Morgan Library Creates Photo Position, Names Curator


The Morgan Library and Museum, traditionally a bastion of drawings and manuscripts, has named Joel Smith as the first photography curator. Smith joins the Morgan from the Princeton University Art Museum where he has worked as curator of photography since 2005.

“In 2006, we named our first curator of modern and contemporary drawings. Joel’s appointment is a further example of our efforts to build a collection that reflects the whole history of works on paper,” said William M. Griswold, director of the Morgan, in a press statement.

The Morgan owns several thousand photographs, including works by unknown names as well as recognized artists. Holdings range from 342 lantern slides by Edward S. Curtis to 67 Irving Penn portraits of artists and writers, as well as 14 images by Diane Arbus, including portraits of Marcel Duchamp, Frank Stella and Agnes Martin.

Smith has curated more than a dozen exhibitions at Princeton, including “Saul Steinberg: Illuminations,” (2006) “Pictures of Pictures” (2010), “More Than One: Photographs in Sequence” (2008) and “Beloved Daughters: Photographs by Fazal Sheikh” (2007).  He is also the author of Edward Steichen: The Early Years, Steinberg at the New Yorker, and The Life and Death of Buildings: On Photography and Time. Smith joins the Morgan September.

Photo courtesy the Morgan Library.