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About J. Kirk Varnedoe

Institute for Advanced Study
School for Historical Studies
Speaker for December 4, 2002 Stated Meeting in New York

Matisse, Picasso, and the Idea of Influence

J. Kirk Varnedoe is one of the most distinguished art curators in the United States. Prior to his appointment in January 2002 to the Institute for Advanced Study, he served for fourteen years as Chief Curator of the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). He organized more than a dozen major exhibitions, both for MoMA and for other institutions, including “Van Gogh’s Postman: The Portraits of Joseph Roulin” (2001), “Open Ends; Eleven Exhibitions of Contemporary Art from 1960 to Now” (2001, with Paola Antonelli and Joshua Siegel), major retrospectives of Jasper Johns (1997), Jackson Pollack (1999 with Pepe Karmel), Cy Twombly (1995), and large thematic exhibitions such as “High and Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture” (1990, with Adam Gopnick), and “Vienna 1900: Art, Architecture and Design” (1986). He is a co-curator of the forthcoming exhibition Matisse Picasso opening on February 13, 2003 at MoMA in Queens, New York.

Prior to joining MoMA in 1985, Varnedoe was a professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. He is currently also Institute Lecturer in the History of Art and Archeology at NYU. Varnedoe has previously served as the Slade Professor of Art History at Oxford University (1992) and as Christensen Visiting Lecturer at Stanford University (1999). In spring 2003 he will be the Andrew W. Mellon Lecturer in the Fine Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

The author of 18 books, Varnedoe was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1984, a knighthood of the Royal Order of Donnebroge (Denmark) in 1983, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 1977, among other honors. In addition to being a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is also an Officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, a Member of the American Philosophical Society, a trustee of the National Humanities Center, and a member of the Steering Committee of The New York Public Library’s Center for Scholars and Writers.

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