Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, has appointed Stephen C. Pinson as curator in the Museum’s Department of Photographs. Pinson has worked at The New York Public Library since 2005, serving as the Robert B. Menschel Curator of Photography and as the Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Assistant Director for Art, Prints and Photographs. He will join the Metropolitan Museum on November 2.
Jeff Rosenheim, Curator in Charge of the Department of Photographs, noted: “As the department focuses its activities on building the collection further and organizing dynamic exhibitions drawn from our own and the world’s holdings, Stephen joins us at a time in which his past success in acquisitions and exhibitions will be of great benefit to the Museum. We are excited to welcome to our curatorial team someone who is not only an expert in the field of 19th-century photography, but who also demonstrates a strong interest in the entire history of the medium.”
Stephen Pinson joined The New York Public Library (NYPL) in 2005 to oversee the special collections of the Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, managing all aspects of its 500,000 photographs, including acquisitions and exhibitions. Prior to joining NYPL, Pinson held fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts; Columbia University, where he taught courses in art history; and at the Met in the Department of Photographs, where he assisted with the exhibition "The Dawn of Photography: French Daguerreotypes, 1839-1855".
At NYPL, Pinson organized many exhibitions, among them "Eminent Domain: Contemporary Photography and the City" (2008), winner of an Association of International Art Critics award, and "Public Eye: 175 Years of Sharing Photography" (on view through January 3, 2016). Almost 6,000 photographs were acquired by NYPL under his guidance, including important collections by Diane Arbus, Roy Colmer, Zoe Leonard and Laurie Simmons.
He received an M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. in Art History from Harvard University. He has written widely on both printmaking and photography, with a particular emphasis on early photography and Louis Daguerre. His most recent publication is "Speculating Daguerre: Art and Enterprise in the Work of L.J.M. Daguerre" (2012). In 2013, he served as part of a five-member international team invited to St. Petersburg, Russia, by the Mellon Foundation, the State Hermitage Museum, and the American Institute for Conservation to view, discuss, and document the daguerreotype triptych that Daguerre presented in 1839 to Nicholas I.
In his new role at the Met, Pinson will work directly with Jeff Rosenheim and the department’s curators in developing the museum’s collection and curating exhibitions focusing primarily on the 19th century. He will assist in programming at both the Met’s Fifth Avenue location and The Met Breuer, which will open in March 2016. He will also be responsible for building the department’s renowned Joyce F. Menschel Photography Library.