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Stanford Report, April 14, 1999

Kurt Varnedoe, MoMA chief curator, to speak on 'Looking Again at Jackson Pollock'

Kirk Varnedoe, chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, will deliver the seventh annual Christensen Fund Distinguished Lecture in Art History at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 22.

The lecture, titled "Looking Again at Jackson Pollock," will be presented in Annenberg Auditorium in the Cummings Art Building. Sponsored by a grant from the Christensen Fund of Palo Alto, the event is free and open to the public.

Varnedoe, Ph.D. '72, began his tenure as chief curator at MoMA in 1988. He had served as adjunct curator since 1985, and has been affiliated with the museum since 1984, when he collaborated with William Rubin, then director of the department of painting and sculpture, in organizing "Primitivism in 20th-Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern."

In 1993, Varnedoe oversaw the expansion and renovation of the museum's galleries for contemporary art, which now comprise nearly 11,000 square feet. In recent years, he also has renovated and reinstalled the painting and sculpture galleries.

Varnedoe presented an exhibition on Jackson Pollock at MoMA that ran from October 1998 until February. His lecture will focus on recontextualizing the work of this important 20th-century American painter.

Varnedoe also mounted major exhibitions of the work of Jasper Johns (1996-97) and Cy Twombly (1994-95), and in 1990 he co-directed, with Adam Gopnik, the controversial exhibition "High and Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture."

Born in Savannah, Georgia, Varnedoe graduated from Williams College and completed his graduate work at Stanford University. He has received honorary doctor of fine arts degrees from Williams College and from the Pratt Institute.

In addition to his work as museum director and curator, Varnedoe continues to teach at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where he was professor of fine arts from 1984 to 1988. He also has taught at Columbia University, Stanford University and Williams College.

For more information, call the department of art and art history at (650) 723-3788. SR