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July 05, 2022

Harry Cooper, Senior Curator and Head of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington

Harry Cooper, senior curator and head of modern art, National Gallery of Art

Harry Cooper, senior curator and head of modern art, National Gallery of Art

Harry Cooper is senior curator and head of modern art at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Since joining the Gallery in February 2008, he has organized exhibitions including The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection: Selected Works (2009–2010), Stuart Davis: In Full Swing (2016–2017), and Oliver Lee Jackson: Recent Paintings (2019). Cooper also initiated the In the Tower series of focus exhibitions on such artists as Philip Guston, Mark Rothko, and Nam June Paik, and led the reinstallation of the East Building galleries for their reopening in September of 2016.

Before joining the Gallery in February 2008, Cooper served for ten years as the curator of modern art at the Harvard University Art Museums. There he organized a dozen exhibitions, including Frank Stella 1958 (2006), Medardo Rosso: Second Impressions (2003), and Mondrian: The Transatlantic Paintings (2001). Cooper lectured in Harvard's art history department on a wide variety of topics, from Paul Cézanne to abstract expressionism. He has also taught at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and Columbia University, New York,

A native of Bethesda, Maryland, Cooper began his career as a researcher at the Wilson Quarterly of the Smithsonian Institution. From 1985 to 1990 he taught adolescents with learning disabilities in the Washington, DC, region. From 1993 to 1995 Cooper worked as an exhibition specialist on the Piet Mondrian retrospective at the National Gallery of Art. He has published numerous articles as well as book reviews and criticism.

Cooper received a PhD in 1997 from Harvard University, an MA in 1992 from Johns Hopkins University, and an AB 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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