Met Curator Ian Alteveer to Lead MFA Boston’s Contemporary Art Department

Ian Alteveer, a Metropolitan Museum of Art curator who has been crucial in expanding the New York institution’s contemporary art offerings, will depart his current post for a new one at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Starting on September 13, Alteveer will become the chair of the MFA’s contemporary art department, bringing to an end a 17-year period at the Met, where Alteveer first began as exhibition assistant on a Jasper Johns show in 2006. He is now a curator of modern and contemporary art there.

Among the shows Alteveer has done for the Met in that time are two currently on view: a Cecily Brown survey and “Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room.”

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A slightly abstracted modernist painting with brushy strokes shows many people lounging in a sylvan area.

Some of Alteveer’s most acclaimed shows took place at a now-defunct annex called the Met Breuer, housed in the former home of the Whitney Museum and the future home of Sotheby’s. Among them was Kerry James Marshall’s celebrated 2016 retrospective and surveys for Marisa Merz and Vija Celmins that took place in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

“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,” Alteveer said in a statement.

Alteveer’s departure comes as the Met plows onward with its long-awaited $500 million wing for modern and contemporary art.

Amid the preparations to get plans for the wing off the ground, there have been changes behind the scenes in the modern and contemporary art department of the Met. In May 2022 alone, Sheena Wagsaff departed as head of the modern and contemporary department, and Randall Griffey, a curator there, left to become head curator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. David Breslin subsequently filled Wagstaff’s post.

Reto Thüring currently holds the chair of contemporary art position at the MFA Boston. An MFA Boston representative said Thüring will leave the museum on June 30.

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