Esther Adler

The Museum of Modern Art announces the promotion of Esther Adler to Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints. Her responsibilities will include developing special exhibitions and publications, helping to shape the Museum’s acquisitions program, and collaborating with colleagues to realize new rotations across the collection galleries. Adler joined MoMA in 2005, and has worked as a Research Assistant, Curatorial Assistant, Assistant Curator, and Associate Curator.

“In the last fifteen years, Esther has developed truly groundbreaking projects at MoMA, ranging from critically-acclaimed exhibitions dedicated to pivotal figures such as Dorothea Rockburne and Charles White, to key acquisitions of works on paper from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries,” said Christophe Cherix, The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings and Prints. “I am thrilled to see her step into this leadership role and look forward to her continuing to forge new paths in the scholarship of American art and beyond.”

“I have been incredibly fortunate to collaborate with and learn from colleagues across The Museum of Modern Art for most of my career – this is where I learned what kind of curator I want to be,” said Adler. “I’m excited to continue to be a part of our institution, and to help shape how we reflect on art of the past and present during this critical time in the world.”

Adler’s exhibition, Joseph E. Yoakum: What I Saw, is on view at MoMA through March 19, 2022, and will travel to The Menil Collection in April 2022; it opened at its first venue at the Art Institute of Chicago on June 12, 2021. She is also co-editor of the exhibition catalogue, with Mark Pascale and Édouard Kopp.

Other recent exhibitions that Adler organized include Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl’s Window (with Christophe Cherix, 2019), Charles White: A Retrospective (with Sarah Kelly Oehler, 2018) and Charles White—Leonardo da Vinci. Curated by David Hammons (2017). Past projects include Dorothea Rockburne: Drawing Which Makes Itself (2013), American Modern: Hopper to O’Keeffe (2013), and Gifted: Collectors and Drawings at MoMA, 1929–1983 (2011). Her recent publications include Betye Saar: Black Girl’s Window (with Christophe Cherix; New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019); Charles White: A Retrospective (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 2018); Charles White: Black Pope (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2017); and American Modern: Hopper to O’Keeffe (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2013). Adler has contributed texts to numerous MoMA publications, including Modern Women: Women Artists at the Museum of Modern Art (2010) and Dada in the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art (2008), and the exhibition catalogue WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (2007).

Prior to joining The Museum of Modern Art in 2005, Adler worked at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden as a graduate fellow, and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Adler holds a BA from Brandeis University, and an MA from the University of Maryland.

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