MoMA Photography Chief Returns to Paris to Direct Museum

Quentin Bajac, the chief curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, will return to his native Paris to become director of the Jeu de Paume, France’s national photography museum.

Mr. Bajac has served as MoMA’s photography chief since January 2013, only the fifth person to hold the post since its creation in 1940. In New York, he organized a large retrospective of the American photographer Stephen Shore, as well as a century-spanning history of studio photography and an edition of MoMA’s “New Photography” series. He also was co-curator of an acclaimed revisionist presentation of MoMA’s permanent collection at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris in 2017.

Before coming to MoMA, Mr. Bajac served as a photography curator at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, then as chief curator of photography at the Centre Georges Pompidou.

The Jeu de Paume, established in 2004 at the Place de la Concorde in the French capital, is a small but influential museum of photography and video art, though it does not have its own collection. Since 2006 it has been led by the Spaniard Marta Gili, who inaugurated the Jeu de Paume as a leading photography institution with a particular focus on women. This year the Jeu de Paume has presented shows by contemporary artists such as Susan Meiselas and Bouchra Khalili, plus historical exhibitions of the Dadaist Raoul Hausmann and the documentary photographer Dorothea Lange. Ms. Gili stepped down earlier this year to return to Spain.

Mr. Bajac is the fourth major curator at MoMA to depart in recent months, even as the museum prepares to move into its expanded building on 53rd Street. This summer, Klaus Biesenbach, the museum’s chief curator at large and director of its sister site MoMA PS1, was named head of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Kathy Halbreich, the museum’s associate director, also recently stepped down to lead the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, while the painting curator Laura Hoptman left in July to lead the Drawing Center.

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