MIA Appoints Curator of Photographs

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Minneapolis Institute of Art Appoints Curator of Photographs

Minneapolis, MN, September 10, 2008 – The Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) is pleased to announce the appointment of David E. Little as Curator of Photographs and Head of the Department of Photographs. Little comes to Minneapolis from New York where he has served as Associate Director, Helena Rubinstein Chair of Education, at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Prior to the Whitney, Little was Director of Adult and Academic Programs at The Museum of Modern Art, and a former Visiting Scholar at the Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University.

Little brings a blend of programmatic innovation, original scholarship in post-1945 art, and experience working with some of the leading artists and photographers today, including Mark Bradford, Carrie Mae Weems, and Martha Rosler, among others. At MoMA, his symposia and programs investigated topics ranging from fashion, photography and feminism, and in 2005 he commissioned the avant-garde troupe, The Wooster Group, to develop a multimedia performance based on the legacy of Dada with set design by artist/architects Diller and Scofidio. Thinking beyond the frame of the gallery, he continued to develop new initiatives for artistic expression while at the Whitney, where he invited artists to transform traditional formats such as seasonal brochures into experimental design outlets for limited edition prints. He also worked closely with curators to develop insightful programs that would expound upon and deepen the content of permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, including the 2008 “Whitney Biennial” and “Lawrence Wiener.” In addition to his work at two leading New York museums, Little has mounted several exhibitions as an independent curator, including “Matters of a Fine Wall” at the Massachusetts College of Art, focusing on the work of five contemporary women photographers, and “Welcome to Empire: Videos from a New World Order” at the Maryland Institute College of Art, featuring work by Harun Farocki and Emily Jacir.

Little, who received his M.A. from Williams College (1992) and Ph.D. from Duke University (2001), will bring a wide range of scholarly and administrative experience to the position. His dissertation focused on Collaborative Projects, Inc. (Colab), an American artists’ collective whose members, including Kiki Smith and Jenny Holzer, were at the vanguard of new media, film and video. With his solid foundation in art history and cultural theory, he is an experienced lecturer who has taught courses on modern and contemporary art at the Maryland Institute College of Art, MoMA, and Duke University. His dissertation research brought him to New York in 1995, where he took a night job in the expansive photography archive (known as “the morgue”) at the New York Times, an experience that exposed him to the powerful role of photojournalism at one of the nation’s leading newspapers.

While Little’s career path led him into museum management he is looking forward to devoting himself more fully to his original interest in scholarship, writing, and curatorial work. “I feel as if I am returning to my roots as an art historian and curator of the art of today, and I welcome the opportunity to work with the full breadth of the MIA’s wonderful photography collection. I look forward to building relationships with the artists who are transforming our understanding of the medium,” he stated after accepting Kaywin Feldman’s offer to join the staff at the MIA.

Little will assume his full responsibilities in January 2009, but in the interim he will work closely with the staff at the MIA in shaping a strategic plan for developing the photography collections, exhibitions, and programs at the museum. He will relocate to Minneapolis with his wife, Darsie Alexander, who has recently accepted the position of Chief Curator at the Walker Art Center. Kaywin Feldman, Director and President of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, said “David Little’s interest in photography and new media perfectly complements Associate Curator Christian Peterson’s expertise in early photography and pictorialism, thereby rounding out the museum’s excellent photography department.”

Notes to Editor:
The Department of Photographs at the MIA was founded in 1972. The collection comprises more than 11, 000 photographs from turn-of-the-century pictorial photography, to mid-century masterworks, representing the work of some 1,000 photographers.

About the Minneapolis Institute of Art
The Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA), home to one of the finest encyclopedic art collections in the country, houses more than 80,000 works of art representing 5,000 years of world history. General admission is always free. Some special exhibitions have a nominal admission fee. Museum hours: Sunday, 11 A.M.-5 P.M.; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 10 A.M.-5 P.M.; Thursday, 10 A.M.-9 P.M.; Monday closed. For more information, call (612) 870-3131 or visit www.artsmia.org.

Media Contact
Anne-Marie Wagener, Director of Public Relations (612) 870-3280; awagener@artsmia.org