Curator James Meyer Returns to the National Gallery After Stint at the Dia Art Foundation

Meyer previously served as associate curator at the DC museum.

James Meyer. Photo Mary Noble Ours, courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
James Meyer. Photo Mary Noble Ours, courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

The Modern and contemporary art curator James Meyer is moving back to Washington, DC, after less than two years with New York’s Dia Art Foundation. Meyer, who served as deputy director and chief curator at Dia, will join the National Gallery of Art in Washington as the museum’s curator of art, 1945–1974.

The appointment marks a return (and a promotion) for Meyer, who served as associate curator of the National Gallery from 2010 to 2015. Meyer’s new role was announced alongside no fewer than seven other promotions and appointments at the museum.

Meyer transitioned in February from a full-time staff role at Dia to a curatorial and academic advisor, and will remain working with the institution in that capacity.

In his relatively brief 20-month stint in New York, Meyer facilitated the acquisition of work by Anne Truitt and organized forthcoming shows by Mel Bochner and Barry Le Va. During his previous five years at the National Gallery, he played a key role in the museum’s acquisition of the influential Dwan Gallery’s collection and archives.

Returning to the museum—which last year re-opened its East Building, dedicated to modern and contemporary art—Meyer will take on a greater role in long-term planning and acquisitions, and will work more closely with the institution’s conservation labs and publications.

“The National Gallery has allowed me to fulfill the kinds of scholarly projects I’ve been involved with throughout my career, including ones I was involved with before I left and that I decided were important for me to see through,” Meyer told artnet News.

Meyer is also adjunct professor of art history at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and pointed out that the two roles complement each other well. “The gallery allows me the mandate to engage in scholarship, and I come from an academic background, so this felt like home to me.”

Also joining the National Gallery’s staff are Kathleen Williams as chief archivist and Emiko Usui as editor-in-chief. New promotions include Roger Lawson as executive librarian; Harry Cooper as senior curator of modern art; Molly Donovan as curator of art, 1975 to the present; Kimberly Jones as curator of 19th-century French paintings; and Diane Waggoner as curator of 19th-century photographs.


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