Ian Alteveer Leaves Met to Helm MFA Boston’s Contemporary Art Department

Ian Alteveer, a longtime curator of contemporary art at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, is stepping down from his role there to chair the contemporary art department at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

“I am delighted to join the MFA at a pivotal moment in its history when the institution is poised to redouble its commitment to contemporary art,” said Alteveer, who will take the reins from Reto Thüring on September 13.

The Met, of course, is also at a pivotal moment as it prepares for the highly anticipated $500 million renovation of its modern and contemporary wing. Alteveer’s departure follows that of department chair Sheena Wagstaff, who exited last May, as well as that of curator Randall Griffey, who that same month was hired as the head curator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. The Met’s modern and contemporary department is now led by former Whitney curator David Breslin.

In the years since he joined the Met in 2006, Alteveer went on to play a key role in shaping the museum’s contemporary art programming. Among the exhibitions he brought to the museum were an acclaimed Kerry James Marshall retrospective in 2016 and a survey of Vija Celmins’s art the following year, both held at the museum’s erstwhile Met Breuer location on Madison Avenue (the building was recently sold to Sotheby’s for around $100 million). Other shows include the Afrofuturist period room “Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room” (2020) and “Death and the Maid,” an ongoing survey devoted to Cecily Brown.


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