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Release Date: October 19, 2007

National Gallery of Art Names Harry Cooper as Head of Department of Modern Art

Washington, DC—National Gallery of Art director Earl A. Powell III has announced the appointment of Harry Cooper as head of the department of modern and contemporary art. He replaces Jeffrey Weiss, who headed the department from 1999 until this spring when he became director of Dia Art Foundation in New York.

"Harry Cooper is a respected scholar and curator in his field and has organized many thought-provoking and popular exhibitions during his tenure at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard," said Powell. "We look forward to working with him as we continue to expand the Gallery’s collection of modern and contemporary art, and to maintain a robust exhibition schedule." Cooper is slated to begin his new post in February 2008.

Cooper, currently the curator and head of the department of modern art at the Harvard University Art Museums, has held various curatorial and academic positions at Harvard since 1997. He organized more than one dozen traveling and in-house exhibitions as associate curator and later as curator of modern art, including Frank Stella 1958 (2006), Medardo Rosso: Second Impressions (2003), Mondrian: The Transatlantic Paintings (2001), and Ellsworth Kelly: The Early Drawings (1999). Cooper has also lectured and taught in the department of the history of art and architecture on a wide variety of subjects, including abstract expressionism, Paul Cézanne, and Philip Guston.

A native of Bethesda, MD, Cooper began his career as a researcher at the Wilson Quarterly of the Smithsonian Institution and at the National Association of State Boards of Education, Alexandria, VA. From 1985 to 1990 he taught junior high school with a specialization in learning disabilities in the Washington, DC, area. Cooper worked as an exhibition specialist on the Piet Mondrian retrospective that was on view in 1994 at the National Gallery of Art. He was the editor for the Piet Mondrian catalogue raisonné, volume two, and has published many essays and articles, as well as book reviews and art criticism in his field. He has taught at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and Columbia University, New York, and lectured widely.

Cooper received a Ph.D. in 1997 from Harvard University, an M.A. in 1992 from Johns Hopkins University, and an A.B. in American history and literature in 1981 from Harvard University. Cooper also holds a certificate in drawing and painting from the Corcoran Museum School of Art, Washington, DC.

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Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
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phone: (202) 842-6353
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Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]


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