MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens.
Photo: Pablo Enriquez

MoMA PS1 Appoints Kate Fowle Its New Director

With an impressive track record of helming major contemporary arts organizations, Fowle will lead MoMA’s Queens satellite into a new chapter

Kate Fowle. Photo: James Hill

Internationally recognized curator Kate Fowle has been appointed director of MoMA PS1. Agnes Gund, chairman of the board of the organization, and Glenn D. Lowry, the David Rockefeller director of the Museum of Modern Art, announced the news on June 26. The museum had been looking to fill the position since its longtime director, Klaus Biesenbach, announced last summer that he was leaving to head up the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

As the former chief curator at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, Fowle worked to develop the institution’s innovative exhibition program. During her time there, she organized shows such as “Urs Fischer: Small Axe” in 2016 and “David Adjaye: Form, Heft, Material” in 2017. She comes to MoMA PS1 from Independent Curators International (ICI) in New York, where she is director-at-large.

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“Kate is a highly respected curator with a global vision and an impressive track record of success in leading major international contemporary arts organizations,” said Lowry in a statement. “Her extraordinary relationships with artists, commitment to scholarship and public programs, and deep connections to New York will be important to helping MoMA PS1 continue to realize its ambitious program.”

Opened in Long Island City in 1976, the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (as it was initially called) proved to be the first nonprofit arts center in the United States geared toward supporting contemporary art. In 2000, the institution merged with MoMA but has retained its spirit as the site of more experimental exhibitions and shows of both established and emerging contemporary talent.

Kate is the perfect person to direct this vibrant institution and continue MoMA PS1’s role as one of the world’s leading contemporary art museums,” said Gund in a statement on Tuesday.

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Born in the U.K. and originally trained as an artist, Fowle became the codirector of Smith + Fowle in London. In 2002, she cofounded  the master’s program in curatorial practice at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, becoming its chair in 2007. She simultaneously worked as the inaugural international curator at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing from 2007 to 2008. The following year, she became the executive director of ICI, where she founded its signature program, the Curatorial Intensive.

During her tenure at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Fowle aided the implementation of several departments, including exhibitions, archives, education, public programs, performance, publishing, research, and development. She proved instrumental in shifting the institution from a small arts center to an international beacon of modern and contemporary art. In 2014, Fowle instituted Field Research, the first research-based program in Russia for artists, and in 2017, she launched the Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art.

“It’s an honor to take the helm of MoMA PS1 at this juncture in its rich history,” said Fowle in a statement. “I look forward to working with the team and board to create a generative environment where our outlook is transformed through artists and their perspectives on the world.” 

Fowle begins her new position on September 3.



Cover: MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens.
Photo: Pablo Enriquez


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