I couldn’t help but be saddened by the snippet of art-world news I read today: long-time MoMA photography curator Peter Galassi announced his retirement. He’s not exactly old–he’s 60–but he’s been at the MoMA for more than three decades and has been an tremendous boon for contemporary photography. One of my favorite shows in recent memory, at any New York City museum, and in any medium, was the Jeff Wall retropsecive in 2007. But it must be noted that, quietly, Galassi has become a major champion of contemporary Israeli photography in particular.
One of the great small gems of a show he curated, also in 2007, was "Barry Frydlender: Place and Time," which showcased the work of that supremely talented Israeli photographer. But Galassi has also been acquiring a treasure chest of contemporary Israeli photography, including works by Elad Lassry and Yaron Leshem. I interviewed Galassi a few years ago, as part of the Frydlender exhibit, and he had great things to say about the rising class of Israeli photographers. So I only hope that whoever fills his shoes will be as committed to seeking out that talent as he was.