The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has appointed French curator Clément Chéroux as senior curator of photography. The position oversees the Department of Photography and its collection of more than 17,000 photographs, which represents half the works of art in the entire museum collection.
Chéroux takes over in January from the retiring Sandra Phillips. During the 29 years as head of the department, Phillips built the collection to its position of prominence and set the stage for the establishment of the Pritzker Center for Photography, the largest such facility in any American museum. Phillips has become emeritus curator effective early last month.
The museum also announced a significant gift: 78 photographs by 25 top artists, including 14 works by André Kertész, as well as pictures by Vito Acconci, Lee Friedlander, William Wegman, Garry Winogrand and others. The donation comes from Lisa and John Pritzker, whose earlier cash contribution led to creation of the Pritzker Center as part of SFMOMA’s recent expansion.
Chéroux, 46, comes to the museum from the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, where he is chief curator of the department of photography. He joined the Pompidou in 2007, having lectured on the history of photography at the University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne, the University of Paris III and the University of Lausanne. He has published some 40 books and catalogs on photography and served as executive editor of the magazine Études Photographiques, published by the Société Française de Photographie.
He has organized or co-organized more than 20 exhibitions on modern and contemporary photography, including shows on artists known primarily as photographers, such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, and artists who worked in other media (Edvard Munch, Constantin Brâncusi).
Chéroux earned his doctorate in art history from the University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne, a master’s degree in Aesthetics, Technology and Artistic Creation from the University of Paris VIII and a degree from the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie, Arles.