Sarah Meister, MoMA Photography Curator, Departs to Lead Aperture Foundation

Sarah Meister, a longtime photography curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, has been tapped to lead the Aperture Foundation, the storied photography nonprofit. The appointment comes after a year-long search to replace executive director Chris Boot, who after ten years at the helm is relocating to his native England.

Since its 1952 founding in San Francisco by eminent photographers including Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and Minor White, Aperture has been a major force in shaping discourse in the field, currently publishing monographs and a quarterly magazine and programming events and exhibitions devoted to the medium. In addition to overseeing these, Meister will help find a new physical headquarters for the company, which prior to the pandemic maintained an exhibition space in Chelsea.

“Aperture’s publishing program, meaning their books and magazine, are central to anyone thinking about photography today,” Meister told the New York Times. “My whole career, I’ve been interested in the edges of photography. Aperture has demonstrated a deep commitment to this plurality from the start—who has been excluded, and who is saying who is in and who is out. I don’t believe photography exists in isolation, from life or from art.”

Meister joined MoMA in 1997 as a curatorial assistant, a capacity in which she was among the last to work with legendary photography curator John Szarkowski. She became curator in 2009, going on to organize numerous photography shows at the museum, most recently the acclaimed “Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures;” “Gordon Parks and ‘The Atmosphere of Crime;’” and the upcoming exhibition “Fotoclubismo: Brazilian Modernist Photography, 1946–1964,” which opens this May, when she is to begin her new position.

“Photography is inarguably central to our contemporary experience,” Meister said in a statement. “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.”


Angelia S. Rico

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