Press Office News

SFMOMA Appoints Eungie Joo as the Museum’s First Curator of Contemporary Art

Released: May 31, 2017 · Download (164 KB PDF)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (May 31, 2017) — The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) today announced the appointment of Eungie Joo as curator of contemporary art, a newly established role that will support SFMOMA’s mission to engage with the art and artists of our time. Most recently the artistic director of the 5th Anyang Public Art Project/APAP 5 in Anyang, Korea, Joo will join SFMOMA in June 2017. This appointment confirms the museum’s commitment to new generations of artists across all media, as well as to exploring contemporary issues through scholarship on a local, national and international level.

“Eungie’s arrival signals a deepening of SFMOMA’s commitment to contemporary art. Her international experience in Asia, the Middle East, South America and beyond positions her to convene important conversations and create innovative projects that will help define the art of our time in the broadest sense,” said Ruth Berson, deputy museum director of curatorial affairs at SFMOMA. “We look forward to seeing how her leadership in the field and the support of our community will help keep SFMOMA at the forefront of this dynamic field.”

Joo brings to SFMOMA an expertise in curating international contemporary visual art, performance and film, as well as leadership in art education and international cultural programming and the creation of innovative initiatives.

In her new role, Joo will collaborate with colleagues throughout SFMOMA’s Departments of Painting and Sculpture, Photography, Architecture and Design, Media Arts and Education and Public Practice to organize and curate contemporary exhibitions, acquire works for the museum’s collection and develop public programs. Joo will additionally oversee the New Work series, a longstanding exhibition program for emerging artists to develop and premiere a new body of work, as well as SFMOMA’s vibrant commissioning program, which brings a dynamic succession of site-specific work to spaces throughout the museum. Acting as a liaison to SFMOMA’s new Contemporaries art experience group and an ambassador to the local, national and international community of artists, collectors and dealers, Joo will strengthen SFMOMA’s ties to the contemporary art world in the Bay Area and beyond.

“I am delighted to join the team at SFMOMA, an outstanding institution with remarkable leadership and vision, as demonstrated by its extraordinary expansion just one year ago. The San Francisco Bay Area possesses a vitality born of its rich history and complex relationship to the development of the United States economically, demographically, agriculturally and technologically. It is an ideal place from which to imagine how U.S. museums might interrogate, present and record contemporary art practices from around the world, while innovating public exchange and discourse. Today and looking forward, SFMOMA is the right institution for such contemplation and action,” said Joo.


Joo was most recently artistic director of the city-sponsored 5th Anyang Public Art Project/APAP 5, for which she commissioned works by 23 local and international artists and groups including Choi Jeong Hwa, House of Natural Fiber, Im Heung-soon, Christina Kim/dosa, Lisa Sigal and Adrián Villar Rojas to question where public art takes place and for whom. Prior to APAP 5, Joo was curator of Sharjah Biennial 12: “The past, the present, the possible,” organized by leading international arts foundation Sharjah Art Foundation in the United Arab Emirates. The exhibition included the work of over 50 artists and cultural practitioners from 25 nations and featured new works, performances and site-specific commissions by 36 of those artists.

Joo was previously Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Programs at the New Museum in New York (2007–12), where she spearheaded the Museum as Hub initiative and curated the 2012 New Museum Generational Triennial, “The Ungovernables.” She was director of art and cultural programs at Instituto Inhotim in Brazil (2012–14); commissioner for the Korean Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009); founding director and curator of the Gallery at REDCAT in Los Angeles (2003–07); and guest curator of “SUPERFLEX/RESUME” as part of the collective’s retrospective at the Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen (2013–14), among a wealth of other exhibitions over the past two decades. In addition to many other distinctions, Joo received the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement in 2006. A frequent contributor to exhibition catalogues and magazines, she is editor of Rethinking Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education (Routledge, 2011) and co-editor of Art Spaces Directory (ArtAsiaPacific and New Museum, 2012). Joo received her doctorate from the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Jill Lynch 415.357.4172 jilynch@sfmoma.org
Clara Hatcher Baruth 415.357.4177 chatcher@sfmoma.org