished scholar, writer, and curator, Molesworth comes to the Art Museums from the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio where she has been serving as chief curator of exhibitions since 2003, with oversight of the Center’s exhibitions, programs, and publications.

We are delighted to have Helen join our curatorial staff,” said Thomas W. Lentz, Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard University Art Museums. “She is well respected in the field of contemporary art, and her knowledge and depth of experience will be vital in our efforts to build our collections and increase our ability to exhibit and interpret contemporary art.” In February, the Harvard University Art Museums announced a comprehensive master plan to transform its facilities for teaching, research, and presentation of its renowned collections. Part of the multi-faceted plan includes an enhanced commitment to contemporary art including the development of a new art center in Allston which will house public galleries primarily for the exhibition of the Art Museums’ growing collection of modern and contemporary works, as well as other museum operations. More information on the Art Museums’ facilities planning can be obtained from the contacts below.

In her new position at the Art Museums, Molesworth joins the current curator of modern art, Harry Cooper, in the department of modern and contemporary art. “I am very excited to join the staff of the Harvard University Art Museums at a moment when the institution is thinking so expansively about the role of modern and contemporary art,” said Molesworth.

While at the Wexner, Molesworth organized the recent exhibitions Twice Untitled and Other Pictures (looking back), an exhibition of new and old works by Louise Lawler, and Part Object Part Sculpture, which charted a genealogy of transatlantic sculpture produced in the wake of Marcel Duchamp’s erotic objects and his hand made readymades of the 1960s. Prior to her position at the Wexner, Molesworth served as curator of contemporary art at the Baltimore Museum of Art from 2000–2003, where she organized Work Ethic, which traced the problem of artistic labor in post-1960s art, and BodySpace, which explored the legacy of minimalism for contemporary artists. From 1997–1999, she was director and curator of the Amelie A. Wallace Gallery at SUNY Old Westbury.

Molesworth recently served as senior critic at the Yale School of Art and has held teaching positions at the Bard Center for Curatorial Studies, SUNY Old Westbury, and the Cooper Union School of Art. She was a co-founding editor of Documents, a magazine of contemporary visual culture, and is the author of numerous articles appearing in publications such as Art Journal, Artforum, Documents, Frieze, and October. She received a Ph.D. in History of Art from Cornell University in 1997.