The Metropolitan Museum of Art has recently enlisted a well-known London curator to oversee a new department that will be devoted to art of the 20th & 21st centuries. Her name is Sheena Wagstaff and has been the head curator of Tate Modern, a UK museum that collects international modern & contemporary art.
Wagstaff’s new position comes forth as the Met prepares to take over the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Marcel Breuer building located at Madison Ave & 75th Street in three years when the Whitney moves to its new location in the meatpacking district. Plans are to use the Breuer location as a home for Modern and contemporary art while the Met’s current galleries are being renovated.
The decision to dedicate a department solely to Modern & contemporary art is seen as a step forward for the museum because they haven’t been able to compete with museums like the MoMa, which specializes in contemporary art. While some feel that this isn’t a smart move on behalf of the Met, Thomas P. Campbell, the Met’s director, and Wagstaff both disagree and vow to incorporate contemporary art more prominently that it has been displayed in the past since it is an important aspect in today’s world of art.