PRINT May 2003

US News

John Elderfield

IN MARCH JOHN ELDERFIELD was appointed chief curator of the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He succeeds Kirk Varnedoe, who left the post (often called the most powerful in the art world) to join the faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, in 2001 [see Artforum, January 2002]. Elderfield has held various curatorial positions at the museum since 1975; his most recent, chief curator at large, will now be occupied by another long-time MoMA curator, Kynaston McShine. Fourth in a line of staunch modernists—Varnedoe’s predecessors were William Rubin and Alfred H. Barr—Elderfield is likely to lead a smooth transition.

Before working with Varnedoe on the multivenue collaboration “Matisse Picasso,” currently on view at MoMA QNS, Elderfield organized major exhibitions including “The Wild Beasts: Fauvism and Its Affinities” (

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