Thomas P. Campbell, Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, announced today the appointment of Stephanie D'Alessandro as Leonard A. Lauder Curator of Modern Art and Curator in Charge of the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. Ms. D'Alessandro comes to The Met from the Art Institute of Chicago. She will join the Museum in May 2017.
In making the announcement, Mr. Campbell said: "We are thrilled to welcome Stephanie D'Alessandro to The Met. Ms. D'Alessandro is a curator who is nationally and internationally recognized for her exhibitions and publications on Matisse, Picasso, and other 20th century artists and for her innovative installations at the Art Institute of Chicago. She has also pioneered new ways of audience engagement with modern art, which is a cornerstone of The Met's mission. We eagerly anticipate the energy, scholarship, and collegiality that Stephanie will bring to her new role in New York in shaping the museum's collections and programming."
Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art, added: "As a distinguished scholar of modern art, with an impressive record of groundbreaking publications and exhibitions, Stephanie brings to The Met's Department of Modern and Contemporary Art new leadership in our continuing commitment to foster research in the field of international modern studies. Her remarkable expertise, curatorial rigor, and zeal for what we're aiming to achieve will help shape future exhibitions and build the Museum's collection."
"I am honored and delighted to be appointed the Leonard A. Lauder Curator of Modern Art and feel fortunate to be doing so at this particular time," said Ms. D'Alessandro. "Both the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art have made serious contributions to the shape of our understanding and scholarship of modern art in the past number of years and I look forward to working with colleagues to begin a new chapter of groundbreaking research, exhibitions, and publications."
Ms. D'Alessandro replaces Rebecca Rabinow, who became the Director of the Menil Collection in July 2017. The preexisting position of Curator of Modern Art was renamed the Leonard A. Lauder Curator of Modern Art in 2013 in recognition of Leonard A. Lauder's promised gift to The Met of 78 Cubist masterpieces. In coordination with the gift, the Museum established the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art, which serves as a center for scholarship on Cubism and early modern art and which was co funded by the Trustees and Mr. Lauder. (Read the 2013 press release here.)
Ms. D'Alessandro began her career at the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, where she contributed to several projects on German modern art. She joined the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1998, first as a Mellon Fellow (1998–2001), then as Assistant Curator (2001–2004), Associate Curator (2004–2007), and, in 2007, the Gary C. and Frances Comer Curator of International Modern Art. Her exhibitions and catalogues at the museum include Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913–1917 (2010), Picasso and Chicago (2013), Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938 (2014), and the forthcoming Tarsila do Amaral: Inventing Modern Art in Brazil (2017). She has expanded the Art Institute's collection, making key acquisitions, including Kazimir Malevich's Suprematist masterpiece, Painterly Realism of a Football Player—Color Masses in the 4th Dimension (1915); Georg Scholz's New Objectivity canvas, Small Town by Day (1922–23); and the only extant object by Surrealist Claude Cahun, Object (1936).
Ms. D'Alessandro also initiated "The Modern Series," a permanent collection-based initiative to rethink ways of presenting modern art at the museum. She was co-curator of the new galleries of modern art in the Modern Wing, as well as four previous reinstallations, and author of the book The Age of Picasso and Matisse: Modern Art at the Art Institute of Chicago and a forthcoming scholarly publication on the museum's collection of works by Henri Matisse. She has been instrumental in the introduction of many cross-departmental research projects and programs, and was a co-founder of the Art Institute's Curatorial Forum.
Ms. D'Alessandro has contributed to numerous books and catalogues on a broad range of topics for institutions, including the Arts Club of Chicago, The Centre Pompidou, the Kimbell Art Museum, the Museu Lasar Segall, The Museum of Modern Art, and The Met. In addition, she has participated widely in panels and lectured at museums and other venues in the United States and abroad. Ms. D'Alessandro was born in Albany, New York; she received her B.A. from Dickinson College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.